How to Preserve Eggs with Waterglass

KJ Barber
By KJ Barber May 1, 2020 10:17

How to Preserve Eggs with Waterglass

Do you have a generous neighbor who is offering up a lot of eggs, or selling them? Maybe you recently built your own chicken coop and find you have an abundance of eggs on hand, but don’t know what to do with them all. Maybe an abundance now, but eggs tend not to be as plentiful, as well as more expensive in the winter time. So, why not preserve what you cannot use at this time?

Eggs in general don’t spoil terribly quickly. But, the fresher the egg, the better they are for flavor, as well as optimum results for your cooking and baking needs.

So, how do you preserve the unexpected abundance of eggs you now have on hand? Fortunately, it’s quite easy! Using waterglass, otherwise known as sodium silicate, can help you store farm-fresh eggs and keep their freshness for months.

It was once thought that you cannot preserve store-bought eggs, especially the ones that have been bleached, which by the way, is the majority of them found in the stores. While it’s true that you won’t have the results you will have with eggs fresh out of your coop, it still can be done.

Related: The Prepper’s Guide For Raising Chickens

Why Do Eggs Need to Be Preserved for Long-term Storage?

Air enters the porous shell of the egg, leading to the egg eventually spoiling. With a fresh egg, one that is 24 hours old or younger, the inner shell is coated with a clear fluid, which prevents air from getting through.

The egg shell starts to dry out as it ages, which leads to it being more porous and allowing air to seep in eventually. Waterglass makes an airtight barrier on the outside of the shell. So, air will not be able to get in, and the egg will stay fresh.

The Fresher, the Better

How to Preserve Eggs with WaterglassWhen preserving eggs, make sure they are as fresh as possible, and have not been refrigerated.

Here is a simple guide to deciding how old your eggs might be, and how well they can be preserved:

  • 24 hours old, or less, is best
  • 2-3 days old – the eggs will most likely have a lumpy outer shell, and will be opaque
  • 5-6 days old – the shell will start to develop slight and tiny gray spots, which are easy to see when holding the egg up to a light.

Grocery store eggs are not the best option, because they are often at least 3-4 days old before they even reach the store. They have also been refrigerated, which can reduce their freshness.

Related: How To Make Calcium Supplements from Eggshells

What Is Waterglass?

How to Preserve Eggs with WaterglassWaterglass, which can also be listed as “water glass” or “water-glass”, is a sodium silicate solution. It comes in the form of powder, solid, or liquid, and can be found online or in some specialty shops.

It has multiple uses other than preserving eggs, such as a sealant or glue for ceramics.

When preserving eggs, waterglass helps to seal the pores of the egg shells. This prevents air from seeping in and spoiling the eggs sooner.

The Process of Preserving Your Eggs with Waterglass

How to Preserve Eggs with WaterglassI feel like I should repeat that it’s best to use the freshest eggs possible.

Eggs that are 24 hours old or less are your best option. There is no need to wash them.

In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t. You can wipe them clean with a cloth to remove debris or dirt. But, save the washing for when you take them out to use someday.

  • Mix 11 parts water to 1 part waterglass.
  • How to Preserve Eggs with WaterglassPlace your eggs, small end down if possible, into an earthenware crock.
  • Pour the waterglass solution over the eggs.
  • Make sure the eggs are covered with at least 2 inches of the solution covering them all.
  • Place the lid on.
  • Store in a cool and dark place.
  • You can wash the eggs once you are ready to use them.

Related: How To Pickle Eggs

There is no definitive shelf-life duration. Some people will say that the eggs will last indefinitely, while others use this method to get them through the winter months. If you have the room, patience, and desire to find out, make a small crock with a couple eggs and let them sit for a couple years. If the eggs are still fresh at that point, “indefinitely” might not be too far fetched.

Be careful not to spill any of the waterglass, or the solution, onto surfaces that you don’t want to ruin. It’s a glue that you will not be able to remove after it dries on a surface. Also, be very careful when working with the waterglass, because sodium silicate is an alkaline product. So, avoid any contact with the skin and eyes by wearing gloves and safety goggles.

So, as you can see, it’s a very easy process to preserve your fresh eggs. You will be able to enjoy fresh eggs all year round!

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KJ Barber
By KJ Barber May 1, 2020 10:17
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36 Comments

  1. Tessa May 1, 14:01

    This is a great article. Thanks so much for the research. I have two questions. On the waterglass, considering that any spilled portion would harden quickly, would there be a need to check the solution to make sure it isn’t hardening in its container? Any idea how long it would maintain its liquid state? And if air is the culprit in storing fresh eggs, has anyone tried vacuum sealing a few in a Food Saver? Thank you again.

    Reply to this comment
    • Sabel May 1, 17:14

      Placing the eggs in a mason jar and vacuum sealing it with the Food Saver jar sealer might work but considering how much a box of salt gets deformed when I seal it in a Food Saver bag, I would not expect an eggshell to survive the process intact. YMMV…

      Reply to this comment
    • Spike May 2, 13:27

      Or…how about an oxygen absorber in a sealed bag?

