Refrigerators have only been around for about 80 years, so how did we keep eggs preserved prior to that? A very simple and effective method, water glassing eggs, has been around for generations. Today, I want to show you how to use this vintage method “Water Glassing Eggs: Preserving Eggs Long-Term”!
Water Glassing in History
The water glassing of eggs has been in use since the 1800’s. It was made popular by a Fannie Farmer cookbook entitled “The Boston Cooking School Cookbook”, where the recipe was printed.
Can You Water Glass Store-Bought Eggs?
The preservation method of water glassing can only be used with clean (meaning free from debris, egg remnants or dirt) farm-fresh eggs.
The reason for this is that store-bought eggs have been washed, bleached and are almost 2 weeks old by the time you purchase them at the store.
Farm-fresh eggs are a completely different ‘bird’…(pun intended).
Farm-fresh eggs still have the “cuticle” or the “bloom” intact. The “bloom” is an invisible, anti-bacterial film on the egg, which keeps the egg fresh. Once that is removed, through washing, the egg becomes very porous and begins to deteriorate immediately.
The absence of the bloom will also allow the lime mixture to be absorbed into the egg, which is inedible.
Depending upon the number of eggs you want to water glass, you may want to use 1/2 mason jars or you can use 5-gallon buckets.
Whatever vessel you use, make sure it’s very clean!
You will need:
- Clean farm fresh eggs that are unwashed (store eggs won’t work)
- Very clean 5-gallon bucket with lid or large mason jar
- 8 oz. pickling lime
- Filtered, distilled or water that has been boiled and cooled (Don’t Skimp on This!)
The pickling lime is pretty easy to find, anywhere that carries canning supplies should have it.
What is the Water Glassing/ Lime Ratio?
The ratio of one quart of water to one ounce of lime is the accepted way of water glassing.
How to Water Glass Eggs
Again, you’re going to need farm fresh eggs, not store-bought ones.
Scrub your 5-gallon bucket and lid with hot, soapy water! Clean, clean, clean!!
Use only your cleanest farm-fresh eggs for water glassing.
Fill your very clean bucket with 8 quarts of distilled, RO or filtered water.
Add 8 oz. of the pickling lime and stir. Avoid inhaling!
Then, slowly place your “clean” eggs in the solution.
I used one dry hand to grab the eggs and then placed them in the other wet hand to lower into the solution. Be very gentle during this process, as if you crack an egg, the entire batch will be ruined.
Date your bucket and keep your bucket covered!
I’m not sure how many eggs you can get in a 5-gallon bucket, but my guess would be 6-7 dozen.
As fast as our eggs are coming in, I might fill 2-3 buckets.
Where Should I Store the Bucket?
Think about the best place to store food: a cool, dry and dark place.
If you have a cool place in your home, like a basement or lower level, put your egg bucket there.
Avoid light as much as possible. I happen to have a lower-level laundry room that is always a bit on the cool side.
Water Glassing Eggs Safety
Is it safe to water glass eggs?
Absolutely! This method has been used for many generations! Stick with the recommendations and water glassing will serve you well!
Using Water Glassed Eggs
First, RINSE them off! You don’t want to consume the lime!
The shells of your water-glassed eggs will be a bit more fragile than a regular egg. Therefore, do not try to boil your eggs, the shell will not hold up.
However, you can prepare them just about any other way: fried, scrambled or use for baking.
How Long do Water Glass Eggs Last?
Some reports say that the eggs will keep for up to a year, others say 2 years.
Frankly, due to constant egg consumption in my home, I’ve never tested this past 9 months.
After 4+ months, here’s a picture of the eggs I pulled out from the very bottom of my bucket (the first ones I put in), and the picture of what they looked like when I cracked open. The yolk and the white were firm and looked great!
These water glassed eggs are 7 months old. I just rinsed them off and put them in this basket.
This is an egg from that basket, look how well the yolk has held together! Perfect for eating or baking with.
Water glassing will serve you well, especially during those times when your hens are laying faster than you can eat them!
Put this old-fashioned, egg preservation method to work on your homestead!