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Posts Tagged ‘wax’

Preserving Eggs with lard and beeswax – success, failure and promise

November 22nd, 2013 by Susan Odom

On April 4, 2013 we, Maggie and I, coated four dozen of our hen’s fresh eggs in lard and stored them in a crock of oats. On May 16, 2013 we coated 3 dozen eggs in beeswax and stored them in another crock of oats. I wrote this blog post when we stored the eggs. This was done to preserve them from spring to winter. Fresh eggs are plentiful in the spring and on shortage in the winter.

Well it is winter time, so we opened up the egg crocks to see what we had! We had mixed results. Some of the eggs coated in bees wax had spoiled and I was afraid they tainted the whole crock. But the eggs coated in lard were good. I was a little disappointed, but not dismayed.

After some reflection on the results I think I understand why the waxed eggs went bad. I often took guests down cellar to show them the salt cured meats, the stored eggs and other intriguing food surprises that are to be found in our cellar.

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

I would open up the waxed egg crock, dig through the oats and pull out an egg to show. I even did some experimental techniques with the wax application; that involved wrapping the egg in tissue paper before dipping it in the wax. But I never opened the larded egg crock. I think my digging around in the waxed crock disturbed the eggs and exposed them to more temperature variation. And I think I found that my experimental waxing methods did not work. The larded eggs were just dipped in melted lard and cooled, no tissue paper.

As a test we fried one of the larded eggs. It did not taste very good, but I did not expect it too. Eggs are stored for baking purposes and not fresh eating. But we wanted to try it and we can report no ill effects.

Next we tried baking a cake. Maggie picked out a new recipe for Cocoanut Loaf Cake (365 Cakes and Cookies, published in 1904), which is like a pound cake with only eggs to leaven it, no baking powder or the like. We were very excited while it was baking and the results were amazing!!! The cake was delicious and the eggs had done just what they should do in the cake, raise it a bit, make it rich and lend a beautiful yellow color. The cake was baked yesterday (Nov 21, 2013) and we both ate some and can report we are in good health.

Cocoanut loaf cake made with eggs preserved with lard. Eggs put in storage on 4/4/13 and cake was baked on 11/21/13

Cocoanut loaf cake made with eggs preserved with lard. Eggs put in storage on 4/4/13 and cake was baked on 11/21/13. Eggs more than 7 months in storage!

Now we have eggs to use for holiday baking!!! Good thing too because my chickens have not laid an egg since November 4!

Next year we will do the experiment again, another crock of larded eggs and another crock of waxed eggs. I will stick to the plain method of coating the eggs with the wax. I think both methods, waxed and larded, hold a lot of promise. Most important I will keep my hands out of the egg crocks during the storage period! Perhaps I should make a demo crock with fake eggs that I can share with guests!

Now of course this is not USDA approved so I can’t tell you to try it at home. But It does seem to hold some promise for me and Hillside Homestead!

So bring on the holidays; I’ve got eggs!

To keep eggs… using beeswax and oats…without refrigeration…at Hillside Homestead

May 18th, 2013 by Susan Odom

Its egg season for sure! As they days get longer and longer egg production goes up and up. Here is my egg production for the last several months

  • February=47 eggs, from about 15 laying hens
  • March=160 eggs
  • April=236 from about 11 hens. 2 hens were killed by the hawks and one hen has gone broody. Broody means she wants to be a mama, so she is sitting on a clutch of 11 eggs. She does not lay new eggs while sitting on a clutch and that is ok. Because she is dong a good job of trying to increase the flock size. Sunday evening May 19 is the first chance for the eggs to hatch.
  • May=130 eggs by may 18

I’m getting more eggs than I need right now. But I remember how I ran out of eggs in December and January and February. So I’m ‘putting up’ eggs for the lean times. by following these instructions from “The New Buckeye Cook Book” published in 1904

Instructions on how to keep/preserve eggs to winter time. From "The New Buckeye Cook Book" published in 1904

Instructions on how to keep/preserve eggs to winter time. From “The New Buckeye Cook Book” published in 1904

To do this I dip the eggs in bees wax and then store them in layers of oats. The oats act as a medium for storage. They keep the eggs safe from breaking and bumping into each other. I put up 28 eggs this way so far. And about a month ago I put about 4 dozen eggs using lard instead of beeswax. I do prefer the beeswax method. I plan to do more waxed eggs for the next 4-6 weeks.

Take a peek at the waxed eggs below. The wax closes up the pores on the shell and helps them last longer.

These eggs have been dipped in beeswax to help preserve them to leaner times.

These eggs have been dipped in beeswax to help preserve them to leaner times of winter

After the eggs have completely cooled and hardened they are packed into crocks of oats  Put a layer of oats on the bottom then add the eggs. The eggs should go in big end down. Repeat till the crock is full and then cover with a heavy cloth and string. Keep the crock down in the cellar. 

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

These eggs will be great for cakes and cookies and the such. They don’t suit too well for scrambled for fried. I first learned this method when I worked at Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village, which is part of The Henry Ford. And it works!

Maybe this winter we will have enough eggs to eat pound cake all winter!

Basket of Eggs

The fruits of their labor, eggs for eating and baking!

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