Eating fresh eggs from last April… adventures in low-tech food preservation!

Last spring I learned about a cool technique for storing eggs without refrigeration. It’s called “water glassing“. You make a really alkaline solution using hydrated lime and water, and then you submerge fresh unwashed (but not poopy) eggs into it. They can apparently store like that for upwards of a year!

After a few experiences over the years where I found myself flirting with the potential of mass food loss (due to power outages and even just unsuspecting kids unplugging something…), I have started really working to be less reliant on electricity. So, when I learned about this method of egg preservation I was really excited to try it. I was not really aware of many options for egg preservation besides freezing or pickling, and over the winter our freezer real estate really needs to go to other things. I like pickled eggs just fine, but I’m not sure I like them enough to store many many dozens that way.

I sell all our excess eggs, but I have found myself with the same problem every year- we are drowning in eggs in the spring and early summer, and in the late fall we always have to pull back and share less so that we can have a few eggs for ourselves. This year, though, all the extra eggs during the spring and summer went straight into the buckets and have stayed cozy there until just this last week.

I actually think we could have benefit from eating on these eggs since late November, but I was a little slow to dip in. I suppose I was a little bit nervous about it? Let’s be real, I was gonna have to try out a 10 month old egg that’s been suspended in a cloudy mystery liquid. Unfamiliar things, especially food, just ask a lot of our nervous systems, I think. I’m actually a really adventurous eater, but I think there’s still a biologically-rooted timidity that slows me down when it comes to foreign or possibly unsafe food experiences. I believe this is why I haven’t taken the plunge and eaten pokeweed yet, despite having known about old-school methods of preparation that country folks swear by (even my own dear neighbor from Kentucky tells me it’s delicious. Calls it “Poke Sallet“). Mark my word, I’m gonna cross that culinary bridge this spring. Anyway, I’m trying to remind myself that it’s good to go slow, to get to know these new things at my own pace.

The verdict? They are delicious and totally safe! And were preserved so simply in buckets in the basement. This morning Jeff and I enjoyed perfectly good 10-month-old eggs on English muffins. I have noticed that many are a bit runnier than fresh eggs and the yolks easily break, but they smell good, taste good, and are great for most of the things we need eggs for. In my follow up research I’m finding that the runny/yolk-breaking thing might be improved by putting same-day eggs in. All my eggs were very fresh, but I did collect them over the course of a week to put in the buckets. Next time I’ll just add a few every day and see if that makes a difference.

Anyway. Pretty cool, right?

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