Preserving Farm Fresh Eggs
If you have backyard chickens, you know all about the inconsistent laying of eggs. When Josh bought me my first few hens, they didn't start laying until the fall so we had a steady stream of eggs that first winter because they didn't molt.
Molting is when chickens stop laying eggs. They start to lose old feathers, and grow new ones - it's essentially a time to rest and recover. Molt occurs during the fall through winter when there is a decrease in hours of sunlight. We do not use artificial lights to keep our hens laying throughout the cold months so we get very few eggs during until the days start getting longer.
Last year I attempted to preserve eggs to carry us through the winter months when our hens started molting, but I had to learn the dos and don'ts of preservation the hard way, which is what i'm going to share with you after we cover a few of the basics.
How long do fresh eggs last?
Unwashed eggs will last for 2-3 weeks unrefrigerated, at room temperature. Refrigerated unwashed eggs will last up to 3-5 months.
Fresh eggs will last longer unwashed because when the hens lay, they naturally produce a layer called the "bloom" that seals the porous shell protecting it from bacteria.
How to wash eggs?
When purchasing eggs from the store they have already been washed and are more common than not, several weeks old. Therefore we do not recommend you use this method to preserve them.
To wash farm fresh eggs before use, use cool water and a clean rag to gently wash away any dirt that may be on the shell. Set the clean egg on a dish towel then dry completely before refrigerating or using immediately. This method does not use soaps or chemicals to clean the eggs, however there are several available if you feel it is necessary.
How long will washed eggs last?
Washed eggs that are refrigerated immediately after washing will last at least two months, but they will not taste as fresh as an unwashed egg of the same age.
How can I tell if an egg has gone bad?
If you are ready to eat the egg, crack it in a small bowl and give it a whiff.. if it doesn't smell right, you know... a rotten egg, toss it out! If you're not ready to cook with it but would like to know if it's gone bad, test it by doing the "Float Test". Fill up a bowl of water, place the egg in the water to see if it floats. Fresh eggs will sink, eggs that are still safe to consume may be tilted or upright, but if an egg floats it's bad. The older the egg gets, the more air that will get inside the shell so it will cause the egg to float. This is also why it's important to store your eggs in a container or carton with the pointy side down.
Now that we've covered the basics of farm fresh eggs, let's get into how to preserve them so we can have that bright orange, delicious eggs all year long!
My first time preserving eggs I did not combine the yolk and the white, I just cracked an egg in a silicone mold and froze it. Once I thawed it out to use, it looked great but while I was cooking I noticed that the yolk was molded into a strange shape that would not budge.
The consistency ended up rubbery, and I was at a loss with several dozen eggs so I started researching better ways. When preserving eggs by freezing you want to mix the entire egg together, lesson learned. So, this time around that's just what I did.
I mixed a dozen, or more washed eggs with my kitchen-aid hand mixer, added a pinch of salt (to keep the consistency from being rubbery), then poured them into plastic containers to freeze. You could also pour them into silicone molds if you would like but I felt as though I could store more, and easily use them by adding them to containers.
If you are baking and need the whites and yolks separated, you can separate, whisk then freeze as well but only add the salt to the yolks.
Things to note:
• Date your eggs when freezing, use by 6 months.
• 1 egg = 3 Tablespoons.