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“Water Glassing” Eggs Tutorial (Preserving Eggs in Lime Water)
Are your chickens laying more eggs than you can use? Need to save on fridge space? Looking for a way to store your eggs, for the long-term, that doesn’t require rehydration? Storing your eggs in lime water- “water glassing” may be just what you’re looking for.Jump to Recipe
Preserving Eggs in Lime Water- “Water Glassing Eggs”
This post will walk you through how to preserve eggs in a lime water solution for long-term storage- commonly called water-glassing these days.
Storing eggs in lime water is a traditional egg storage method, with references and directions dating back to the 1800’s.
Originally, storing eggs in lime water was called “slaking” eggs. “Water glassing” eggs referred, instead, to storing eggs in a sodium silicate solution- a chemical known as water glass.
Nowadays, tutorials that refer to “water glassing eggs” online will provide instructions for making a lime-water solution. I’m not sure when the change in terminology occurred, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a description of “water glassing” eggs that refers to sodium silicate, and no one calls the lime-solution method of preservation “slaking.”
If you want to preserve eggs in a true water glass solution, you can order sodium silicate online from Lehman’s hardware. It is a chemical used in a myriad of commercial applications, including making cardboard and sealing concrete. To use sodium silicate to preserve eggs, make a solution of 1 part sodium silicate to 10 parts water.
Terminology aside, this “water glassing eggs” tutorial will be centered around making a lime-water solution- the most common method in use today.
You may be asking, why bother water glassing eggs when you could just store them in the fridge? A few reasons come to mind:
First, the old phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Which is to say, if we only store eggs in the fridge, or only in the freezer, we’re relying on electricity and the refrigerator to continue running without error. Water glassing eggs will make our pantry more resilient.
Second, compared to dehydration or freeze drying, water glassing eggs doesn’t change the texture or flavor of the eggs meaningfully. This means that you can use these eggs in baking or scrambling (as you could with dehydrated eggs)- as well as frying or hard-boiling: just like a fresh egg.
Third, water glassing eggs is easy. You can mix up the solution in a jar or bucket, and add new eggs daily, as they’re laid. Rather than spending a long time at once to dehydrate/freeze dry/pickle/etc your eggs, water glassing can be a passive form of preservation.
If this sounds like a particularly promising method of preservation, I’d urge you to read on and ultimately give water glassing eggs a try.
What Do You Need for Water Glassing Eggs?
Water glassing eggs (again in a lime-water solution) required just 4 things:
1, eggs; 2, a container; 3, water; and 4, lime.
About the Eggs:
Water glassing can be done with chicken, duck, turkey, goose, guinea, quail, etc. eggs. I generally don’t have enough of anything except chicken eggs to preserve, so this tutorial is centered around them, but know that you can preserve whatever bounty you have.
A second point about eggs- to wash or not wash. I’ll admit that this is a bit of a silly pet peeve of mine.
Many people online are adamant that water glassing eggs only works with the cleanest, unwashed eggs. “You need the bloom intact or it won’t work.”
To support the claim, they have nothing concrete- having only“heard” that you cannot water glass washed eggs.
To counter the fear, in March of 2022 I set 6 dozen washed eggs from my fridge (laid in January of 2022) in a lime-water solution.
Fast forward the clock to September 2022, December 2022, even March of 2023… and wouldn’t you know it; my old, washed, water glassed eggs are edible, don’t smell, and don’t have an off-taste. In fact, I still have about a dozen of these eggs left, and I intend to see just how long they will last.
All of that aside, if your hens lay eggs that are gorgeously clean (or nearly gorgeously clean) you can water glass them as is- right from the counter to the jar. If your eggs have a little smudge of this or that, need a little rinse, etc. they can still be stored by water glassing as well. I would suggest also using the freshest eggs you can get your hands on, but if they’re a few weeks old that’s alright too.
About the Container:
This part’s easy- watertight, with a lid. Easy peasy. A 5 gallon bucket or a 2.5 gallon bucket is great. Pickle jars and half gallon jars are another great option. The bigger the container, the more eggs you can fit in each one.
I placed 6 dozen eggs in a 5 gallon bucket, but could’ve easily doubled it.
