People who have chickens are fortunate to have a ready supply of eggs to cook with and to eat. There is only the matter of storage that can be burdensome. Occasionally stores may have a very good deal of eggs, too. When that happens and a person buys several dozen eggs, though, storage can again be an issue. It doesn’t need to be a problem to store the eggs for a long time in either case, however. Here are two methods for long term storage of eggs.
My grandfather came up with the first way. He made his own jerky and dried fish and meats, so he knew how salt draws moisture away from food. For this reason, he would buy granulated salt by the 10 pound bag and rock salt in bags of 100 pounds. He always had several bags of each on hand, since he never knew when he’d have an elk, venison or bear to feed to his family and to dry.
Among other farm animals, he and my grandmother also had chickens. That meant that they had an abundance of eggs. At the time, few people outside of cities had refrigerators, though. However, Granddad was well aware that eggs spoil due to moisture. Egg shells aren’t air proof or waterproof and moisture plus bacteria allows eggs to spoil.
Naturally, he put the knowledge of the properties of salt together with that about eggs. He took wooden boxes, which were as common as cardboard boxes are today, and put down an inch of rock salt in the bottom. On top of this, he placed a few dozen eggs in a single layer so the eggs weren’t touching. These were covered with more rock salt, then another layer of eggs, another of salt and so forth until the box was full. The last layer was of salt.
Even at room temperature and in the heat of summer, the eggs didn’t spoil. The salt drew all the moisture out of the air before it could come into contact with the eggs and the salt also killed the bacteria. Six months later, the eggs could still be eaten. The downside is that the salt also drew moisture out of the eggs, gradually. At the end of six months, the last of the eggs had no egg whites and the yolks were somewhat shriveled, though they were still edible and ended up being used in baking. Still, it takes care of long term storage of eggs.
Powdered Dehydrated Eggs
People who’ve been in the military are probably well acquainted with the second method of long term storage of eggs; powdered eggs. Though they aren’t as tasty as fresh eggs to most people, they are great for baking and not bad when used reconstituted in dishes such as omelets.
Powdered eggs are incredibly simple to make, though it is time consuming. To make powdered eggs, thoroughly scramble a dozen eggs. Pour these onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put them in a very slow oven; 150 F – 175 F. They can also be dried in a food dehydrator.
The eggs need to dehydrate for 12 – 18 hours or until they are totally dry and brittle. They should have a darker color than when the were originally scrambled, but that is okay because they’ll get lighter again when they are reconstituted.
Allow the dried eggs to cool, then put them in a blender and run it until the eggs are turned to powder. They can then be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature until needed.
Reconstituting: To reconstitute the eggs, stir a heaping tablespoon of the powdered eggs together with two tablespoons of water, then let the mixture stand for a few minutes. This is the equivalent of one egg.
The dried eggs don’t have the same issue as the salt stored eggs in regard to shriveling, since they are already dried, however, they should be used within 2-3 months because the flavor can get a little stale after a while.
Dried eggs are actually a great survival food for emergencies, since they keep so well. In fact, a person can take the recipe I have for pancake mix and add a heaping quarter cup of powdered eggs and a quarter cup of powdered milk to make a pancake mix that only requires water and a little oil to make the pancakes. In the same way, the powdered eggs can be used to make homemade cake mix so only water and oil is needed for the batter.
Any way you look at it, these two methods provide a solution to long term storage of eggs. Depending on the price of eggs, or if you have your own chickens, this can be a very frugal way to keep your eggs.