Do you have a surplus of eggs but not a surplus of space in the fridge, here are several ways to preserve eggs without refrigeration. We’ve included an “odd” bonus method at the end (considering the title of the post). We also discuss which is safest to preserve, raw or cooked eggs. Also, some old fashioned ways of preserving eggs without refrigeration are mentioned just for fun!
How to Preserve Eggs Without Refrigeration
Those of you who have a talent for searching out grocery deals and those of you with an egg-laying flock often end up with a surplus of eggs! You can store them in the refrigerator for a time but that takes electricity and space.
So, you might have occasion to ask yourself, what’s the best way to preserve eggs especially if you don’t want to use refrigeration? Fortunately, there are numerous ways to preserve eggs without refrigeration!
Today we’ll be outlining 4 methods:
- Freeze Drying
- Water Glassing
- Freezing – the weird one considering the topic of the post but you’ll see why I mention it!
So, which do I think is best? I’ll answer that at the very end because I don’t want to taint your opinion of what will be best for you.
Uncooked Eggs or Cooked Eggs?
Most food preservation training resources from books to websites will suggest that you preserve cooked, scrambled eggs to lessen the possibility of contamination from pathogens like salmonella and campylobacter. The scrambling/cooking process essentially pasteurizes the eggs before preservation.
Pre-cooking eggs can make them less useable for baking recipes but it does reduce the preservation time because a lot of the water inherent in eggs evaporates off during cooking.
Still, which is the best way to preserve eggs safely?
The Eggy Bottom Line:
- If you really want to preserve raw, uncooked eggs, freeze dry or freeze them.
- Scramble your eggs beforehand and they will easily freeze, dehydrate, and freeze dry.
- Eggs are never suitable for canning, FYI.
- If you want to preserve them whole and uncooked, preserve eggs in lime.
The following information details how to work all of those methods!
Other Resources You Might Find Helpful!
To Dehydrate Eggs for Storage
We’re starting out with my least favorite method because I don’t care for the texture of dehydrated eggs when rehydrated and made into something like scrambled eggs. I’m very picky about eggs because they’re probably my favorite food.
I know I said I was going to try to not influence you with my opinion too much but, if we’re going to be friends, it’s important that I be honest.
However, you can pulverize dehydrated scrambled eggs in a high powered blender to make something similar to egg powder suitable for use in baking recipes. We share a few more tricks to make dehydrated eggs work better, but bear in mind that they’re not going to be as good as fresh, in my opinion.
For all dehydrated eggs, the key to correctly dehydrating them is to be sure they are dry-dry, not just kinda dry. You want them DRY.
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To Dehydrate Scrambled Eggs:
- Preheat your dehydrator to 145°F/63°C while you scramble the eggs. How many will fit per sheets is relative to the size and volume of your trays – you’ll need to experiment.
- You can add whatever you want to them like breakfast meat, veggies, etc.
- Place them evenly onto dehydrator trays without piling them on top of each other.
- Dehydrate them for 2-4 hours depending on the thickness of each egg chunk and your ambient humidity.
- Cool completely and place eggs into an air-tight glass jar. Watch for condensation on the sides of the glass. If some forms, put the egg pieces back in the dehydrator at high heat for another hour or so. Repeat this step until the eggs are dry*
*Very humid climates may take longer to dehydrate sufficiently. Don’t give up, you’ll get there!
To Rebelliously Dehydrate Raw Eggs:
Remember, this is NOT the official recommended way to dehydrate eggs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Preheat your dehydrator to 145°F/63°C while you whip your eggs in a mixer or by hand. They should be very well whipped, as if you’re going to make meringue with them. If your dehydrator will go up to 165°F/74°C, then this is a safer temperature at which to dehydrate them from a pathogenic perspective.
- Pour them evenly onto dehydrator trays that have been prepared with liners or your dehydrator’s fruit leather trays.
- Dehydrate them for at least twelve to fourteen hours. This process takes a long time because of the high-water content of eggs. They’ll be done once they are completely dry to the touch and brittle.
