If you have an abundance of eggs, you may look for the best way to store them for a long time.
Having chickens for eggs is an interesting journey. Some months of the year, you swim – literally – in eggs. Your countertops overflow, and you wonder about all the ways to preserve eggs or use up these eggs – or give them to your neighbor. Then, in other months of the year, you have a stare down with your chickens, willing them just to lay a single egg, so you don’t need to get a dozen at the store.
Raising chickens for eggs really can be a feast or famine, depending on the time of year. Egg production varies widely throughout the year or depending on the age of your flock.
I experienced this year after year, feeling irritated in the winter when my girls refused to lay even a single egg. Then, I had no idea what to do with the multitude of eggs we received in the spring and summer.
It felt like a waste. I don’t mind giving eggs to my parents, but I wanted to feed my family year-round with our chicken flock. Learning all the ways to preserve eggs felt like a must.
If you learn how to preserve eggs, the feast-or-famine mentality goes away. You have eggs saved up for the lean times of the year, which feels awesome. My goal is to save eggs for the winter months instead of needing to use the grocery store when our flock stops laying.
How to Store Eggs
Before we go into preserving chicken eggs, you have to know how to store eggs properly. It’s important for the longevity of the eggs and food safety.
Fresh eggs straight from your backyard flock are best stored unwashed with the pointy end down. Unless an egg is really dirty, it’s best to wait to wash them until you need to use them. When you wash eggs, you remove the bloom, and the bloom is the magical part of the egg that allows the eggs to sit out at room temperature.
Due to Mother Nature, fresh, unwashed eggs have a long shelf life. The bloom prevents bacteria from entering the egg. This makes sense since eggs are baby birds, and chickens need to sit on the eggs for weeks to hatch. If the egg was vulnerable to bacteria, chickens wouldn’t be able to reproduce easily.
A freshly laid egg from your backyard flock that wasn’t washed has a shelf life of up to two weeks, but the longer it sits, the more it will deteriorate. Freshly laid eggs kept in the fridge but not washed will store for several months.
13 Ways to Preserve Eggs
1. Keep Eggs Cool – Root Cellaring Eggs
Perhaps the easiest and simplest method for preserving extra eggs is to keep them cool. This is why grocery stores in the United States keep eggs in the fridge.
The bloom is a natural coating on the outside of the egg to prevent bacteria from reaching the inside of the egg. So, if the bloom is removed, you must refrigerate the eggs.
If you prefer to keep unwashed eggs, they can be stored in a cool, dark closet or pantry for several weeks. The ideal temperature is 50 degrees, with humidity around 75%. When you keep eggs cool, unwashed eggs, store them for six to eight weeks. Some say properly stored eggs store for up to three months if refrigerated.
Freezing eggs is one of my favorite ways to preserve eggs. You don’t free whole, fresh eggs in the shell – that won’t work for you. If you tried freezing a whole egg, the eggshell would break because the contents expand when an egg freezes, causing the eggshell to break.
Broken eggshells allow bacteria to enter the egg.
However, freezing fresh eggs out of their shell IS safe and one of the best options. Many other egg preservation methods create a different texture or even taste for the egg, but in my experience, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to tell the difference between a frozen egg and a fresh egg.
Some say they can tell the difference; I suppose we all have different taste buds. So, give it a try! However, the only time you’d be able to tell is by making scrambled eggs; you won’t tell in baked goods.
Best of all, you only need a few items. I bet you already have these things on hand. All I use is:
Some prefer to use a ice cube tray rather than muffin tins. I would encourage you to try both and see which ones you prefer.
2. Freezing Raw Eggs
I prefer freezing raw eggs; these are more versatile. All I have to do is unthaw a few based on my cooking plans.
Here is how to freeze raw eggs.
- Put the silicone muffin pan on top of the baking sheet; you’ll thank me for this.
- Crack a clean egg in a bowl and scramble the egg.
- Pour the scrambled egg into one of the muffin tin holes.
- Repeat until the entire muffin tin pan is full.
- Place the baking sheet with the muffin pan into the freezer and wait 12-24 hours.
- Once the eggs are frozen, pop them out of the silicone pan and store the eggs in a plastic freezer bag.
One muffin pan hole is equal to one egg; this makes it easy to use for recipes. Scrambling more than one egg together makes it hard for recipes and only unthawing what you need.
3. Freezing Cooked Eggs
Another option is freezing cooked eggs. You might already do this without realizing it; we like to freeze breakfast burritos with eggs on them.
It’s best to partially cook the scrambled eggs; undercooked eggs are best to freeze because you need to thaw and reheat them. So, this gives your eggs some leeway when you heat them up after thawing.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with eggs as hard as a brick – not delicious.