      Reply to this comment
  2. Dad May 1, 14:17

    That “debri” on eggshells is chicken poop. Its one of the things that I remove before refridgerating the eggs. Not sure I want to “long-time store” eggs with that lovely green chicken poop on them. I buy my eggs fresh off the farm from people I know, I don’t have a way to raise chickens.

    Reply to this comment
    • Spike May 2, 13:35

      I’m like you…don’t like poop on my eggs but get this high priced option(home raised) anyways. I completely understand the eggs need this “bloom” maintained on the shell if we are going to store them or if a hen needs to set on them. But if we are going to eat them out of the refrigerator with in a month, I don’t see why we need to worry about maintaining this bloom. Also, why can’t we wash them and then immediately slather with mineral oil if you do want longer storage. Poop is gross.

      Reply to this comment
      • red May 2, 18:26

        Spike: Crap on eggs every day means the hen got it from her parents. It’s genetic or caused by old age. That’s why you don’t see it in the store, it’s bred out of the hens, and they don’t keep them more than 18 months. The bloom keeps bacteria from getting in the egg and rotting it but allows in air and moisture.

        I agree, manure is gross, but the FDA allows a lot worse than that in manufactured food. niio

        Reply to this comment
  3. GerryG May 1, 14:23

    We always coat fresh eggs with mineral oil and store them in the cold room in the basement. They last 6-8 months with no refrigeration. Just slather your eggs with your bare hands generously with the mineral oil right out of the bottle, no pre-mixing or recipe needed.
    An 8 oz bottle of Water glass (sodium silicate/silicone dioxide) is very expensive compared to gallon of mineral oil; with no need for gloves or other cautions in handling.

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  4. red May 1, 14:44

    Thanks for posting this. A lot of people will want to read it. For folks up north, now and in the fall is the time to buy eggs in bulk. While there may be a drop in price, by late fall, eggs may double in price. for us in the south, fall, winter, and early spring are our times. Stay safe and healthy! niio

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  5. Garrick May 1, 14:44

    In Brasil, my sister-in-law keeps eggs on her kitchen counter once purchased. How long can an egg be considered still healthy in a non refrigerated environment (but still indoors)?

    Reply to this comment
    • red May 1, 20:24

      Garrick: Depends on heat. I would say if this is family custom, she knows what she’s doing. the only thing is, the longer they’re in the heat, the faster they age and the flavor changes.If there are cracks, then there’s a chance of bacteria.
      Eggs are pretty good at keeping. But, the smell also is very attractive to rodents and snakes. Even if they can’t get thru the shell, they’re urinate on them and that will go thru the shell. niio

      Reply to this comment
    • Papa May 1, 21:47

      We keep ours the same way. We do try to rotate them by using the oldest first, but unwashed they are sealed by the hen. Float your eggs in cold water, fresh lay on the bottom on their side. As they age they will stand up and then start to rise up. Once they break the surface of the water and fully float it’s time to discard them.

      Reply to this comment
  6. IArrgh2 May 1, 16:43

    Sailors used to coat eggs with petroleum jelly for the same reason to make them last longer.

    Reply to this comment
    • red May 1, 21:53

      IA: And packed in lard. Colonists shipped meat that way, as well. The problem with animal fats is it attracts rodents. niio

      Reply to this comment
  7. Dan May 1, 16:59

    As far as preserving eggs, immersion in lye water works as well. The difference: you can make lye if you have wood ash. 1. do not wash the eggs, 2. immerse eggs in a solution of one Table spoon of lye to each gallon of water . Store in a cool dark place.(root cellar)

    Reply to this comment
    • Dan May 2, 00:42

      Y’all are supposed to be prepers, so tell me, where are you going to acquire refined sodium silicate in a SHTF situation? Things y’all don’t address but should. Making water safe. How to convert marginal wild food into something palatable. Have y’all even had any info on how to prepare poke?

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      • Spike May 2, 13:41

        Dan..you buy crystal form before SHTF and then make the solution afterwards when you need them. Preppers are suppose to buy all these special ingredients ahead of time.

        Reply to this comment
      • red May 2, 15:07

        Dan: You’re going to need waterglass to make that new hornbow, anyway. 🙂
        https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Sodium-Silicate-Water-Glass/
        Water is never safe. That’s why folks made beer and later, used tea and coffee. niio

        Reply to this comment
      • IvyMike May 3, 01:17

        Pick young leaves in the spring before they get any red coloring, boil in 3 changes of water. Some poke is toxic, some only mildly so, 3 changes of water and young leaves keep you safe. Boiling knocks out the C but still a tasty nutritious green. The berry juice w/o seeds can be boiled and made into jelly. The birds seed poke in my beds most years, it is a cool looking ornamental. Many a meal has been made in the South with boiled poke and carp poached in buttermilk.

