Do you give away a lot of your flock's produce during the summer months, to the point when neighbours start saying: "please – no more eggs!"?.
They're not ungrateful, there are just soooooo many!
If that sounds familiar, here's a possible solution for you...
Try freezing your chickens' eggs!
It may sound strange, but frozen eggs can be kept for up to one year in your freezer, then defrosted and used in just about any recipe you can think of.
There's only one caveat to this: don't use defrosted egg raw. Make sure the recipe you use frozen eggs for cooks them well.
If that sounds like a great idea to you – let's do it!
There are three ways of freezing eggs: whole, just the white and just the yolk.
Let's deal with freezing the whole egg first.
Freezing whole eggs isn't difficult. You can use an ordinary freezer container and add as many eggs as you like in one solid block.
That's not very convenient when it comes to using the eggs for cooking, though. How to know the number of eggs in the block, or even part of the block?
A more convenient way is to store them as individual eggs. That way, when you come to defrost them you know exactly how much frozen solution equals one egg.
Don't use an electric whisk or even a hand beater for this.
If you beat it any harder you'll add too much air, which will make it rubbery when you defrost and use it later.
Lots of lovely chicken eggs to use during those less productive winter months!
If you regularly use whites alone, you can freeze them separately to the yolk.
Like whole eggs, whites will last for up to one year in your freezer. They can be used as normal in any recipe.
Freezing egg whites has been found to improve their ability to foam when defrosted, so they're particularly good for creating light sponges and meringues, for example.(1)
It's possible to freeze the yolk of a chicken egg separately too, but it requires a little more attention.
If frozen by themselves, yolks tend to go thick and lumpy when defrosted. In that state they won't be any use for recipes.
If you'll be using the yolks for savoury dishes when defrosted, stir in one quarter teaspoon of salt per six yolks (not per yolk!) before freezing.
If you're more likely to use them for sweet things, add 2¼ teaspoons of sugar per yolk.(2)
Then just add to your freezer tray as before.
Note: the defrosted eggs can make dishes taste slightly salty or sweet when used in recipes as a result of using these additives. Cut down the amounts used in recipes accordingly.
It's possible to freeze cooked eggs, but not recommended in terms of taste and texture.
The consistency of cooked eggs changes when they're frozen, so whether you try to freeze scrambled, hard boiled, fried or poached, they tend to go hard and very rubbery when defrosted.
Much better to freeze them raw.
This is not only not recommended, it can be dangerous to health.
Freezing liquids makes them expand. If you try to freeze chicken eggs in their shell, the shell will crack. The egg is then susceptible to bacterial infection.(3)
So remove them from the shell before freezing.
Cooked egg dishes like casseroles and quiches can be frozen, but should be used within two or three months.
It's critical to cool cooked dishes quickly and freeze immediately they're cold, so that bacteria don't have a chance to multiply.(4)
Cutting egg dishes like quiches into individual slices can help both cool and freeze them more quickly than leaving it whole.
The best containers to use when freezing eggs are silicone. They are far easier to pop out than using metal or plastic trays, which generally need to be run under warm water to free the contents.
Using warm water can partially defrost the eggs, which introduces the potential for bacteria to form.
Something like this tray is excellent as it has a lid, which prevents spillage when the eggs are still liquid.
It's also great for storage, so if you want to keep your frozen eggs (or ice cubes!) in the container rather than bagging them, you can stack it in the freezer sideways. It takes up less room than a bag.
Alternatively, if you're freezing a large number of eggs, a silicone muffin tray may be a better option – less fiddly than ice cube blocks.
Whichever you use, make sure to label the freezer bags so that you're sure how many blocks equals one egg.
The Egg Skelter is one of my favourite pieces of kitchen equipment. I've had mine now for several years, and it still looks as good as it did the day I bought it.
I've also bought these for various friends and relatives over the years, and everyone has loved them.
They make a really useful and very unusual Christmas or birthday gift!
To see my review and find out where to buy them, click here or on the pic.
A lot of "facts" you'll find on the internet are often people's individual views, based on inaccurate information repeated from poor quality sources.
The information I provide in this article and others is based not just on my own experience, but on evidenced facts from scientific, peer-reviewed research and books from highly respected and experienced poultry keepers such as Gail Damerow.
Some of the trusted sources I have used in this article are these.
1. Duan, X., et al: Effect of a multiple freeze-thaw process on structural and foaming properties of individual egg white proteins. Pub. Journal of Food Chemistry, 2017.
2. Primacella, M., et al: Effect of food additives on egg yolk gelation induced by freezing. Pub. Journal of Food Chemistry, 2018.
3. Liu, Y. C., et al: Determination of the quality of stripe-marked and cracked eggs during storage. Pub. National Centre for Biotechnology Information, 2017.
4. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Egg Products and Food Safety. Pub. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 2015.
5. U.S. Department of Agriculture: The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. Pub. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 2013.