4. Freezing Eggs in Baked Goods
Another option when freezing eggs is freezing in baked goods. You can freeze many baked goods like pound cakes or muffins. The only problems with doing this are you can only eat so many baked goods, and baked goods take up more space in the freezer than frozen pucks of eggs.
So, consider goodies your family enjoys and try making large batches. Then, freeze them. I remember my mother always made huge batches of cookies and stored them in the freezer for movie nights and other times.
5. Dehydrate Eggs
Another way to safely preserve eggs is to dehydrate them. However, in order to avoid the eggs going rancid during long-term storage, experts recommend cooking the eggs fully before the dehydrating process. Since eggs contain fats, it’s possible for them to go rancid and spoil.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that:
… “eggs are not recommended for home drying because of the high risk of food poisoning. Commercially dried egg products are processed rapidly at temperatures high enough to prevent bacterial contamination. Home dehydrators cannot duplicate this process.”
That being said, home preservers dehydrate eggs regularly, and you may decide this is your favorite way to preserve eggs at home. Make sure you have a dehydrator before getting started.
You have two options:
- Dehydrating Raw Eggs: If you decide to try dehydrating raw eggs, ensure you know where the eggs are sourced and that they are clean. Dehydrating eggs won’t kill salmonella, so you need to be sure to take care as you dry the eggs.
- Dehydrating Cooked Eggs: The next option is to dehydrate cooked eggs. You have less risk when dehydrating cooked eggs, which decreases versatility. You won’t be able to use them in other ways than how you dehydrated them.
What are the negatives of dehydrating eggs?
The texture is often greasy and grainy; you will undoubtedly have trouble rehydrating them properly. I liked the comparison by The Prairie Homestead when she tried different ways to dehydrate eggs.
6. Dried Egg Pasta
However, one method of dehydration or drying that I don’t mind is creating dried egg pasta. Making pasta is a simple, shelf-stable way to preserve eggs. I use a recipe with many eggs and a hand-crank pasta machine to roll out my pasta.
You could also roll out the pasta dough on the counter with a rolling pin! I did that for years.
After you make the pasta, hang it to dry and store it in your pantry. However, if you live somewhere with high humidity levels, keep an eye on your pasta; it could mold. I prefer to use a dehydrator (an oven works, too) to dry out the pasta more.
7. Freeze Drying
One of my goals is to get a freezer dryer for better food preservation. Freeze-drying eggs is one of the best ways to preserve eggs, both raw and cooked eggs. It’s safe to freeze dry both draw and cooked eggs; the shelf life is over 10 years.
There is a big difference between dehydrating and freeze-drying. Freeze drying protects that flavor and texture, and there are no limits on what you can freeze dry.
8. Water Glass Eggs
I recently began water glassing eggs as a way to store my eggs for up to a year on my pantry shelf. You cannot use this preservation method with store-bought eggs; I select the cleanest, freshly laid eggs to put into my water glass containers.
Make sure not to wash your eggs before putting them into the solution.
Learning how to water glass eggs is so easy, and you will need pickling lime. Hydrated lime is easy to find in your local canning section, and you only need one ounce of lime for every quart of water. One quart treats about a dozen eggs.
The problem with water-glassing eggs is that their shells become softer. So, the whites may not become stiff nor form peaks when beaten. You won’t be able to create things like eggnogs or meringues with water-glassed eggs.
9. Pickled Eggs
My husband is a huge fan of pickled eggs. His grandmother owned a bar, and she always made pickled eggs. He loved to snack on them as a child, and he still loves to munch on them when I have time to create different recipes.
It’s important to note that pickled eggs cannot be safely canned, even though rebel canners love to do so. These eggs only stay good for about four months and need to be kept in the refrigerator.
If you love pickled eggs and have extra fridge space, this is a great way to store eggs creatively. You start by making hard-boiled eggs and pack the eggs into jars with a brine of water and vinegar. The fun thing about making pickled eggs is trying different spices and flavors.
You need to let the eggs infuse for at least one to two weeks before eating. Otherwise, the eggs won’t taste too great.
While this isn’t necessarily a way to store eggs for a long time, you’ll find a huge variety of recipes for pickling solution. If you have your own chickens, why not try some recipes for pickled eggs to see what recipes you like the most?
10. Mineral Oil Preserved Eggs
Here is an old-fashioned way to preserve eggs – coating the eggs in food-grade mineral oil. It’s an easy way to keep eggs fresh since you have to dunk the clean eggs into the oil, put them back into their egg carton, and let them sit on the shelves.
There are some important things to note when you try this.
You can’t pick any egg, put mineral oil on it, and then assume it will be well-preserved. You need to work within the proper time frame and selection process for the eggs. Plus, you have to store the eggs properly for them to last in long-term storage.
