How to Preserve Raw Eggs in Grease and Salt: An Illustrated Guide

Results of a Well-Maintained Flock of Laying Poultry

A mixed flock of eggs, a sure supply for all your breakfast and baking needs.
A mixed flock of eggs, a sure supply for all your breakfast and baking needs.

What Can Salted-Down Eggs Be Used For?

Anyone who raises laying hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, or other fowl knows that it is easy to have a surplus of eggs at certain seasons of the year. A hen will often lay one egg a day during her peak periods, and, depending on the size of your flock, this can mean more eggs than even a large family can use, sell, barter, or give away.

What to do? Why not store some eggs for future use?

There are several ways to do this, including freezing (scrambled, or separated into yolks and whites). But if you don't have freezer room to devote to eggs, or don't wish to deal with frozen eggs, this can be frustrating.

The method I will show you uses a grease, such as shortening or lard, and large quantities of salt (rock salt works fine). Eggs stored with this method will keep well for at least six months...though they may not break like fresh eggs, and are better used for scrambled dishes, omelettes, or baking.

When to Store Eggs?

Egg production depends on several factors, including how much sunlight the days have. More sunlight means more eggs. Egg production usually drops during short, dark days, and when the birds are under any stress, such as molting, or during extreme cold.

In the northern hemisphere, spring is usually the peak egg laying season. You will want to begin storing eggs during this "heavy" time. The idea is to have enough eggs to last through the "lean" period, during the fall and winter. Eggs stored in salt and grease will keep easily for five or six months.

We have used stored eggs which were up to eleven months old, and while they were still OK to use, they were far inferior to fresh eggs, as the yolks had dried out somewhat, and salt had leached through the shells, making them taste excessively salty.

What You Will Need to Store Eggs in Grease and Salt

  • Foam coolers, or other boxes which will help hold a cool (not cold) temperature and even, somewhat humid condition
  • Rock salt
  • Grease - shortening or lard
  • Fresh eggs
  • A cellar, basement, or other cool place to store the eggs

 

How to Store Fresh Eggs

We store several dozen eggs each year, so require two coolers.
We store several dozen eggs each year, so require two coolers.
Put a layer of salt in the bottom of the cooler. Coat each egg with grease, then bury them in the salt. Add more salt, and more eggs day by day...
Put a layer of salt in the bottom of the cooler. Coat each egg with grease, then bury them in the salt. Add more salt, and more eggs day by day...
...until you have enough, or until your cooler is full. Cover the last layer with salt, then put on the lid tightly.
...until you have enough, or until your cooler is full. Cover the last layer with salt, then put on the lid tightly.

How to Use Stored Eggs

The only difference between using stored eggs and fresh eggs is that fresh eggs shouldn't be very slippery.

Dig out a cartonful at a time, or just as many as you need. If you like, wash off the grease and salt. Always break the eggs into a small dish, one at a time, before adding each to your recipe. This way, if any egg has gone bad, has more than a speck of blood from possible fertilization, or is otherwise undesirable, you'll know it and will not run the risk of ruining your recipe.

The eggs will dry up somewhat over the course of months. This does not harm the eggs, and shouldn't harm you either, but it can affect their performance in cooking. Usually, even somewhat dried eggs can be mixed into pancakes or other baked goods, or be used in scrambled eggs. If you don't wish to use these eggs, see if your pets like them.

After six or more months, you may notice a sharp decline in the quality of your stored eggs. Stored under good conditions, they shouldn't go technically bad, but may be excessively salty or dried out, and the whites may appear watery and thin. Hopefully by this time, sunlight and warm weather will have returned in sufficient quantities to make your hens want to lay fresh eggs.

An Egg Past Its Prime

A somewhat dried out egg...the yolk is a hard ball, and the white is watery and has lost some of its gloss. This egg is still OK for some baking applications, but don't try scrambled eggs.
A somewhat dried out egg...the yolk is a hard ball, and the white is watery and has lost some of its gloss. This egg is still OK for some baking applications, but don't try scrambled eggs.

