With molting season soon upon us, winter approaching, and declining hours of sunlight every day, your hens will start laying fewer eggs. To keep enjoying the nutritious eggs from your own chickens far into the winter months, you need to preserve the bounty you’re getting now.
There are many safe and effective ways to keep eggs fresh for many months or longer. The key is to do it right. Here are three easy and popular methods of preserving those extra eggs.
In addition to using excess eggs in your baked goods like quiche and then freezing them for later meals, you can actually bake the individual eggs in order to save them.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Crack one egg into each cup of a lightly greased muffin pan.
- Season with salt and pepper or other spices as desired.
- Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Let cool.
- Once cooled, remove each baked egg and place in a freezer bag or container.
- It may help to place a small square of waxed paper between each egg before freezing.
These egg “muffins” are perfect to pull out of the freezer, thaw, and then pair with English muffins or small bagels for a quick and nutritious breakfast sandwich.
Pickled eggs are not just something you find in a glass keg next to the beer tap. This particular method of preserving fresh chicken (and other poultry) eggs is one that has been around for centuries. The eggs should retain their freshness and taste for up to three months in the refrigerator.
Start with a dozen small-medium eggs that are from 4-12 days old as they’ll peel better than fresher ones. (If you decide to use quail eggs, you can do close to three dozen for this recipe.) While there are many recipes available for pickled eggs, this simple one using red beets to make the beautiful color is easy and popular.
- Hard-boil and peel the eggs.
- Place the cooked eggs into a pre-sterilized quart canning jar. Set aside.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes:
- 1 cup red beet juice (from the can)
- 1 ½ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- some sliced or tiny beets (from the can)
- Pour mixture over eggs in the canning jar. Be sure there is plenty of pickling solution to completely cover the eggs, removing excess eggs if necessary. Place canning lid and ring on jar and immediately refrigerate.
These eggs make nutritious snacks, full of protein and great taste. And yes, they do go well with beer.
Water glass is another name for sodium silicate. Sodium silicate can be found at your local drug store or purchased online. It is a chemical that when mixed with water creates an airtight seal on the shell of fresh chicken eggs. There are two trains of thought on how to best use water glass – one as a medium for storing the eggs and the other as a dip or painted-on sealant. Storing them in the solution is the more popular and possibly reliable, choice.
Collect eggs that are less than three or four days old, gently clean any debris from them. Make sure there are no cracks or holes in any of the shells. Follow the sodium silicate package directions, using cool water for mixing. Partially fill a clean crock or jar of glass, crockery, wood, or enamel with the mixture.
Place the clean eggs in one at a time, ensuring that there is always at least two inches of solution over the top layer of eggs. Keep the jar covered in a cool, dark place. Eggs should maintain freshness for at least six months. Many report the eggs are still perfect after a year in the solution.
So have you used any of these egg preservation methods or others? How do you choose to keep your eggs fresh?