Do you have chickens? Do you have more eggs than you can use? If you answered yes, then you need to waterglass eggs for long term storage during times of egg shortage.
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I have only four chickens, but when you are single, that can mean a lot of eggs. While I use many to cook up delicious egg dishes, there are times when I run out of eggs and need to purchase them.
History of waterglass eggs
Waterglassing eggs dates back to the early 1800s when people found a way to preserve their eggs in their rawest form without refrigerators or freezers. An 1886 cookbook by Fannie Farmer provided one of the first instructions on how to water glass eggs. I have found this method works great for times you are without fresh eggs.
It’s hard to believe, but I do run out of eggs, usually in the summer. I am a first-time chicken mamma and chose silkies as my first experience with chickens. I thought I did my research on these little fluffballs and did know they tend to go broody. While broodiness is wonderful if you want to raise and breed chickens, it is not something you want your chickens to do if you are expecting a supply of eggs.
Most chickens lay fewer eggs in the winter because of diminished daylight hours, but my ladies are little powerhouses when it comes to laying eggs all winter long. I do not use artificial lighting to force egg production and prefer my girls to live as natural a life as possible. But last summer, I fought broodiness over two to three months, with all four becoming broody at the same time!
When a hen is broody, they stop laying eggs. They prepare themselves to become chicken mammas. A hen will take all of the eggs that other chickens are laying and will sit on them. A broody hen will also become quite mean during this time. Broodiness usually lasts around 21 days. So, when you have all of your hens broody for three weeks at a time, you tend to run out of eggs. Waterglass eggs are a terrific way to store fresh eggs for use during times when your ladies are not earning their keep.
How to waterglass eggs
For egg waterglassing, you will need:
First, choose clean unwashed eggs. The bloom on fresh eggs helps with the preservation and prevents the lime from soaking into the eggshell. You can not use store bought eggs for this process.
For every quart of water, use 1 ounce of pickling lime. If you plan to waterglass a lot of eggs, then use this ratio to achieve the proper amount of water to cover the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Once you have the bottom of the bucket covered with eggs, it’s a good idea to try and place them point side down for optimal freshness.
How long do waterglass eggs last?
Waterglass egg freshness peaks at around 8 to 12 months of storage, but they are reported to last over 2 years. When using waterglassed eggs, be sure to rinse thoroughly prior to use. The following are pictures of my waterglassed eggs that have been in storage at eight months and at one year.
It’s hard to distinguish the year old waterglassed egg from the fresh one. Hint! The waterglassed egg is on the left.
This is an egg at eight months storage compared to a fresh:
And this is a waterglassed egg at twelve months compared to a fresh:
In these pictures, you’ll notice the waterglassed egg’s whites are thinner compared to a fresh egg at twelve months. I noticed the yolk broke easier than the fresh one also. However, taste-wise, I could not tell the difference.
That’s it! All you need to waterglass eggs is simply a bucket and pickling lime. Waterglassed eggs do not need specific climate control, but I keep mine in my basement where it is cool. Keep a lid on them to prevent evaporation of the liquid. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section your experience with waterglassing eggs.
Wow! This is great! Can you use this method in a hot or tropical climate?
I would think you could. Keep your bucket sealed well with a lid and in a closet or somewhere out of direct sunlight and constant temperature. Let me know how it works for you!
I am currently trying to get this started but I can not get my lime to dissolve. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? It just all styles to the bottom and the water on top just looks a little cloudy.
That should say settles to the bottom
Yep! settling of the lime is totally normal. You do not need to keep mixing it after you first put it together and add your eggs.