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By Kellene Bishop
As I’ve been writing and researching recipes for my Emergency Preparedness cookbook, I’ve had an aversion to using any of my recipes which include an egg except for baking recipes. While you can use the old egg-substitute concoction of gelatin*, or dry packed eggs, these alternatives are really only good for baking. Dog gone it. I KNOW that I’m going to crave real eggs in the midst of a crisis. So I wanted to figure out a way to preserve fresh eggs for me and my family.
(*Note: Egg substitute for use in baking—Before starting a recipe for cookies, cake, etc, combine 1 tsp. of unflavored gelatin with 3 tbsp. of cold water and 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. of boiling water. This mixture will substitute for 1 egg in a baking recipe.)
Recently I noticed a solid movement of urban communities demanding that their city allow them to raise chickens on their lot for the purpose of having access to fresh eggs. In fact there’s even an organization formed online that is booming with hundreds of thousands of members specifically to promote this cause. (www.urbanchickens.org) Personally, I think that a city that would discourage independence of its citizens by forbidding a couple of backyard chickens is an enemy of freedom, but that’s just me. However, recently a neighboring town just approved a few backyard chickens for residences, and my city is pushing for the same. So I have hope that I will be raising a couple of chickens in my backyard soon. (I never would have even entertained such a thought a few years ago. I’m a far cry from a farmer or even a tomboy. It’s obvious that I have come a long way in my journey of embracing of the idea that I really DO need to be prepared and as independent as possible. So there’s hope for the rest of you. *wink*)
OK. So if I can raise the chicken, what good is it if I can’t consume the eggs everyday? At some point I’ve got to find a way to preserve the eggs without poisoning my family, right? I’m quite certain that families in “the olden days” had ways of doing so. So off I went on a mission to discover exactly how this was done. I’m excited with the information I found and thought I’d pass it on to you.
Here are the basics of preserving eggs:
- Be sure to use only fresh eggs. If any decomposition occurs, you will be unsuccessful. Also exposure to extreme heat or cold will hinder your preservation process.
You can use an oil as well, but the oil can go rancid… not exactly what I would want on my eggs.
- Store the eggs in a finely ground preservative such as salt, bran, or an equal mix of finely ground charcoal and dry bran or finely ground oats. You can also store them in finely ground plaster of Paris, but that’s not exactly something that I plan on having on hand regularly. You can store the eggs layer upon layer, so long as you they don’t touch each other, metal, or wood. Be sure you have enough finely ground preservative to pack them in. (You can feed the salt and bran to the cattle afterwards.)
- Store the eggs small side down.
- Store the eggs in a covered container and keep in a cool, dry place. You don’t want to store them in freezing temperatures.
- Eggs will keep “fresh” for up to 9 months. In fact, some countries are known to have stored their eggs like this for up to 2 years.
I’ve also read of preserving eggs by placing them in boiling water for 5 to 20 seconds. I don’t recommend this way as even though they will keep, the texture of the egg is altered a bit from what I want to see when I fry an egg. And even then they subsequently need to be stored in the salt, etc. So I see no reason for this particular extra step that would alter the texture.
I’m so relieved knowing that this “foodie” doesn’t have to go without her fresh eggs even in a time of crisis now! Yippee!
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