- Break off a handful and put it in your food processor or high-powered blender. If they grind up dry and powdery, the eggs are dehydrated completely, and you can now blend the whole batch up to a powder. If they stick or jam at all, they’re not dry enough so put them back in the dehydrator for another two to four hours.
- Just to be certain the eggs are dry, and to make a finer powder for use later, you can put the egg powder back into the dehydrator for another hour or so.
- To use, reconstitute with equal amounts egg powder to water and let stand for five to ten minutes to completely rehydrate. This will off-set the grainy texture of dehydrated eggs.
Store for a year in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight and heat. A Mylar or plastic air-tight sealed bag is best. I’ve read sources that say that dehydrated eggs can last as long as ten years, if properly stored.
Advisable? Bleh, no.
The flavor starts to get weird after a year, in my opinion. They’re a high fat item, so if storage conditions aren’t completely and consistently cool and dry, dehydrated eggs can start to taste rancid.
How Do You Store Eggs Long Term?
The easiest method for storing eggs without refrigeration long term by far and the one that preserves the most nutrition, flavor, and texture is freeze drying. You do need the expensive and energy-consuming freeze-drying unit to preserve eggs this way. (I don’t judge because I own one, too.)
Eggs preserved this way will last up to 25 years and taste like the day they were laid! This is probably the easiest way to add eggs to your food storage.
To Freeze Dry Eggs:
- Leave the eggs raw but mixed OR scramble them over heat to pre-cook them. You can add whatever you want to them like breakfast meat, veggies, garlic, etc.
- Place the trays inside the freeze dryer and then fill them about halfway with the egg mixture. Push the trays slowly into the unit to avoid spills. You can pre-freeze the egg in the trays to reduce the processing time if you prefer.
- Close up the unit and set to freeze. How long, as well as how many eggs you can freeze dry at one time, depends entirely on the size of your unit and how full your trays are.
- Powder or leave in dried chunks. Vacuum seal and store indefinitely.
How Did They Preserve Eggs Without Refrigeration in the Old Days?
If you go far enough back in history, you’ll read tales of Colonial families storing their eggs in ash, salt, and even by coating them in oil! Those are all perfectly legitimate methods even today, though not all of us have a bulk supply of ash, salt, or oil on hand.
Another common old fashioned way to preserve eggs without refrigeration is to place them freshly laid and whole into lime, which has long been used to finish off various kinds of construction like cobb. Often called water glassing eggs for storage, this method only works with fresh, unwashed whole eggs.
Store bought eggs will not water glass successfully.
You will also need containers with lids: glass jars, food-grade buckets, crocks, etc. By submerging the eggs in a lime water solution, you can preserve them whole for many months, even up to a year.
If you don’t have a freeze dryer, this is my best suggestion for preserving eggs without refrigeration! I do have a freeze dryer and I still use this method because it’s so easy to set up.
Preserving Eggs in Lime – I Saved the Best for Last!
- To begin, mix 1-quart water to 1 oz. of pickling lime (which you can purchased in the canning section of most stores). You may also use slake lime from the hardware store, but it’s not food-grade, FYI. Mix until the lime is completely incorporated.
- The ratio of water to lime is the same no matter how much you need, so just adapt it to your container. You will want enough to cover your eggs by several inches because the level will go down a bit due to evaporation as the water sits.
- Begin to add your eggs to the lime solution very gently, layering them on top of each other. If you have a particularly dirty egg, set it aside to use fresh. If you have an egg that only has a bit of straw or dirt, wipe it and place it in the container. You need unwashed eggs for this preservation method because you need to keep the bloom of the eggs intact. The bloom is a protective outer coating that is naturally occurring on chicken eggshells (it’s the very last layer that’s put down before the egg comes out of the chicken). If the bloom is gone, the shell is porous, and you’ll end up with watery, lime-y eggs that are not suitable to eat. Bleh.
- Place the lid on and carefully put the container of eggs some place cool and dark.
