How To Preserve Farm Fresh Eggs For Years By Water-Glassing

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Preserving food has been a fundamental practice for centuries, and eggs are no exception. One of the oldest methods for preserving eggs is water glassing, a process that involves submerging eggs in a solution of lime and water. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history and benefits of water glassing eggs, the different options for lime, and provide detailed instructions for how to water glass eggs at home.

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History of Water Glassing Eggs

Water glassing has been used to preserve food for thousands of years. The process involves treating food with an alkaline substance, which raises the pH level and creates an environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria. Water glassing is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt, where eggs were preserved in a solution of slaked lime.

The practice of water glassing eggs became more widespread in the 19th century when commercial producers used sodium silicate to preserve eggs for shipment. The method became popular in rural areas where refrigeration was not available or expensive. Today, water glassing eggs remains a practical and cost-effective way to preserve eggs for extended periods.

Why Water Glass Eggs?

There are several reasons why someone might want to water glass eggs. The most widespread reason is longevity. Water glassing can extend the shelf life of eggs for up to nine months or more. This reason is why water glassing has yet again become popular amongst homesteaders and preppers, as it ensures food security and self sufficiency.
Water glassing is especially popular amongst chicken keepers and those that prefer farm fresh over commercial eggs. A majority of chickens naturally stop or severely slow down in egg production during the winter months when the daylight hours have shortened. However, once they begin receiving adequate daylight hours again, typically between the winter solstice and spring equinox, egg production picks up and many chicken keepers find themselves overloaded in the egg department. Water glassing the abundance can help ensure that farm fresh eggs are available during the winter months and prevent you from having to rely on the store when the chickens start free-loading.

Water glassing eggs is an extremely cost-effective and readily available way to preserve eggs. Besides the cost of the eggs, either with chicken keeping or purchasing fresh from a local farm, the only added cost is the vessel to store them in (most people reuse glass jars such as gallon pickle jars) and the cost of the lime, which can actually be pretty inexpensive. Water glassing doesn’t require any special equipment or resources, and the ingredients are easy to find at most hardware or home goods stores.

Types of Lime for Water Glassing Eggs

There a few different options when it comes to the type of solution used in water glassing eggs. Sodium silicate, which is available in liquid or powdered form, and calcium hydroxide (hydrated or slaked lime) are the two most common materials used in the process.

Sodium silicate, also known as water glass, is a clear, odorless, and tasteless liquid that is made by mixing sodium carbonate and silicon dioxide. When it is mixed with water, it forms a gel-like substance that can be used to coat eggs. The coating of sodium silicate seals the pores of the eggshell, preventing oxygen from entering and keeping the egg fresh for a longer period of time.

Calcium hydroxide, also known as slaked lime or hydrated lime, is a white powder that is made by adding water to calcium oxide. When calcium hydroxide is added to water, it forms a solution that is alkaline. The alkaline solution can be used to coat eggs, creating a protective layer that helps to preserve them. Pickling lime is a type of calcium hydroxide that many people use to water glass their eggs. However, this solution is going to run the cost up compared to a large bag of hydrated lime found at the local hardware store.

One of the main differences between sodium silicate and calcium hydroxide is that sodium silicate is a liquid, while calcium hydroxide is a powder. Sodium silicate is also easier to mix with water than calcium hydroxide, which can be more difficult to dissolve. Another difference is the pH level of the solutions created with each material. Sodium silicate solutions are alkaline, with a pH of around 11-12, while calcium hydroxide solutions are highly alkaline, with a pH of around 12-13. A higher pH is ideal to prevent unwanted bacterial growth, which means that calcium hydroxide can be more effective at preserving eggs for longer periods of time.

How to Water Glass Eggs

Water glassing eggs is a straightforward process that can be done in a few simple steps. Here’s how to do it:

Materials:

amazon link for glass gallon jugs
  • A large, non-reactive container with a tight-fitting lid
  • Water glass solution (sodium silicate or calcium hydroxide)
  • Water
  • Eggs (clean(yet unwashed), uncracked, with bloom intact)

Instructions:

  1. Select fresh, clean eggs that are free of cracks or other damage.
  2. Prepare the solution of sodium silicate or calcium hydroxide according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If using calcium hydroxide, mix it with water until it forms a milky solution.
  3. Place the eggs in a clean, sterile container such as a crock or glass jar.
  4. Pour the solution over the eggs until they are completely covered, making sure to leave at least one inch of headspace at the top of the container.
  5. Cover the container with a lid or other airtight seal.
  6. Store the container in a cool, dark place such as a basement or root cellar. The eggs will need to be kept at a temperature between 40-60°F (4-16°C).
  7. Check the eggs periodically to ensure that they are still covered with the solution. If necessary, add more solution to cover the eggs.
  8. When ready to use the eggs, remove them from the solution and rinse them thoroughly with water.

Water Glassing Eggs

Water glassing eggs is a process that involves coating eggs with a solution of sodium silicate or calcium hydroxide in order to preserve them for an extended period of time without refrigeration.
Prep Time5 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: egg, eggs, food preservation, water glass
Author: Wild N Free Farms

Equipment

  • 1 Glass Jar w/ a Tight Fitting Lid 1 gallon

Materials

  • 1 Quart Filtered Water
  • 1 Oz Hydrated or pickling lime
  • Eggs

Instructions

  • Select fresh, clean eggs that are free of cracks or other damage. Place the eggs in a clean jar.
  • Prepare enough lime and water solution to completely cover the amount of eggs you are glassing. Be sure to follow the 1:1 ratio for quarts of water and oz of lime. Mix well to dissolve the lime.
  • Pour the solution over the eggs until they are completely covered,
  • Cover the container with a lid or other airtight seal.
  • Store the container in a cool, dark place such as a basement or root cellar. Maintain temps between 40-60°F (4-16°C).
  • Check the eggs periodically to ensure that they are still covered with the solution. If necessary, add more solution to cover the eggs and remove any cracked eggs immediately.
  • When ready to use the eggs, remove them from the solution and rinse them thoroughly with water.

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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