My 1 gallon pickle jars can hold 18-24 eggs, depending on the size of the eggs.
A half-gallon canning jar will hold 14-18 eggs, again depending on the size of the eggs.
About the Water:
Straight from the tap, cool.
About the Lime:
This is the key to the whole water glassing eggs thing. Lime makes the water basic- in a chemical sense not in an insulting sense. Submerging the eggs in this basic solution is what keeps them from absorbing more oxygen and ultimately spoiling.
The lime we use when water glassing eggs is not the green citrus, but rather the white powder known as pickling lime.
Lime- calcium hydroxide-is generally used to make home-canned pickles crispy. You’ll find this food-grade lime in the store with the canning supplies. I use the “Mrs. Wage’s” brand, bought in a 3 pack from Amazon. (here) You can also find food grade lime in bulk from Azure Standard (here). I’ve read of some people buying bulk lime for agricultural purposes and water glassing eggs with that, but I couldn’t find any locally and use the smaller bags of pickling lime.
Water Glassing Eggs- the Recipe
Start by gathering your aforementioned supplies.
You’ll need eggs, containers large enough for your eggs, a water source, and the pickling lime.
Start by gently arranging the eggs in your jar/bucket/etc. Make sure that there will be some space above the top egg and the rim of the container so that they will stay fully submerged.
Next, mix up some of the lime-water solution.
You’ll need to combine them at a ratio of 1 ounce of lime (by weight) to 1 quart of water.
The solution will be very cloudy.
Pour the solution over the eggs, continuing to mix more, as needed, to ensure that the eggs are fully submerged.
Add the lid to your containers, label with the date, and store in your pantry.
It’s best if the eggs are kept somewhere cool where they won’t be disturbed and risk being broken or knocked over.
To use, simply pull the eggs from the solution. Voila.
These eggs will be shelf stable for a year or more. The longer they stay in the solution, the runnier the yolk will become. They will still be entirely edible and delicious, but may not fry up as well as a fresh egg. I use the older water glassed eggs for scrambled eggs, baking, etc.
Tips for Water Glassing Eggs
Tip number 1- be sure to be very gentle when placing the eggs in your container (duh!).
My second tip is to only mix 1 quart of the solution up at a time. This way if you mix too much you won’t be wasting too much of the solution.
Another important tip, store your containers away from sunlight. I stored my bucket of washed eggs in our garage for a few months, but moved them into the laundry room/pantry once we began to use them this winter. Keeping the eggs tucked away will prevent them from being broken inadvertently too.
My last tip is to keep a container of mixed up solution on the counter or in the pantry, ready for eggs. As you collect eggs over the course of the week, you can add eggs to the container gradually until it is totally filled. At that point, label the jar, tuck it into the pantry, and mix up more solution.
FAQ Around Water Glassing Eggs
Can I water glass washed eggs?
Internet lore credits the bloom on the egg shell (a thin, dried layer that the hen leaves on the surface of a shell immediately after laying the eggs) for preserving the eggs when water glassing.
My own experiments with water glassing eggs- after washing them- disproves this.
Additionally, the bloom is known to be pretty fragile in the big scheme of things- chipping off a piece of straw or stray bit of manure will remove bloom in that spot.
Getting an egg wet, washing or rinsing off an egg, abrading the surface of the shell, etc. will also remove the bloom.
How then, would submerging the eggs, for over a year, in a watery solution not render the bloom ineffective? I have yet to find a good explanation.
That said, you can certainly opt to use unwashed eggs in water glassing- most of mine are, in fact, unwashed. But I like to let people know that you have the option to use washed eggs, if you want to.
Can I water glass old eggs?
This depends on your definition of “old eggs,” of course. I’ve water glassed eggs that were a few months old (from the fridge) in the past, without any ill effects. However, I prefer to water glass the eggs as they’re laid- as fresh as I can. This is just to ensure that they have as long of a shelf-life as possible, since my goal in water glassing is to have a fully stocked winter pantry.
Can I water glass other types of eggs?
Yes! Water glassing will work with duck, turkey, guinea, goose, and quail eggs. I generally limit my water glassing to only chicken and duck eggs (the eggs we collect most often) but any sort of egg could be preserved this way- just keep it submerged and follow the same lime-water ratio above.
