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Storing Cackleberries

Straw wrapped eggs

Last week we explored the age-old question of whether or not to refrigerate (backyard) eggs. As common as that question is, it’s actually part of a larger conversation regarding best practices for long-term storage of eggs – say 3 to 6 months.

But why would anyone want to store eggs for that long you ask? Well you see, egg production really is a seasonal thing, and many of us look for ways to store the bounty of peak egg production (late spring to mid fall) to offset slower months when the hens produce fewer eggs.

Mother Earth News has a great article entitled How To Store Fresh Eggs. It documents a series of experiments they conducted to test various guaranteed and “gen-u-wine egg preservation methods”, methods that were found in “old farm magazines, ancient Department of Agriculture pamphlets, and other sources”. These methods include things like liquid glass (sodium silicate) – which is used for a variety of things including food preservation – as well as sawdust, wet sand and lard for packing!

It’s an interesting read and the article is both entertaining and informative. It introduced me to the terms ‘cackleberries’ and ‘hen fruit’, both of which I plan to use often – however this article focuses only on the storage of uncooked eggs.

Popular alternative methods for long-term storage include boiling, pickling and freezing. The USDA has a great list of recommended egg preparation and storage practices that’s worth a thorough read. Interestingly, it turns out that hard-cooked eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs! Yup, it’s true. When eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating (known as the bloom) is washed away, leaving the pores in the shell unprotected and vulnerable to bacteria and contamination. Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week.

Egg Storage Chart
Product Refrigerator Freezer
Raw eggs in shell 3 to 5 weeks Do not freeze.
Raw egg whites 2 to 4 days 12 months
Raw egg yolks 2 to 4 days Yolks do not freeze well.
Raw egg accidentally frozen in shell Use immediately after thawing. Keep frozen; then refrigerate to thaw.
Hard-cooked eggs 1 week Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, liquid
10 days Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, liquid
3 days Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, frozen
After thawing, 7 days, or refer to “Use-By” date on carton. 12 months
Egg substitutes, frozen
After thawing, 3 days, or refer to “Use-By” date on carton. Do not freeze.
Casseroles made with eggs 3 to 4 days After baking, 2 to 3 months.
Eggnog, commercial 3 to 5 days 6 months
Eggnog, homemade 2 to 4 days Do not freeze.
Pies, pumpkin or pecan 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months.
Pies, custard and chiffon 3 to 4 days Do not freeze.
Quiche with any kind of filling 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months.

Egg Storage Chart taken from USDA


Links & Resources:
Knowledge & Wisdom: Storing Excess Fresh Eggs
Egg Products Preparation: Shell Eggs from Farm to Table

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