I know there are many different ways of "preserving" eggs for future use. The way I've had luck doing it is super-simple and works for me.
Our hens usually go into a molt and stop laying eggs around the middle December. (Just before I plan on using more of them than usual for holiday baking, of course.) Knowing this lack of the beautiful, oval orbs is on the horizon, I start stockpiling my eggs about a month before that time. We don't sell our eggs, but do give them away to friends and use them for barter. This comes to a screeching halt at that time.
How do I "stockpile" them? Simply by storing them in our spare refrigerator.
When the eggs come from the hen house, I don't let them sit around at room temperature. I clean them, put them in egg cartons, label them and into cold storage they go. Jiffy quick.
I realize many sources say you should never wash your eggs in water because the shells are permeable and will absorb water. (I also know that commercial egg factories submerge their eggs in hot, soapy [yuck] water to insure they are pristinely clean when they appear in grocery stores.)
Supposedly you can rid your eggs of any dirt by lightly sanding them with sand paper. (Hmmm, if the egg shells are porous enough for water to get through to some degree, wouldn't the dust from rubbing them with sand paper penetrate the shell?) I've tried sanding and I can assure you it does not do a good job of removing dirt, manure or whatever else those sometimes muddy little chicken feet deposit on the eggs shells.
But I don't submerge my eggs in water to clean them either. I put them in a dry sink, turn the faucet on to a low stream of tepid water, moisten a paper towel and clean each egg before placing it on a clean cloth or paper towel to air dry. Then the eggs are put into egg cartons and go in the refrigerator. I try to make the time from chicken house to storage refrigerator as short as possible.
Each filled egg carton is labeled with the date so I know which eggs are oldest, which are newest.
I think by the first part of this past December, when our hens squeezed out their last egg before going on hiatus, I had about 18 dozen eggs squirreled away.
I have read that eggs may be as much as two months old when they are purchased from a grocery store. I just used a carton of eggs from our birds that was 2-1/2 months old and all of the eggs were just fine.
When using "older" eggs, I do put them through a bit of a test first. And this does require submerging them in water. Briefly.
~ Put the eggs in a bowl of cold water. Water should cover eggs by an inch or so.
~ If the egg remains on the bottom of the bowl, it's still fresh.
~ If it sits on the bottom with a slight tilt or angle, it's still fresh and fine to eat.
~ If it stands on end on the bottom of the bowl, it's still safe to eat but is best used for baking.
~ If it floats off the bottom, it's stale and is best discarded.
In the picture above, you can see the white egg on the right is tilted up. (These were eggs from a carton marked December 31st. And it's quite possible the tilted egg was older than that because at that time, we were getting very few eggs a day so it took a while for me to fill a whole carton of twelve eggs.) I cracked that egg into a separate bowl this morning and found it to be A-OK so I used it in a baked egg dish.
Of the many dozen eggs I stockpiled this winter, I still have two dozen "old" ones to use. I have no fear of using them, especially after I run them through the float test. Out of all the eggs I saved and have been using in the past couple of months, I had only one that floated to the top of the water. I cracked it open, and although it looked and smelled fine, I chose not to use it. Granddog Tucker was happy to have it as a mid-morning snack.
My method of storing eggs certainly wouldn't be as good a method as dehydrating or freezing for a long, long length of time. But it works for me for the period our hens go into their molt and quit laying during the darkest days of winter. I think the thing is if you take proper care of your eggs right away when they come from the chickens, they will store very well in a refrigerated temperature for a couple of months . . . or even a smidge longer.
End of the Month Roundup--July
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