Water Glass Tips & Troubleshooting:
- Only use perfect eggs – no cracks, no poop smudges, no dents
- Set aside an imperfect eggs for preservation other ways
- Keep the water glass eggs in a cool, dark place
- Check the water glass containers every 2-4 weeks for water evaporation; replace water as needed
- Also check for cloudy water or off/spoiled smell that indicates an egg has gone bad
- Plan to use up your water glassed eggs over the winter and into early spring until the chickens start laying again
How Long Will Water Glassed Eggs Last?
These eggs will store well for three to six months, and relatively well for six months to a year. You really can’t tell the difference between a fresh egg and a water glassed egg for the first six months.
After that, while the flavor and texture are still good, the older eggs are just a bit flat. They’re still very usable (as in, I’ll still eat them scrambled and I’m picky), but if you’re using them in a baking recipe after twelve months of storage, use one and a half to double the amount.
At any point during their tenure in storage, you can remove water-glassed eggs and preserve them in a shelf stable way via freezer, dehydrator, or freeze dryer.
What is the Best Way to Store Uncooked Eggs?
As I mentioned, several food preservation sources suggest scrambling eggs before attempting to preserve them to avoid risk of contamination by pathogens like salmonella. If you’d like to keep your eggs uncooked for preservation, then freeze drying is still a safe option because of the extreme temperatures of the method.
However, if you don’t have a freeze dryer, what’s the best way to store uncooked eggs?!
The most popular choice is to freeze them. This is really cheating if we’re talking about storing eggs without refrigeration but freezing eggs is very simple and straightforward.
It requires no special equipment beyond the freezer itself. If you have a chest freezer for storing bulk meats, this can be a simple solution to preserving eggs for the short term.
One caution about freezing eggs for storage is that they do require electricity to keep them preserved and frozen. We get nasty winter and summer storms during which we lose power now and then, which is part of why I don’t often freeze eggs myself. However, the process is uncomplicated and can be done with fresh or store-bought eggs.
Freezing Uncooked Eggs for Storage
- To freeze whole eggs, crack one egg into a muffin tin, ice cube tray, or a silicone mold. I prefer the silicone molds because it’s so much easier to remove the frozen egg once it’s set up. A muffin tin is my next favorite because each cell is bigger than those of an ice cube tray. My older hen’s eggs just won’t fit into an ice cube tray because the cells are too small. Whatever you use, a little oil sprayed or spread inside the container will help release the frozen eggs. That’s true for each of the following steps, too.
- To freeze yolk and whites separately, simply divide them and place them into their own cells of the tray. I advise you mix the yolk just a little and add a dash of salt. Any time you have yolk exposed, even on the whole eggs (above), sprinkle them with salt to help prevent them developing a grainy texture and that weird freezer taste.
- To freeze scrambled eggs, mix and fill the cells of your tray. One ice cube-sized amount of egg is the equivalent of a small-medium-sized egg.
Store for up to six months in the freezer. Any longer and the eggs start to taste funky and might be a little flat when you bake with them.
What’s My Favorite Way to Preserve Eggs Without Refrigeration?
My first choice would be freeze dried because:
- They reconstitute exceptionally well.
- The method is usually safe from contamination.
- In a five-tray unit, I can store nearly 6-8 dozen eggs at one time.
“What if I don’t have a freeze dryer,” you ask, and rightly so!
- If you don’t have a freeze dryer, my next suggestion would be to water glass the eggs for safety and for flexibility in use.
A dehydrated egg will technically store longer than a water-glassed egg but you compromise flavor and texture, in my opinion.
What do you think?
Bonus Ways to Preserve Eggs
- Ashley at Practical Self Reliance can teach you how to preserve egg yolks in with salt – the official process is called “curing”.
- Another way to practically store eggs without refrigeration is to keep them in a cool root cellar as close to 45°F/7°C as possible.
- You can also preserve eggs in baked goods like these basic scones for fresh or dried fruit!
- Here are six historic way to preserve eggs without refrigeration from Townsend and Sons – for fun and education!
Always remember to do your own homework about food preservation, best safety practices, and keeping yourself healthy.
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