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Now that spring is here, our chickens are laying eggs like crazy again. We get about 6 dozen a week right now, and that’s more than we will eat before they go bad. So what do we do with all those “extra” eggs? Well, in the past, we’ve sold some, to help offset the cost of raising chickens. But this year, I’ve decided to start preserving them. Today, for the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I decided to waterglass eggs!
This egg preservation method was easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was finding the lime!
I originally wanted to buy a big bag of hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide), as I thought it would be cheapest that way. But I couldn’t find any in my little town. I settled on a 1-lb bag of pickling lime. Which, in the long run, was better for me, since I’m not sure where I would have stored a big bag of lime!
Please note that it HAS to be pickling lime, or hydrated lime. Hydrated lime is also known as masonry lime, builder’s lime, slaked lime, or cal.
Lime is derived from limestone, where it is burned. To make slaked lime, the lime is mixed with water and then dehydrated until it is a powder again. Hydrated lime is caustic, and is NOT the same as barn lime, which is typically used in horse stables.
Why would you want to waterglass eggs?
When you waterglass eggs, the eggs will be preserved in a perfect raw state for up to about 12 months. So when you preserve them this way, you will be guaranteed to have eggs even when your chickens may slow or stop laying eggs in the winter.
There are other methods of egg preservation, but most ways produce a less-than-desirable result.
Dehydrated eggs often don’t reconstitute very well, the texture is changed, and you wouldn’t be able to fry them as over-easy eggs. They do work good for baking, though.
Frozen eggs also experience a change in texture, and also can’t be used as over-easy because it’s best to scramble them before freezing.
You can also freeze dry eggs, which usually don’t get that texture change, but freeze dryers are very expensive.
By waterglassing eggs, you keep the texture the same, and the whole egg is intact. So you can have that lovely over-easy egg, even in the dead of winter, without having to buy eggs!
How long do waterglassed eggs last?
Typically, waterglassed eggs last for 8 months to 1 year. That means that when you waterglass eggs in the spring and summer, when your girls are laying the most eggs, you will have plenty of eggs stored up to last you all winter.
To make sure that the eggs will be good for a full year, you should store them in a somewhat temperature-controlled area. Your container also needs to have a lid so that the lime water doesn’t evaporate. The eggs have to be fully submerged constantly in the lime water for them to stay good without rotting.
How do you waterglass eggs?
Waterglassing eggs is super easy! And, as a big plus, you only need 2 ingredients. One, everyone should have access to – tap water. And the other one is easily found at the grocery store – pickling lime. If you want to preserve a huge amount of eggs, it will be cheaper if you buy hydrated lime from the home improvement store.
It should be noted that the eggs you use need to be clean but unwashed. Don’t use store-bought eggs, as they are not fresh and are always washed.
Here’s the step-by-step:
- First, start with a large, clean container. You can use a gallon glass jar or a food grade plastic 5-gallon bucket with lid. The lid is important to prevent the lime water from evaporating.
- Second, measure out 1 ounce of hydrated lime for each quart of water. I used my kitchen scale to weigh the lime, and a quart mason jar to measure the water.
- Third, whisk together the water and lime, and pour into your large container. It will look like low fat milk. The lime will settle at the bottom, but don’t worry, that’s totally normal!
- Fourth, gently place your clean, unwashed, fresh (not store-bought!) eggs into the lime water, pointy side down. You may want to wear gloves for this, as the lime will really dry out your hands. Put as many eggs as you want to preserve, but make sure they are all fully submerged. Add more lime water if needed.
- Put the lid on your container, and store in a temperature-controlled space. And that’s it!
Here’s my YouTube video of my very first time waterglassing eggs:
Do waterglassed eggs really last a full year?
Well, I can’t say for certain, as this is my first time doing this! But I’ve heard lots of people have done this and have successfully had fresh eggs after even 12 months of being in the lime water. I’ll update this post when mine have been sitting for a year, to let you know how this experiment turned out for me.
Are you going to try it?
So, are you going to try to waterglass eggs? Please let me know your experiences with it. And if you’ve done it before, did they last a full year? I’m excited to know!