Egg laying natural slows at various times of the year due to the heat, shorter days, molting etc. [Read more here...] But if you plan ahead and freeze some of your eggs when they are plentiful, you won't end up having to resort to buying store bought (icky) eggs.
Last night I left two eggs in a basket down at the barn and they froze, cracking as the whites expanded. They had to be tossed out, but there actually is a way to freeze your surplus eggs for later use.
FREEZING WHOLE EGGS:
Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk, trying not to incorporate any air. Or you can crack the eggs into a strainer set over a large bowl and then gently push the yolks through the strainer with a rubber spatula. The idea is not to add any air bubbles into the egg but get it mixed and the yolks broken.
Add 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of egg mixture to prevent graininess (or you can add 1 Tablespoon of sugar instead if you will be using the eggs for baking sweet desserts). If you don't mind the texture changing a bit, you can also skip this step and omit any salt or sugar.
Measure the egg mixture out into 3 Tablespoon portions (3T = one whole egg) and package into individual containers or ice cube trays and freeze until solid. If using ice cube trays, pop out the frozen cubes, repackage in a freezer bag and return to the freezer. Be sure to mark whether you have added salt or sugar to the eggs.
FREEZING EGG YOLKS:
Separate yolks and whisk lightly, adding 1/2 teaspoon salt (or 1-1/2 Tablespoons of sugar) per cup of yolk. Measure out and freeze as above (one Tablespoon equals one egg yolk).
FREEZING EGG WHITES:
Separate egg whites and whisk lightly. You do not need to add any salt or sugar. Measure out and freeze as above (two Tablespoons equals one egg white).
Frozen egg portions - both whole and separated eggs - will last in the freezer for at least 6 months. When you are ready to use them, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator. Use the defrosted eggs immediately and only in recipes where the egg is fully cooked, or add directly to a skillet or pan if you are scrambling them.
Last week I defrosted some eggs I had frozen in September and they made wonderful scrambled eggs. I couldn't tell a difference between these and scrambled eggs made from fresh eggs.
You can also bake with them. Quiches, frittatas and other egg dishes come out virtually the same as using fresh eggs, as do cookies, breads and cakes...
So next summer when you have a surplus of eggs, try freezing some. I also find this is a great way to use pullet eggs in baking, since they are smaller than the large eggs generally called for in recipes, and its hard to guess how may pullet eggs equals one large egg. But by measuring out the egg mixture, you are assured of using the correct number of 'eggs' in a recipe.
I decided not to add any supplemental light this year to our coop, and between the sporadic laying and the eggs I froze at the end of the summer, we've had more than enough. I like to give the girls a break in the winter because they work so hard the rest of the year providing us with their beautiful fresh eggs. By allowing them to take the winters off, which is their natural cycle, they have a chance to replenish their calcium stores which are so important for strong shells and their protein stores which are low from their fall molt.. Read more about supplemental winter coop light HERE.
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