Choose the Right Chickens for Egg Laying!

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Comments 17 comments

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

Joy At Home, thanks for this information! We already have more eggs than we can eat, and I was beginning to worry about what to do!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Aya,

So glad to be of help! Happy egg keeping.


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I don't have my own chickens, but a friend was looking for ways to use extra eggs the other day. I am going to pass this article along to her!


no body profile image

no body 6 years ago from Rochester, New York

You always think of the most interesting things to talk about. Thanks you for another. Love Bob.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Ivorwen,

Please do pass it on! I feel sure this method would also work for store-bought eggs got on a good sale.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

No Body,

You're always so encouraging. I left this article sitting in my drafts for several months, almost finished, because I thought it was mundane!


jim10 profile image

jim10 6 years ago from ma

What a great idea. I knew salt was a great preservative. But, I never realized it would work with eggs like this. I used to get fresh eggs from my wife's friend at work. But, sadly she got rid of most of her chickens. So there aren't any extra anymore.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Jim,

I'm sad to hear that you no longer have easy access to those eggs.

If you do get a chance to try this, just remember to seal the eggs with grease before burying them in salt. When eggs are laid, they have a natural coating that allows them to stay good in varying conditions for several days...but that barrier is almost always washed off along with any chicken poop and such which tends to be on farm eggs.


LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 6 years ago from Plains of Colorado

Joy at Home,

I have recently heard that storing an egg on its side instead of on the small end, as I had been told before, will keep the yolk centered in the egg. I believe I will try that with some of the eggs this spring, to see if this will prevent our yolks from drying out.

If you have no other pets to feed too-old eggs to, but do have your own chickens, do not hesitate to feed these eggs to them. They love them, and will not bother the fresh ones anymore than they did before. Simply break each disgarded egg into a feeding container, and let the birds at them.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

LiftedUp,

Thank you for this advice. I had not been sure about whether or not it was OK to feed their own eggs to chickens, so left anything about that out of this article. I've heard some people swear that their chickens got into their freshly laid eggs after that...some swear by scrambling them first...others don't seem to think it matters a bit what you do.

Let me know how storing the eggs on their sides works out.


dave g 4 years ago

chickens will eat just about anything you put in front of them.


kwik 4 years ago

this is awesome. people store food in case of emergencies, just like you see people rush off to the grocery store when a snowstorm is predicted. they want to eat for pleasure. i know if i was starving an egg has LOTS of protein, and gives you energy. it is a sort of meat. thank you for showing me how to store raw eggs. i love them, and would go thru withdrawl without my eggies!!! i wish i had a chicken, but the county doesn't allow things like this. i would love fresh eggs, but nope, the county says no, no, no.....or we will fine you!! haha! i feel like i got one over on them. ill buy them on sale, buy a dozen, get a dozen for free!!

thanks for the great advice


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 4 years ago from United States Author

Kwik,

You are so welcome.

I, too, have had run-ins with local authorities who believe we shouldn't keep "farm" animals, so I know how you feel. I had a goat in town for a year before I got turned in, by someone who was angry because they were told they couldn't have their own goat. That same year, at least two other people were made to get rid of poultry.


Clair 3 years ago

We bury an old egg under a pepper or tomato plant. Seems to make them super grow.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 3 years ago from United States Author

What a good idea!


Alicia Bailey 23 months ago

I saw online that you can freeze eggs too. If I remember correctly you freeze them in the shell until solid, peel, and store in a zip top freezer bag. I personally would rather freeze, but this is good to know, should i ever need to do this.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 23 months ago from United States Author

Alicia,

Yes, there are a few good methods for freezing eggs. However, our freezes are usually full of home-butchered meats and also fruits and vegetables that don't can or dry well. No room for eggs or anything that doesn't need to freeze! :)

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