How to Preserve Raw Eggs in Grease and Salt: An Illustrated Guide
Results of a Well-Maintained Flock of Laying Poultry
What Can Salted-Down Eggs Be Used For?
Anyone who raises laying hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, or other fowl knows that it is easy to have a surplus of eggs at certain seasons of the year. A hen will often lay one egg a day during her peak periods, and, depending on the size of your flock, this can mean more eggs than even a large family can use, sell, barter, or give away.
What to do? Why not store some eggs for future use?
There are several ways to do this, including freezing (scrambled, or separated into yolks and whites). But if you don't have freezer room to devote to eggs, or don't wish to deal with frozen eggs, this can be frustrating.
The method I will show you uses a grease, such as shortening or lard, and large quantities of salt (rock salt works fine). Eggs stored with this method will keep well for at least six months...though they may not break like fresh eggs, and are better used for scrambled dishes, omelettes, or baking.
When to Store Eggs?
Egg production depends on several factors, including how much sunlight the days have. More sunlight means more eggs. Egg production usually drops during short, dark days, and when the birds are under any stress, such as molting, or during extreme cold.
In the northern hemisphere, spring is usually the peak egg laying season. You will want to begin storing eggs during this "heavy" time. The idea is to have enough eggs to last through the "lean" period, during the fall and winter. Eggs stored in salt and grease will keep easily for five or six months.
We have used stored eggs which were up to eleven months old, and while they were still OK to use, they were far inferior to fresh eggs, as the yolks had dried out somewhat, and salt had leached through the shells, making them taste excessively salty.
What You Will Need to Store Eggs in Grease and Salt
- Foam coolers, or other boxes which will help hold a cool (not cold) temperature and even, somewhat humid condition
- Rock salt
- Grease - shortening or lard
- Fresh eggs
- A cellar, basement, or other cool place to store the eggs
How to Store Fresh Eggs
How to Use Stored Eggs
The only difference between using stored eggs and fresh eggs is that fresh eggs shouldn't be very slippery.
Dig out a cartonful at a time, or just as many as you need. If you like, wash off the grease and salt. Always break the eggs into a small dish, one at a time, before adding each to your recipe. This way, if any egg has gone bad, has more than a speck of blood from possible fertilization, or is otherwise undesirable, you'll know it and will not run the risk of ruining your recipe.
The eggs will dry up somewhat over the course of months. This does not harm the eggs, and shouldn't harm you either, but it can affect their performance in cooking. Usually, even somewhat dried eggs can be mixed into pancakes or other baked goods, or be used in scrambled eggs. If you don't wish to use these eggs, see if your pets like them.
After six or more months, you may notice a sharp decline in the quality of your stored eggs. Stored under good conditions, they shouldn't go technically bad, but may be excessively salty or dried out, and the whites may appear watery and thin. Hopefully by this time, sunlight and warm weather will have returned in sufficient quantities to make your hens want to lay fresh eggs.