“Water glassing? What the heck is that?” That is what I said to myself when I first heard it. I had no idea what it was, but I knew I needed to learn. Did you know you can preserve eggs for months, like anywhere from 6-18 months!? I had NO clue, and that is probably because these 19th-century methods of preserving food seem to have almost disappeared over the years. Now that we have more and more people starting their own homesteads, I think more of these old-time methods are starting to resurface. So stick with me here, and I will help you learn how to preserve eggs by water glassing them.
Why water glass eggs?
Did you know most chickens stop laying over the colder months? So if you are raising your own chickens to have access to fresh eggs, you might want to think about saving some of those eggs for the colder months when your chickens start slowing down and even stopping their production. This is a great way to ensure you have those farm-fresh eggs year-round. I would recommend water glassing during your chicken’s peek laying months when you are getting more eggs a day than you are consuming.
What kind of eggs can I water glass?
This process only works on fresh, unwashed, yet clean eggs. This is not a process that can be done on eggs that you buy at the store or even sometimes at your local farm stand. In order for this method to work, the eggs need to be clean and free of any bedding and poop BUT unwashed. When you wash eggs, it removes the natural bloom or cuticle that is applied by the hen right before she lays the egg. This protective bloom seals the pores and keeps out bacteria while also helping to prevent moisture loss from the egg. So before using this method to preserve eggs, make sure you are using unwashed eggs.
What supplies do I need?
This method is super easy and only takes a few supplies. You might even have some of this laying around the house. You will need eggs, of course. Make sure they are free from bedding or poop and unwashed. You will need filtered drinking water. If you have well water, I would make sure you filter the water or buy a gallon jug of drinking water. To store the eggs, you will need a large container. Anything will work as long as it is big enough to hold the eggs and water solution and has a top to seal as much moisture in as possible. Lastly, you will need Pickling Lime, also known as Hydrated Lime, and a kitchen scale to measure ounces.
Are you ready to water glass some eggs?
Now that you have all your items let’s get started preserving those eggs. You want to measure out an ounce of pickling lime for every quart of water you use. It all depends on the size of your container on how you want to proceed. I have done this a couple of different ways, and there is no right or wrong way as long as the eggs get covered in the solution and air bubbles are not present.
If your container is quite large (over a gallon), you will want to add water to your container first and then mix in the pickling lime. Only fill your container less than half full (you can always add more) of liquid before adding eggs. If you have a smaller container (gallon or smaller), I would recommend adding your eggs first, mixing your solution in a separate bowl, and adding in your solution at the end. Be sure you take your time and mix the pickling lime in good, giving it plenty of time to dissolve as much as possible. It will settle the longer it sits, but you want to start out with a nice even mixture to coat the eggs.
How to preserve eggs by water glassing.
Once you have your eggs and solution in your container, be sure all eggs are covered or submerged in the solution. You want enough headspace that even if a little evaporates, your eggs will not be exposed. Seal your container as tightly as possible. If you used a smaller container (gallon or smaller) and put the eggs in before the lime solution, you want to be sure to release any air bubbles. I do this by gently rocking the container back and forth until all air bubbles release to the surface. Now would be a good time to label and date your eggs so you can keep track of how long you store them. I have heard 6-12 months, but others say they have successfully stored eggs by water glassing up to 18 months, and they were still good. Be sure to store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for best results.
Once you are ready to pull some eggs out to use, grab what you need. Be sure to wash them VERY well and get all the lime off the eggs before using them. If you get that lime in the egg when cracking it, you can easily ruin your eggs. Shells might not be as hard as if they were fresh, but the yolk should still be intake, and the taste should be as though it was laid that day.
I am so excited for you to try this method of preservation and bring back the olden days. Be sure to share how to preserve eggs by water glassing with all your homesteading friends so we all can get back to our roots and live sustainably.