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        • red May 4, 15:26

          Mike: Hm, what was the song about poke weed salad and getting stoned eating it? 🙂 When I was a kid, my grandmother caught some of the boys in the barn smoking weed. She took the joint, took a hit and coughed like crazy. “Where did you kids get this? It’s awful.” She handed it back and told them you do not smoke in the barn. We all thought she thought it was tobacco, till she said, “The stuff is trash. We raised better Jane in the fields for rope than that it.” We got some great stories about her and her cousin who had a speakeasy, hw to make bathtub gin from corn, and a lot of good things about why d*mned democrats are moronic and greedy. And why poke salad if so good 🙂 niio

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      • Govtgirl May 4, 08:48

        Dan, There is room on this website for methods that support living self-sufficiently to SHTF situations. Even in SHTF situations, there are methods for getting by during short-term disasters to unimaginable long term. Still, I get your point. The bottom line is all these are helpful, but we are not going to have everything we need, maybe can’t even scrounge for these things which is why we need the 18th century knowledge like the tips in “Lost Ways.” Found an excellent YouTube video (12:40) which explores 6 historical ways to preserve eggs by Townsend and Sons.

        Reply to this comment
      • JT May 7, 08:44

        For Poke, gather the leaves: I like them medium sized. Boil them. The boil water will probably (I haven’t done this in 50 years) turn a lovely shade of light green, or maybe pink. Discard the first cooking water. I would quickly rinse leaves. Add fresh water and boil again about 20 minutes. Pour off water (although this water is probably fine to use for other things: Cooking, drinking, soups, breads, cleaning shallow wounds, watering plants, etc.), season to taste (sometimes we would use salt, pepper, and butter or lard; sometimes a dressing,e.g. Sweet milk dressing). Enjoy!

        Reply to this comment
    • Govtgirl May 4, 08:03

      Before we sold our home in Oregon, I needed to get the carbon deposits off the glass doors on the fireplace. Ordinary sprays did not work. So I did some research and it said to take a flat stick, wet it, dip it in the ash and rub it on the glass. This worked like a dream, but brought home to me how caustic lye is. Although 1 tablespoon to a gallon is not much, don’t know how comfortable I am with immersing eggs in it.

      Reply to this comment
      • red May 4, 15:29

        Gov: Waterglass is made of lye and other things. niio

        Reply to this comment
      • JT May 7, 09:02

        Think of it as ‘pickling’. 1Tbs/1gal = solution of 1:256
        That’s pretty dilute. Lye has a pH of about 13. Water usually averages 7-7 1/2. With a 256:1 dilution, my guess without actually doing the math is that the solution pH is probably around 8 1/2-9, or about what you get in some of those fancy bottled waters on the market.

        Reply to this comment
    • Delight May 18, 15:47

      When you store them do you keep he eggs immersed in water?

      Reply to this comment
  8. jas May 1, 17:32

    I’m a little confused about the “glue” nature of sodium silicate. Pour it over the eggs in a crock – I assume then that it hardens? It seems like if you can’t remove it from a surface after it hardens that it might be difficult to separate the eggs when you want to use them. If the waterglass is water soluble after hardening, it seems like it would not be difficult to get it off of surfaces. If it is not, then it seems like it would be quite difficult to separate the eggs in a huge chunk of waterglass.

    Reply to this comment
    • Johnny3 May 2, 06:14

      According to my reading and analysis of the photos it appears to me that the immersed eggs and the solution THEN have a LID installed on the container, which would retard evaporation of the water from the solution, AND THEN the mention of WASHING the water-glass solution off of the eggs when you’re ready to use ’em; all this tells me that the sealed container solution does NOT ‘SET UP” like cement.

      IF the water is allowed to evaporate/dry out, then the will become solid.

      Reply to this comment
  9. TheSouthernNationalist May 1, 21:32

    An 18th century method is slaked lime and water.
    Place the eggs in this solution and they will last for a long time.

    Reply to this comment
  10. red May 1, 21:50

    jas: It’s mixed with 10-11 cups of water. If you make your own, it’s nasty. but, not hard to make.
    https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Sodium-Silicate-Water-Glass/
    niio

    Reply to this comment
  11. Illini Warrior May 2, 13:30

    the modern equal to the pioneer earthenware crock is the pop cooler – food grade poly interior and insulated for temp control …

    often omitted is the need to do a regular 180 flip of the eggs <> carton packing of the eggs makes the chore an eaze – protects the eggs and provides additional insulation ….

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  12. Caryn May 18, 18:42

    Coat them in Crisco and they will last 6-9 months in a cool, dark place!
    I like the mineral oil tip. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment
  13. rclark1 May 23, 16:43

    Red
    Will you explain to me what does “niio” means

    Reply to this comment
    • red May 25, 17:14

      Sorry for the delay! niio is contracted American Indian for Walk in God’s beauty.
      Been having too much fun, mebbe. The bank wanted to drop the interest rate on the house. Cool! I was to meet the notary, but she was a non-show. The loan officer tried 3 more, until finally, the 5th one, said she’d meet us at the house. Got that done, and a half a truck load of grub from the store. Still need to hit up Tractor Supply for more maize and so on. Got 21 more adobe blocks made! And now will have to find a few truck loads of adobe. All this while not enjoying a kidney stone. Lots of prayer, and a half-cup of lemon juice (not all at once! 🙂 and it mostly disappeared. Cider vinegar works as well. So, 2 days trying to get one day of work in. But, got it! niio

      Reply to this comment
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