Our youngest batch of chickens has just started laying eggs over the last couple of weeks. Finding those first cute little eggs (sometimes in the nesting boxes, but just as often on the coop floor or even in the middle of the yard!) is one of the joys of late summer that just never gets old.
This also means that suddenly, we’ve gone from barely getting enough eggs keep us supplied, to eggs coming out our ears.
I love it! We’ve been doing some extra baking, and having some fantastic frittatas and quiches for dinner. But even still – they’re starting to pile up. Just a bit.
I could sell them – and I do sell a few dozen here and there. But the first thing I like to do when I get a surplus of eggs is to replenish my freezer stash.
Every now and again, we get to a point in the year where we just don’t get enough eggs from our girls to quite meet our needs. In the late summer or early fall, the adult birds go through a molt, and stop laying for a while. Also, the darkest days of winter slow down production.
I’ve even had the girls go on “egg strike” for emotional reasons, like the time they had a particularly scary run-in with a hawk. It had flown right into the coop, and had my sweet little Eidelweiss in its talons. Even though I was able to rescue her (at a full 9-months pregnant, mind you! And no – the hawk wasn’t hurt.) that little escapade put my poor babies in a tizzy for many, many days. No eggs for me.
So now and again, even with 20 chickens – we find ourselves needing extra eggs.
Thankfully, I always have a good supply in the freezer, so we never run out. They thaw beautifully, and cook up nicely. We usually scramble them, or use them in baking. For those purposes, I find it almost impossible to tell the difference between fresh and frozen eggs.
The only way I can tell the difference is if I cook them over easy. The yolk is a tad more sturdy – not exactly rubbery, but…different. It’s not terribly off-putting, but I can definitely tell the egg has been frozen. For scrambled eggs though – total perfection.
I find that they maintain their quality for a very long time when properly frozen. The “powers-that-be” say that eggs can be frozen for up to 6 months. But, especially when vacuum-sealed, I find they last very well, and I’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between an egg that’s been frozen for one week or one year.
How to freeze eggs
So here’s my method for freezing eggs.
I far prefer freezing them individually, so that I can just take out however many I need at a time. I do that by using this heavenly little silicone soap mold. It costs about $6, and it might be the best $6 I’ve ever spent on kitchen tools. It gets used for a lot of things, but this is what I use it for most – freezing eggs.
Break one egg into each space in the mold. Slide a flat cutting board or cookie sheet underneath, so you can easily move it to the freezer.
Slip the whole mold onto a shelf in your freezer, and let the eggs freeze until hard. I find that 4 hours is plenty.
When they’re frozen, just pop them out, and place into freezer bags.
If I’m just doing a few at a time, I’ll sometimes use regular ziploc sandwich bags. 4 eggs fit nicely.
Usually though, if I’m freezing eggs, I keep two molds going constantly for a couple of days, and I freeze a LOT of eggs all at once. I put them into vacuum sealer bags – 8 in the quart size, and 12 in the gallon size (I’ve linked the kind I use – sturdy and not prone to leaking, but cheaper than the name brand).
I seal them up, using my vacuum sealer. (This is the one I have. Don’t buy it. It works, but you’ll wish you bought a better one – pinky swear.)
Then I stack them flat, one on top of the other, in a corner of my big old chest freezer in the basement. It’s an amazingly space-efficient way of fitting a LOT of frozen eggs into a fairly small, organized space.
If you don’t have a silicone mold, and don’t want to get one – you can also hack it with a muffin tin. Use it just like the silicone mold, breaking one egg into each space, and freezing until solid. To un-mold the individually frozen eggs, turn upside down over a cookie sheet, then set something warm over the bottom of the muffin tin. A hot water bottle works well. You want to thaw the bottom of the eggs just enough to easily pop them out, then place them in freezer bags, just like the instructions above.
To use frozen eggs, just pull out the number of eggs you need. Thaw for a few hours (or overnight) in a bowl, in the fridge. If you’re making up a big quiche or another large egg dish, and are going to use a whole package of eggs, just let them thaw right in the freezer bag, in the fridge. When you’re ready to use them, snip a corner off the bag, and pour them into your mixing bowl. So easy. So tidy.
This method has definitely streamlined my system for storing eggs. It’s made it so I never have to buy eggs – and I never dread using frozen ones, since these are easy to use, and not a big yellowish frozen lump, that needs to be thawed and then measured out into portions. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me!
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