Until this past winter, I had never hear the term “water glassing”. You’d think it has something to do with water, right?
While water is involved, it actually has to do with eggs. Preserving eggs. That really caught my attention because we usually have so many eggs during the spring and summer months, and then during the winter we could get one or two a day. We have no desire to use lights to trick the chickens into laying more than they’re supposed to, so we just accept that the winter is their natural time to rest.
So I started researching this water glassing thing. I found out that this was how people preserved eggs before refrigeration, just like canning. Water glassing requires no heat; actually it needs a cool, dry spot. And the eggs will be good for a year or more!
So knowing that we would have our normal influx of eggs, I started looking around for the simple ingredient I needed to make this work, along with an appropriate container. I knew I wanted a large container I could see through and found a 22 quart cambro in the garage. It was perfect. I needed a lid for it, which was easily found on Amazon. I also needed this other stuff that was new to me as well – hydrated lime. I read that it could be found at hardware stores, but none of the stores around us had any. So of course I went to Amazon again. I found hydrated lime for a decent price, but I watched it for awhile to see if it decreased any. I decided to check Walmart as well, and they actually had it, which completely surprised me. And the price was good, so I scooped up a bag.
So it’s super simple to do this, if you trust that you’re not completely wasting perfectly good eggs! I have read a ton and watched several videos about water glassing, so I’m confident that the eggs I preserve will be perfect when I go to use them later this year.
First you have to start with FRESH eggs. Eggs from the grocery store will not work at all. Eggs that have just been laid are surrounded by this beautiful barrier called the bloom. The bloom is the protective layer on the outside of the egg that seals the shell’s pores, prevents bacteria from getting inside the shell, and reduces moisture loss from the egg, which is all designed to make the egg last longer. That’s why farm fresh eggs don’t have to be refrigerated. The eggs in the grocery store have been washed and the bloom removed, leaving the shells unprotected and at risk of bacteria leaching through the pores.
So, fresh eggs that have not been washed are a must for water glassing. You also need a container with a lid, fresh water and hydrated lime. That’s it. If you’re on city water, I would suggest using filtered water for this simply because I have no idea what the chlorine and fluoride they use to treat public water will do to the eggs.
It’s important to have the right ratio of water to hydrated lime for this to work. For every quart of water you need one weighted ounce of hydrated lime. I decided to do six quarts of water, so I used my kitchen scale to measure out six ounces of the lime. Easy measurement to remember.
Once that’s all whisked together, it’s time to add the eggs. I’m going to add eggs every day until my container is full. I added 30 so far today and I’ve just covered to bottom of the container, so with it full we will have plenty for the winter.
I wonder how many eggs I’ll get into this 22 quart container? Probably a lot more than I initially thought when I first decided to do this. But I’m so excited about this because it means we aren’t wasting eggs and we also aren’t going to be lacking them when the laying season gets super slow. Win win!