How to Make Mineral-Oil-Preserved Eggs
- You only need a few items when using this egg preservation method. Grab some clean, fresh eggs, gloves, and mineral oil. In general, you want to use eggs that are laid within 24 hours – some say you shouldn’t use store-bought eggs for this.
- Warm 1/8 cup of mineral oil in the microwave for only 10-15 seconds and, with gloved-covered hands, rub oil over the eggs. Be sure not to leave any area on the egg uncovered with oil; it must be completely covered.
- After you cover the egg in oil, put the egg back into the carton with the small end pointing downwards.
- Now, store your eggs!
- Flip the eggs weekly or monthly. You must gently flip the entire egg carton upside once a month or week (or whenever you remember) to maintain the egg yolk.
How you store mineral-covered eggs matters. If you store for the short term, such as up to three months, you can keep these eggs at a regular temperature. Long-term storage, between six and nine months, requires you to store the eggs in a cool, dark area between 65-68 degrees and 75% humidity.
The humidity level matters! If the egg humidity level is too low, the eggs will dry out, and if the level is too high, it will cause the eggs to become moldy.
You should keep the eggs in the fridge if you want to keep mineral-preserved eggs for extra long, such as 9 months to one year.
There is a downside to this method of egg preservation. It’s not ideal for baking since the egg whites won’t whip up properly with sugar. However, they are great for cooking them like poached eggs, eggs over easy, and other delicious recipes.
11. Thermostabilized Eggs
Thermostabilizing is a less common way to preserve eggs at home. The process involves heating the egg up enough to kill the bacteria on the shell and slightly cooking it. The goal is to create a layer of gelled egg whites right under the shell.
You cannot thermostabilize store-bought eggs; this needs to be done within 24 hours of being laid. The eggs should be at room temperature before thermostabilizing.
Here is the process needed to follow for thermostabilization.
- Get a deep pot and fill it with water. Put it on the stove and heat the water until it reaches 130 degrees F. You need to use a thermometer to check the temperature; don’t try to guess. The wrong temperature will overcook or undercook the egg, and the process will fail.
- Submerge the egg in the heated water for 15 minutes. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to lower the egg.
- Take the egg out of the water after 15 minutes and put it on a towel or rack to dry.
- Then, after the egg drys, store it pointy end down in an egg carton.
Thermostabilized eggs store in temperatures no higher than 65 degrees F for two weeks. If you keep them in the fridge at temperatures around 34 degrees F, the eggs last much longer, around 8 months!
Some people like to combine thermostabilizing and using mineral oil to create a longer storage life.
12. Fermenting Eggs
Believe it or not, fermenting almost anything, including eggs, is possible. Chances are you eat fermented foods regularly, like yogurt, sauerkraut, and beer.
Some assume fermentation is spoiling, but that’s not the case. The right conditions allow natural lactic acid bacteria to thrive, preventing the bacteria that spoils food.
One method to try is preserving whole eggs in brine. Start by hard boiling the eggs and putting them in a salt brine; you can make your own or use some starter like whey.
Keep the fermented eggs on the counter for at least three days before keeping them in the fridge. Once you like the flavor, fermented foods must stay cooler to slow the lactic acid bacteria. However, remember that fermented foods continue to slowly culture, even when placed in cold temperatures.
Other people preserve eggs in sauerkraut; put peeled, hardboiled eggs into a jar of sauerkraut. The shelf-life of these is not too long, typically two to three weeks.
13. Salting Egg Yolks
If you want another unique way to preserve eggs, try salting eggs! This is technically a form of fermentation since salt prevents the development of bacteria that could spoil the eggs.
Salting eggs is a Chinese egg preservation that preserves eggs outside of the shell in salt, allowing you to use them later. Some chefs love salt-preserved egg yolks, saying they taste like parmesan cheese. You can grate it over pasta for a delicious flavor.
It’s one of the easiest things to try; here’s what you need to do.
You can see a tutorial to make salt-cured egg yolks from Practical Self Reliance.
14. Canned Lemon Curd
One of the unique ways to preserve eggs is canned lemon curd. It’s one of the only ways you can safely can eggs; lemon curd is perishable and needs to be used quickly.
Lemon curd needs seven egg yolks and four whole eggs, so it’s quite a way to use up all the eggs you have. This recipe creates three to four half-pints of lemon curd; if you’ve never tried it, it’s worth it!
Canning lemon curd is safe because it has whole eggs beaten with sugar and lemon juice in a double boiler. Then, the process involves starting the canning at a low temperature and gradually moving up to a boil.
Lemon curd is basically like scrambled eggs, yet pickled and acidified with lemon juice and sugar added to it. The description doesn’t sound delicious, but it is tasty.
Don’t let your abundance of eggs frustrate you! There are plenty of ways to preserve eggs to store them for later use for your family. Don’t just give them away – unless you really want to!