Preserving eggs by water glassing

I made a cheeky video about storing eggs in my basement for months on Tik Tok (I’m @ heybigsplendor, by the way) and to my surprise, it led to a lot of people asking questions. While I’ve answered a lot of those over on the old Tok, I wanted to step through the process of preserving eggs by water glassing and my experience with it here.

Also, I’m not an expert at waterglassing – I’m just an urban homesteader who wants to preserve as much of my homegrown food as possible.

What is water glassing?

It’s an easy method of storing unwashed, homegrown eggs for without refrigeration for months.

Preserving eggs by water glassing works because unwashed fresh eggs are covered with bloom, a protective coating that seals the shell. Left unwashed, they’ll keep for a couple months on the counter, or 3-5 months in the fridge.

But when you want to keep them even longer, storing them in lime water will keep those shells sealed up for even longer.

eggs stored in pickling lime

Supplies for waterglassing eggs

This is the pickling lime I use to store my eggs. Dissolve 1 ounce lime per quart of water. WEAR GLOVES AND RESPIRATORY PROTECTION.

Use food grade plastic buckets or bins to store the eggs. Don’t overfill the buckets, they’re going to get heavy. You can fit 2-3 dozen eggs in a five gallon bucket.

What do you need to water glass eggs?

Three things – fresh, unwashed eggs, a food grade bucket, bin or jar and some pickling lime. I buy mine from Amazon because it’s convenient and comes in a resealable bag.

Pickling lime is harsh on the skin and really irritating to the throat, so please wear gloves and a mask when you’re working with it.

How to water glass eggs

Dissolve one ounce of lime powder per quart of water. The lime will ultimately separate from the water, leaving a weird film on top and some settled on the bottom.

If you use a five gallon bucket to store your eggs, you’ll need at least 4 or 5 quarts of lime water per bucket.

Put the eggs in the bucket or container. They can be stacked but don’t go too high or you may end up with some broken eggs on the bottom. Cover the eggs with lime water. Close up the container and enjoy the security of fresh eggs even in the winter.

The lime water needs to cover the eggs by at least three inches at all times. No part of any egg can be out of the lime water.

That’ll all there is to it? You normally write a book on every topic…

I know, I’m wordy, because I like to be thorough. But in this case, water glassing eggs really is that straightforward. But I’ll answer some of the questions below that I was asked on TikTok.

How long will the eggs last?

Some folks report using eggs after a full year in lime water without issue. I’ve personally used eggs that have been stored for seven months without any issues.

Do eggs change from water glassing?

Somewhat, yes. Remember, any method of food preservation changes the food. There will inevitably be some element of fresh food lost when it’s processed and preserved, that’s just the trade off. In this case, expect the egg shells to become more fragile and the yolks and whites to become thinner. The longer they’re stored, the more this will be true.

It’s best to use these eggs for scrambles or frittatas, or for baking rather than perfect eggs over easy. Assume the yolks will break when you crack them, though plenty of them do not.

What about the taste? How do water glassed eggs taste?

Keep in mind that no egg will ever taste quite as good as the one a hen laid this morning. I have not noticed a particular difference in the taste of water glassed eggs and any of the eggs we’ve stored in the fridge. My husband feels like the glasses eggs have a slightly different, but not worse, flavor.

Do water glassed eggs smell?

Not that I’ve noticed. Even when one egg broke in the lime and sat there for months, there was no odor. The broken egg just solidified in the lime water and turned a slightly green color. Not something I was excited to find, but not revolting the way a broken ‘old’ egg would be in normal conditions.

Where should you store them?

Anywhere they won’t be exposed to wild temperature fluctuations or lots of sunlight. Mine are in the basement. Make sure the temperature is between 40 and 75 degrees.

Preserving eggs by water glassing still seems weird. Are you sure this is legit?

It’s as legit as any other form of food preservation. Which is to say it might seem weird at first but once you try it, it seems completely normal. There’s nothing magical about it, you’re simply helping keep the eggshell impervious to outside factors that will make the egg break down and spoil.

These photos show the same pair of eggs. The egg on the left in both images was stored in pickling lime for 5 months, the egg on the right was laid the day before cracking.

differences between fresh eggs and water glass eggs
effects of water glassing eggs

Every Friday, I send out an email with my latest posts, helpful hints or news. If you’d like to hear from me, enter your email below.

As a bonus, you’ll receive Splendor on a Shoestring, my guide to sourcing china, linens & silver on a budget.