Does the water glassing container need to seal?
No. As long as the eggs are submerged, they will be safely preserved in the lime water. I place lids on my containers just for practicality. Lids keep dust, bugs, and curious toddlers out of the water glassing.
How do you use water glassed eggs?
The same way that we use fresh or refrigerated eggs. Eggs that have been water glassed more recently will be nearly indistinguishable from fresh eggs. After being stored in the water glassing solution for a few months, the whites and yolk will both be a little runnier. Broken yolks are much more common as the water glassed eggs age, so frying sunny side up won’t work as well. They are still great as scrambled eggs and for baking, etc.
Do you have to use pickling lime?
Pickling lime is the easiest to find and the highest quality, it’s food grade and meant for using in canned goods. I would recommend sticking with the pickling lime, and avoid commercial (non- food grade) lime.
Where can you find pickling lime?
Tractor Supply Co, Walmart, Ace Hardware, WinCo, Target, Azure Standard… finding pickling lime in person can be pretty easy. If you don’t have any luck locally, Amazon carries several different options. I got this pack of Mrs. Wage’s brand- 3) 2lb bags for $22.
How long will water glassed eggs last?
Water glassed eggs will easily last 6-12 months. Many homesteaders (myself included) have found that water glassing eggs will push the shelf life out past 18 months, or even longer.
How can I tell if the water glassed eggs have spoiled?
The symptoms of spoilage in water glassed eggs are similar to symptoms in fresh eggs. They may begin to have a strong smell. Cracked eggs should be given to the chickens or the compost pile. Floating above the surface of the solution means the eggs are no longer predicted from the harms of oxidation- and are probably not good any longer. If you crack open an egg and it has an overpowering smell, an off color, or anything else that just seems “off”- the egg should probably not be used.
Do you have to use all of the eggs at once?
No, after water glassing eggs, you can use them one at a time, a few at a time, or all at once.
Simply remove as many eggs as you need from your water glassing jar, and then replace the lid and tuck it back into the pantry.
Do you have to water glass all of the eggs at once?
This is one of my favorite aspects of water glassing eggs- you can set aside the eggs a little at a time instead of having a preservation marathon (like you would with canning or pickling).
Basically you’ll want to prepare a jar of solution and add eggs as they’re laid. Once the jar is filled, add the lid and tuck the jar into the pantry. As long as the eggs stay submerged in the solution as you go, they’ll be safely preserved and ready for storage.
Some Other Egg-Related Posts…
Water glassing eggs is a great way to store your eggs for the long term, but is far from the only option. You can find 11 more methods of egg preservation in this post.
Interested in learning how to freeze eggs? Find a tutorial and more information here.
Once the time has come to use your eggs, you should also plan on how you’ll utilize your egg shells. This post walks you through my method of making an egg shell powder. And this post will give you some ideas for 14 ways to use egg shells on the homestead and around your home.
Looking for an egg recipe? How about pickled eggs- I have 2 simple recipes written up in this post.
Water Glassing Eggs- In Conclusion
I hope that you’ll give water glassing eggs a try. If you’re a backyard chicken keeper, this is a great way to stock up in the spring so that you’ll have homegrown eggs- even when the hens take their annual winter break.
If you give water glassing eggs a try, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you! Tag me on Instagram, @EmigrantFarms.
Thanks for reading, and happy homesteading!
Water Glassing Eggs
- Jars or Buckets, with lids
- Measuring glass, spoon
- Kitchen scale
- Pickling Lime
- Begin by gently placing the eggs into the container of your choice.Leave space above the tops of the eggs to allow for the eggs to be fully submerged.
- Weigh out 1 oz of pickling lime with the measuring glass and kitchen scale.
- Add 1 quart of water to the 1oz of lime. Stir to combine.
- Pour the water-lime solution into the container of eggs.
- Repeat steps 2-4 until the container is filled and the eggs are fully submerged.
- Add the lid to the containers and label with the date.
- Store your container of eggs in a cool, dark place where they won't be disturbed.
- To use the eggs, simply remove from the solution. The yolks and whites may be runny.