PRESERVING FRESH EGGS
I’m going to share a rather unique way to store fresh, whole eggs for long periods of time and still maintain the ‘fresh, whole egg’ taste. And no electricity required. A great way to be prepared for any emergency.
Our forefathers used to ensure they had fresh eggs on a regular basis when on long journeys, or long winters when the hens didn’t lay. Following this method will give you eggs that taste like they were just laid that day. Safe storage is anywhere from 1 month to 10 months without losing any quality.
The next statement is vitally important so please read carefully - You will need to use only freshly laid eggs – no exceptions! If you do not use eggs that were laid that very day, don’t even bother doing this as the method will fail and you will have a lot of rotten eggs on hand. So this means NO STORE BOUGHT EGGS, NO MATTER HOW FRESH THEY SAY THEY ARE.
Let me explain the reasoning to this method so that everyone will understand just why it’s so important for the eggs to be totally ’fresh’.
Any process that excludes air from reaching into an egg prevents the decay of that egg. We have all heard that an egg shell is the perfect container; but to ensure continued long lasting freshness every pore on the shell MUST be closed off. If you do this when the eggs are newly laid (and I do mean NEWLY LAID), before the aging process can start, they will retain their original properties unscathed for 8 to 10 months.
There have been various techniques tried for this result, anything from varnishing the eggs to coating them in wax; but I am going to tell you the main method that my family used to their satisfaction in the old days. Again, I will say - the eggs need to be extremely fresh, even gathering them twice a day is a good idea if following this method. It’s actually fairly easy, but one needs to get everything ready BEFORE gathering the eggs that you will be preserving.
1. Before going out to collect your daily quota of eggs, soften up some salted butter (not un-salted butter). The amount of butter will depend on how many eggs you normally collect in one day. Warm and whip well making sure the butter is malleable and will be easy to use to coat an egg.
2. Go collect your eggs, dry brushing each one to remove any dirt, etc. One of my ancestors used to tell his girls to take the butter out to the hen house and do the coating there (after dry brushing of course). Or you can bring them into the house immediately and lay them out.
3. Place a small amount of butter in the palm of your hand and turn the egg around in it, making sure the entire egg is thoroughly coated in butter.
4. You will then pack them carefully in a bed of either roasted, dried bran or a mixture of charcoal and salt; small end down (allow me to repeat… SMALL END DOWN). A box works best, but anything will do as long as it can be tightly sealed. Cover the eggs with more dried bran or charcoal mix and repeat the layer. When box is full, seal lid on as tightly as you can and store in a cool, dry, dark area.
Shortening with some salt added can be used in place of butter, but it has a tendency to turn rancid if the storage area gets too warm and butter does not do this.
Remember these points to ensure good quality stored eggs:
1. Do NOT use water or soap to wash eggs before coating them.
2. They must be super fresh, newly laid eggs. I knew of one gentleman who complained that after just a month his eggs turned bad. He was sure that the whole process was not reliable. It turned out that he was using eggs that were a few days old.
3. They must be totally coated in the butter – not even one tiny pore can be left open to the air.
4. They must be packed in either the roasted dry bran or the mixture of charcoal and salt.
5. They must be stored somewhere dark, dry and cool. Cold is not necessary, but temperatures hovering around 60 -70 degrees is fine.
If you follow this recipe properly, you will be able to enjoy a ’fresh’ egg even when you haven’t been around chickens (or a store) for months.