Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saving Eggs

I've mentioned before that we got four older laying hens this past spring. They still turn out eggs like champs, despite the summer heat and their ages. I get more than enough eggs for us to eat. So I sell a dozen now and then to friends or family. Even so, I can still end up with surplus eggs on my hands. So, knowing that we're going to cash in these hens this winter, I've started preserving some eggs.

The classic reference for preserving all kinds of food, Stocking Up, gives very simple instructions on freezing eggs. Just add 1 teaspoon of table salt for every cup of eggs and beat them really well. After that, I use my ice cube tray trick, ladling the salted beaten egg into the ice cube trays and freezing them. Oh, but before I do that, I spray the tray with baking spray oil. That helps the eggs come out of the tray more easily when they're frozen. Each compartment of the tray happens to hold two tablespoons, which is equivalent to half an extra-large egg. So for any recipe that calls for an egg, I can just use two frozen cubes. Removed from the trays, these eggs will keep for up to six months in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

I probably won't be using these for scrambled eggs. But I will use them up in my baking projects, which always pick up in the wintertime. It's nice to run the oven then, and it's not self-defeating to warm up the house a bit. I like to stock my freezer full of a variety of breakfast muffins over the winter. And I'm planning to learn how to make panettone later this year too (with a view towards holiday decadence as well as gift-giving), so the stored eggs will come in very handy.

I know we're going to miss the fresh eggs when the girls stop laying. It will be very galling to have to go to the store and actually buy eggs. Having a supply of our home produced eggs for baking will take some of the sting out of it for us, I hope.

Of course, I could also store away some prepared foods that include eggs. I may well get around to making some quiche to freeze. Another possibility for when our potatoes finally come in is to make gnocchi with egg and then freeze the gnocchi. The gnocchi would store longer than the quiche, which should only be kept for a couple of months. But gnocchi are quite labor intensive to produce, so I'll have to see what other chores are on the horizon when the potatoes are ready for harvest.

In any case, now that I know the frozen egg trick, I'll never leave eggs in the refrigerator before setting off on a longish trip.


Anonymous said...

I never knew you could freeze eggs! Thanks for the hint!

Kate said...

You're quite welcome, Claire. You can also substitute an equal amount of honey for the salt. But you need one or the other to protect the texture of the eggs during the freeze. I think it does something to the proteins.

Happy stocking up!

marci357 said...

I knew you could freeze them, but hadn't heard about the salt or honey. Will try it. Thanks!