We have put away a lot of our eggs this year in the spring peak time, aiming to have enough for baking (and eating) when the hens take it easier in the short winter days. We, the generation with a supermarket down the road, have forgotten that people used to have to make do with the seasonal availability of goods, that there was such things as the hungry gap when your stored vegetables were pretty much gone and not much was coming out of the ground. I like to remember this as it makes me appreciate the arrival of fruit and particular vegetables more (and I’m not a fan of supermarket life), if I wait for the right time. And I also know that when you stick to stuff in season, not forced, it is full of the intended nutrients.
I’ve asked my older neighbours about preserving eggs, they say they used to buy a packet at the chemists of a solution that one added water to. In my collection of Household encyclopedias which I treasure I have read of ‘hourglass’ which I take to be based on lime. In The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable, Juliette de Baïracli Levy’s excellent volume (published by Faber and Faber) which I have already recommended in this blog, there was a method which seemed much more up our street.
“Four ounces of beeswax should be melted slowly in eight ounces of olive oil and the eggs dipped in the mixture when still warm. Care should be taken to see that all parts of each egg are well immersed. Wipe with a soft cloth, and then carefully store in airtight jars or tins, filled with coarse sea salt or powdered charcoal, all eggs completely covered and not touching each other, small ends (point) downwards. For successful storage, eggs must be fresh laid : keeping time about one year.”
So we did what we could with that, dipping eggs did not work for us as the solution was setting too fast and we ended up with too thick a coating, so we dipped our fingers and gently massaged the eggs with the creamy stuff (and how soft our hands were in the process!). And as we did not have coarse salt handy we used fine salt. Now we have over 100 eggs in three sealed buckets and we have also crossed our fingers. I’ll report when we tuck into them. My neighbours said all should be fine, as for them, apart from one they no longer keep hens and get all they need in the supermarket.