I don’t know about you, but on our homestead, egg season starts early some years. The chickens begin their heavy spring laying in February and keep going strong. With a yard full of industrious chickens and ducks, we’re quickly drowning in eggs!
If you’re in a similar situation, you may be getting sick of scrambled eggs for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and quiche for dinner. At this point, my kids would rather eat oatmeal than eggs for breakfast, so I have to get creative.
The overabundance of eggs is a yearly struggle and one we’re fortunate to have. We have a pile of recipes, preservation methods, and other ideas to use our extra eggs in our homesteading notebook. Hopefully, a few of them will inspire you as well.
Setting eggs by for long-term storage has been a part of homesteading life since the domestication of chickens. But most of us in the modern world have forgotten our ancestors’ preservation tricks.
I’m still gathering up that wisdom, but here are a few techniques I’ve learned to preserve those extra eggs:
1. Pickled Eggs
We love pickled eggs! Submerging peeled, hard-boiled eggs in vinegar and spices is an amazing way to store your eggs for a few months.
While the FDA discourages home canners from processing their pickled eggs for long-term storage, even un-canned ones can last in the refrigerator (or a cool, dry place) for a few months. We have a big batch of turmeric-pickled eggs that has lasted for months.
2. Water Glass Eggs
This fascinating long-term way of storing raw eggs is a traditional way to ensure you have plenty of eggs to cook in January. These are raw eggs, still in the shell, submerged in a water solution and pickling lime.
Only unwashed, freshly laid eggs are eligible for water glassing, but once “glassed,” these eggs can last 12-18 months on a pantry shelf. Then, late in the winter, when egg production is low or non-existent, you’ll have healthy, home-laid eggs to eat and bake with.
3. Freezing Eggs
You can freeze eggs for wintertime baking as well. These eggs work well in recipes but are less desirable as omelets or other recipes where eggs take the forefront. Crack the eggs into an ice-cube tray or muffin tin to keep each egg distinct.
Then, add a little salt (about one-eighth teaspoon) to help preserve the texture of the egg. Whisk each egg gently and then freeze them in the muffin tray. When the eggs are frozen, you can pop them out of the tin and store them in the freezer.
Make sure to pull out a frozen egg a few hours ahead of cooking with it to allow the egg to thaw slowly before you use it.
4. Oiled Eggs
Coat fresh, clean-shelled eggs in mineral oil for long-term storage. The mineral oil seals the shell’s pores to create an airtight seal, just as the lime water does in water glassing.
Oiled eggs have to stay in the refrigerator and don’t last as long as water-glassed eggs. They also aren’t suitable for cake making. Apparently, something in the oil damages the egg’s ability to whip well.
5. Smoked Eggs
Smoked eggs don’t last much longer than other hard-boiled eggs. But they will change the flavor of your hard-boiled egg dishes. Smoking hard-boiled eggs gives them a lovely, smokey flavor. You can even smoke raw eggs, though they will get a hard-boiled texture as they cook.
While they don’t last much longer than other hard-boiled eggs (about a week in the fridge), trying new things with your eggs is fun.
6. Freeze-Dried Eggs
I don’t own a freeze-drying machine, but if you do, you can successfully freeze-dry raw and cooked eggs. While the FDA recommends against dehydrating raw eggs in a conventional dehydrator or oven, freeze-drying will work successfully on raw eggs.
Once you freeze dry eggs, you can store them long-term as powdered eggs in baking. They aren’t particularly good in egg-forward dishes, but they are useful in baking.
7. Century Eggs
I have never tried this traditional Chinese method of egg preservation. But you may be more daring than I am. If so, give it a try. Century eggs are cured, raw, in lime, brewed tea, ashes, and salt for up to 5 months.
The eggs change color – turning blue, green, and brown as they age. They have a strong aroma and a strangely jelly-like texture. They’re considered a delicacy by people brave enough to try them.
They taste a bit like ripe blue cheese with a hint of ammonia and a creamy texture. Hey, you’ve got extra eggs, right? Might as well try it.
Maybe you’re just hoping to find new and exciting ways to cook extra eggs this summer. New egg recipes are always welcome at our house. After all, you can only preserve so many eggs.
You’re probably used to quiches and omelets, but have you tried frittatas? This baked egg dish is loaded with potatoes and cheese. Add spicy jalapenos, poblanos, and bacon to your frittata and serve it alongside a dish of hearty chipotle and pineapple beans and rice.
It sounds daunting, but you have extra eggs, so experiment a bit. Souffles are stunning and full of flavor. The eggs act primarily as lifting agents, so if you’re sick of the flavor of cooked eggs, a souffle is the ideal option.
I love making strata to share. When I have a lot of leftover bread and too many eggs to count, strata is guaranteed to be on the menu. This baked egg dish depends on chunks of dry bread, eggs, and cheese. I like making mine with plenty of ham, leeks, garlic, and fresh herbs.
11. Deviled Eggs
If you’re going to a potluck, make a huge plate of deviled eggs. They’re perfect for brunch and fun to serve alongside bloody marys or avocado toasts. But deviled eggs are equally at home in the evening – set up a tray alongside martinis before a dinner party.
Lemon, lime, and even rhubarb curd are smooth, creamy preserves that combine fruit (usually citrus) juices, sugar, and eggs to make a sunny, summery treat. Curds can be canned and stored for months. They don’t last as long as jams and jellies on the shelf, but they will last for a few months when water-bath canned.
Then, when egg season is waning, you can pull out a jar of lime curd and spread it over toast or spoon in on top of ice cream.
Depending on the recipe, a good babka can use anywhere from 6-24 eggs. Yes, I did say 24 eggs. In one cake. Amazing, isn’t it? Babka cakes are a traditional, Slavic, yeasted cake. They’re often baked with brandy, whiskey, or rum and studded with dried fruit.
Try mixing up a babka or another cake recipe that requires a large number of eggs.
These recipes are often a bit challenging, but they’re a real treat done well. There is nothing like them in the local grocery store cake aisle. These recipes were developed by people with extra eggs – like you!
This beautiful, meringue-based dessert is perfect for summery celebrations in the garden. Pavlovas are essentially egg whites, sugar, and lemon. They can include chocolate, vanilla, mint, or even powdered nettles.
Once baked, they’re often topped with berries and cream, curds, or marmalades.
Sending Eggs Out the Door
Sometimes you need to get those extra eggs out of the house. Maybe you’ve preserved enough and cooked too many; the rest need to be cleared out to make room for tomorrow’s abundance.
15. Sell Them
Check your local laws and regulations, but if you can, get a bunch of old egg cartons and offer a few dozen eggs for sale to friends and neighbors. If you have laying ducks, geese, quail, or guinea hens, you can also sell those eggs.
Pricing can be tricky, but look at what other backyard eggs are selling for in your neighborhood. Duck eggs are usually more expensive, and goose eggs are even more pricey.
16. Pig Food
Any eggs that are a little too old to sell are still great for your pigs. If you (or a friend) is raising a couple of hogs, give them your older eggs. Those of us with a few hungry pigs are always thrilled to offset the feed bill a bit with the generous donation of older eggs.
17. Give Away
Don’t forget your neighbors who might be struggling with ever-increasing food prices. You may have an elderly neighbor or a struggling family nearby who would be so grateful for the gift of a dozen extra eggs.
Check out your local church or community center. They may have a food bank that would welcome farm-fresh eggs. Use your abundance to help your neighbors stay afloat financially in a world that often feels harsh and isolating.
Gifting eggs is one of the biggest joys of having a backyard flock – offering such a simple, sustaining form of hospitality to your community is thrilling.