Waterglassing Eggs: Enjoy eggs year round! Here is how to water glass your extra eggs through the spring, summer, and fall so you'll have nearly fresh eggs to eat all year long.
One of the main reasons to keep chickens is the abundance of ultra farm-fresh, brightly yolked eggs. There is just one little glitch to this terrific plan of keeping chickens for their eggs: They go "on strike" for a month or so every year while they molt, leaving you with almost no eggs for up to two months of the year.
Pictured at Right: Four large glass jars of water glassed eggs. Most of these are American Bresse eggs. The photo was taken in January and the eggs are still very fresh after 6-8 months.
Hens typically and happily lay eggs in late winter, spring, summer, and into the fall months. As the daylight hours shorten and the temperatures drop, egg production also drops significantly. For around 4-6 weeks, hens lay an egg only occasionally as they molt and then rebuild their bodies in preparation for another year of regular egg-laying.
This means that the chicken keeper has an abundance of eggs for much of the year, and then ALMOST ZERO eggs for a month or so during winter.
Preparing in advance by water glassing the excess eggs is a perfect solution to the time of lack, because waterglassing eggs keeps them fresh for up to a year or more.
Egg preservation using waterglassing can be done by using either of two methods:
My favorite method of waterglassing eggs is to use a solution of hydrated lime. Here's how to water glass eggs using hydrated lime:
Make Your Waterglass Solution:
Gather Your Clean Glass (or Food-Grade Plastic) Covered Containers:
Gather Your Eggs:
Place Your Eggs in the Waterglass Solution:
Cover the glass jar or container:
When you're ready to remove and use the waterglassed eggs:
An alternate method of waterglassing eggs is using sodium silicate, also known as water glass. This is actually the original method and is how waterglassing eggs got its name.
Sodium silicate is also called "liquid glass," because it desiccates into very hard sheets of glass. Sodium silicate can preserve eggs for remarkably long periods of time, and by the same principles as does hydrated lime. The very fine sodium silicate particulates in waterglass seal all the pores in the egg's shell, greatly slowing down degradation and spoilage for up to one year or possibly longer.
Sodium silicate is a viscous solution which is used for many purposes beyond just waterglassing eggs. The Science Notes website provides an overview on sodium silicate and its uses, and also gives instructions for making your own waterglass solution. It also includes a how-to video, which we have embedded below:
Yes, you can make your own sodium silicate or water glass. BUT: You can also purchase it, which greatly simplifies the process of waterglassing eggs.
Obtain sodium silicate in powder form or in liquid form. Whatever form you obtain, you will mix it with purified or filtered water in a prescribed ratio, specified below with the product links. This will become your water glass solution.
Follow the directions for waterglassing with hydrated lime above, as the process is identical, though the solution is different.
NOTE: Eggs must be fresh, completely clean, and UNWASHED.
There are many brands and types of sodium silicate available for purchase. These brands were reasonably priced and will work well for waterglassing eggs.
In case you were interested, here is a fascinating video outlining the many uses of waterglass:
Amazingly, there are very few drawbacks to waterglassing eggs! The drawbacks are mostly cosmetic, because in my experience, they taste great!
Pictured below are hard boiled waterglassed eggs that are 7 months old. The yolks had drifted to the edges and the shells had cracked during boiling. They were also difficult to peel, as though they were fresh. (Makes for some rather ugly - though tasty - devilled eggs!)
What is Waterglass for Eggs?
This refers to either of the two solutions that can be used for longer-term preservation of eggs. Technically, "water glass" is a sodium silicate solution, but the term is used interchangeably for both sodium silicate and hydrated lime, since the two methods of waterglassing eggs do exactly the same thing - they seal the egg shell pores, resulting in the ability to store eggs long term.
Is water glassing eggs safe?
Yes, waterglassing eggs is a generally safe and reliable method for storing eggs. They are safe to eat even when they have been waterglassed for months or longer.
But if you are in doubt, do the egg float test! The YourHobbyFarm.com website has a very good picture of how the egg float test works.
Place the eggs in a glass of water. if they sink to the bottom, they are safe. If they float, they are spoiled; throw them out.
Pictured here: the egg float test. One egg has been water glassed, and the other had been laid within the last few hours. Both passed the egg float test with flying colors - by resting flatly at the bottom of the jar.
Can you water glass eggs in a plastic container?
Yes, waterglassing eggs in a plastic container is safe when the container is food-grade, such as House Naturals. Many sizes and brands of food-grade containers are available. They are marked "food grade" or BPE-Free. A 1-gallon pail is a great size for waterglassing eggs.
Is pickling lime the same as hydrated lime?
Yes. Pickling lime is:
All these terms are interchangeable.
Is storing eggs in lime water safe?
Yes, it is safe. Follow the directions on this page, do not try to store the eggs for too many months or years, and test the eggs with the egg float water test when you remove them from the waterglassing solution, especially if they have been stored longer than 6 months. Note that on this page, we use the term, hydrated lime instead of lime water. It's the same thing.
How do you use water glassed eggs?
You can use them in any fashion you like, if it doesn't require a beautiful presentation of the egg itself. For example, they do great in baking or in recipes calling for eggs as an ingredient.
In the same vein, you can scramble them, or make egg salad for sandwiches.
If you insist, go ahead and hard-boil them. Or prepare a plate of devilled eggs! They'll be delicious, but not at all pretty. (If you don't care and your friends don't care, I certainly won't care either!)
In addition to waterglassing eggs, here are a few other ways to preserve your surplus eggs:
We'll elaborate on these other methods of egg preservation soon!
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