Thursday, March 6, 2014

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Preserve Eggs? Whatchu Talkin' Bout Willis? Feb 27, 2014

Basket of Eggs

Raise your hands if you use fresh eggs.....

Are you sitting down?...A few years ago I would have called you crazy if you said there was a way you could preserve eggs without refrigerating them....yeah, coo coo bird crazy...with crossed eyes and everything.

Method #1:

I had heard once that if you dip eggs in melted beeswax (double boiler method), that it keeps air from getting in the tiny porous holes in the shell of the egg and can preserve them without refrigeration. SCORE!! So, I began experimenting. My experimence (experience + experiment) taught me that it works, but there are variables that you need to be aware of. 

#1 - You need to have a cool, dry place (in AZ, like a basement) where the temperature cannot vary much. 

#2 -  Keep stored eggs away from light. 

#3 - Experiment with small batches first (sometimes I'm kind of an all or nothin' gal...sometimes I learn the expensive way :) ).

Here is the experimence of another egg dipping kindred spirit:

You can use wax, lard, mineral oil, canola oil etc. If you might be concerned about the eggs going bad in that time, it is REALLY easy to tell. They stink. In this video they have covered them in mineral oil and have been in storage for 3 months. ALWAYS cook stored crazy raw diet here. This will help prevent salmonella issues.

Method #2:

The magazine Mother Earth News looked up several pre-electric books (1880's to 1905) where ways to preserve eggs were mentioned. Then came the experimences...Some ways suggested lime and water solution (like an ingredient in concrete lime) and found that it worked also, but the eggs tasted like lime. The suggestion that worked the best (apart from refrigeration :) ) was "glass water solution" with sodium silicate.

Here is the recipe:

1qt sodium silicate
9 qts water

Boil and cool. Place mixture in 5 gallon crock or jar. This will be large enough to preserve 15 dozen eggs. Make sure 2 inches of the solution covers the eggs. Place the crock in a cool dry place ( also away from light). Cover it well to prevent evaporation. If you choose to make boiled eggs with eggs preserved this way, before you boil them, poke a small hole in the large end of the egg before boiling to prevent cracking. 

You can purchase sodium silicate here - it even describes using it for egg preservation in the description!! Crazy!! Who would have known?

When I was doing more reading, I kept seeing references to a "crock" I thought, "Is that a crock pot?" So I did some digging. A crock is what they used "pre-electricity" days to make fermented vegetables (I know what you're thinking) like pickles, and sauerkraut. They let the vegetables make their own vinegar by lacto fermenting (which is an incredible source of probiotics that put yogurt to shame). This is what a crock looks like:

Method #3

Some of you may be thinking "This is WAY too much there an easier way?" There is. It is more expensive, but a lot of people go this direction.

They are called "Ova Easy" eggs. Many of the reviews I've read say that they are SO different from powdered eggs of "yesteryear". They swear they taste like fresh eggs. Here's a link.

A final note:

While I have been reading the last several days, I was also learning about egg production. As chickens are in the sun more, they lay more eggs. So as spring turns into summer you get a higher production. When Mother Earth News did their research they found many references to eggs produced in April, May and June were the best for storing. When the winter months came and they days were shorter, the chickens would lay less and less. That is the perfect time to use the eggs that you stored. Pretty cool huh.

See...I'm not so crazy after all :). 

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