Long Term Preservation of Eggs

Preserving Eggs for the Long Term

Mar 5th, 2012
By Hanne Moon

If you have been watching National Geographic’s Doomsday Prepper series, you’ve probably seen a few ideas that you wanted to try to implement in your own storage preparations. At least a show or two got you wondering about the feasibility of some of the stuff these preppers are doing. One thing that piqued my interest was from the episode that showed the woman oiling her eggs in order to preserve them for long-term storage.

I found myself frowning… was it really that easy to keep an egg fresh for months at a time? If so, why weren’t these well-oiled gems sitting on the grocery store shelves instead of crated up in the refrigerator section? I decided to do a little more research into this subject, so I turned to the one person I consider the quintessential expert on chickens and their products, Gail Damerow.

No, I didn’t get a chance to interview her. (That would be a homesteader’s dream come true!) However, I did the next best thing—I pulled out her book Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens in order to gather the information I needed for this article.

And am I glad I did.

Chickens are the hottest new backyard pet and with this new guide for beginners you’ll be a pro in no time…

While I discovered that oiling is a perfectly acceptable way to extend the shelf life of eggs, I also found out that you can’t just take any old egg, slap some mineral oil on it, and call it preserved. There’s a selection process and strict time frame that you have to work around.

Eggs can be stored for up to two to three months at temperatures no higher than 55°F without doing anything to them. However, the humidity needs to be close to 75%. This is an important factor in successful egg storage. If humidity levels are too low, the eggs will dry out. If they are too high, the eggs will get moldy. You want clean, uncracked eggs. If you have to clean an egg before storing it, then put it in the freezer, throw it in the frig for breakfast, or make some deviled eggs with it. The point is, use it elsewhere. Anytime you wash or dry buff an egg, you are removing a protective outer coating which in turn allows bacteria to more easily enter the egg.

What coating the egg with oil does is it seals the shell to prevent evaporation during storage. The eggs you’re going to store this way should be oiled 24 hours after being laid. (This will immediately put store-bought eggs out of the running.) In a clean, closed carton that is located in a cool, dry place, eggs dipped in oil will keep for several months. They will, however, eventually develop an off-flavor, and this off-flavor is especially pronounced in eggs stored at 34°F for more than four months. By the time you hit the six-month mark, the flavor is usually unacceptable to most people.

If you’re able to have fresh eggs at your house day in and day out from some pretty prolific layers, or because you have a neighbor who gives you fresh eggs each day, or if you’re able to obtain fresh eggs from a farmer’s market, then this method may be for you. Regardless, the knowledge alone will be a great help if and when the worst were to happen.

To properly oil your eggs, they must be at room temperature (50 to 70 degrees F) and they must be dry. Make sure your oil is free of bacteria and mold by heating it 180°F for about 20 minutes. Then, with tongs or a slotted spoon, dip the eggs one at the time into the oil. Set them aside on a rack such as is used in candy making and let them drain for about 30 minutes. Pack them away in clean, dry cartons.

The only drawback to storing your eggs in this manner is that once eggs have been oiled, they’re no longer useful for cake making. The oiling interferes with the foaming properties of the egg whites, so they no longer whip up as well as fresh ones do.

So, while this episode of Doomsday Preppers showed a viable method of preserving eggs, they foolishly chose a shortened version to pass along to the audience, one which could easily have made someone ill had they followed the haphazard advice. Safe food handling practices are something everyone should cultivate.

Especially preppers.

One comment

  • Doomsday Preparation – Storing Eggs 9 Months

    Posted by: admin on February 9, 2012 Under: Articles |

    On an episode of Doomsday Preppers one of the items that caught my attention was when Kellene Bishop was talking about being able to store eggs for as long as 9 to 12 months.

    As a prepper you should always be on the lookout for tips on how to preserve food for the longest possible time. One item that isn’t all the easiest to keep in your emergency supply is fresh eggs. Even in a refrigerator they don’t last all that long. With this tip you will be able to safely store eggs up to 9 months or more without compromising your safety.

    It only seems logical that we should be able to do this as in most foreign countries you see eggs unrefrigerated all the time. It’s only here in America and other countries do you see eggs refrigerated. This is because when a chicken lays an egg there is a natural coating called the bloom that protects the egg.

    As part of your emergency preparations you can basically mimic mother nature by using mineral oil to protect the eggs from oxygen which will eventually lead to rotting.

    The best way to preserve eggs for a long period of time is to use mineral oil to protect the eggs.
    Here is how to store your eggs for 9 to 12 months.

    Take mineral oil and heat it up for about 10 seconds or so in a microwave. Take all of the eggs out of the container. You’ll want to do this because if you don’t once your hands are covered in mineral oil it will be hard to get them out.

    Put on some food handling handling gloves or if need be medical gloves. Coat each egg thoroughly. Then put the egg back in the carton with the pointed side down.

    Now you need to store the eggs in a temperature below around 68 degrees and you should be able to store eggs for a longer duration. You will want to rotate the eggs every month or so. You could set a reminder on a calendar or phone. Just gently turn the case over so the top becomes the bottom and the bottom of the egg container is on the top. This will help preserve the integrity of the yolk.

    You won’t need to worry about knowing if the egg has gone bad, just use your nose, if it smells bad don’t eat it and get rid of it.

    Thanks to Kellene Bishop sharing this great tip on Doomsday Preppers. Tips like this will help us all be more prepared for emergency situations.
    Another tip from Kellene Bishop is using cheese wax to preserve Cheese

    Using this method to store cheese for a longer amount of time is fairly simple. There are a lot of articles on preserving cheese but you may not know buy cheese wax. The previous link will help with that.

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