Sunday, 14 November 2010

Goodlifey science: The great frozen egg 'eggsperiment'

In real life I love science and riddles, especially the 'how can I do that stuff' - Like poor old Tom Goode I'm a great one for an experiment - especially the goodlifey type. I was asked the other day what to do with alot of eggs - well you can always bake with them, make quiches, omelletes, fruit curds or of course my favourite - boiled eggs, scrambled eggs etc.  Like many folk I've taken to having hen in the garden - and from what I've heard keeping them at home by familes is on the up - a good blog about hen keeping on the up at home here by an inspiring blogger who's living a very frugal life.

But, when thinking about our 'good life' adventure - what I wanted to find out was if I've a glut of eggs (like I had after I came back from holiday - 60 eggs!!!) and what can I do to have my own eggs over the months when maybe the hens are not laying and quite frankly I don't want to spend £2.40 on a dozen eggs! Time for a bit of action in the good-life lab to figure it out.............

I've been told the hens need 14hr of daylight to lay - and when the nights draw in they might well either slow down or tail off. The hens will get a lovely rest but I would like to have eggs over those months. Anyway - being the adventureous type - I tried to freeze a whole egg - this worked but the shell cracked and I've read if it does then bacteria can get into the egg and thats not great. Plan B I think! Now I know I can cook eggs and freeze them I've done it for my McMuffiny things - cooked egg works brilliantly - but what about raw eggs - it got me thinking, back to the lab again................

I'd also been told of separating the eggs and freezing the white and the yoke seperately - and frankly I'm too lazy, life is just too short in my opinion to be doing all that faffing. I'd rather be in the garden - egg glut or not - lifes too short to do complicated things with our food to freeze - I take my hat off to those of you who do have the energy to do it - I'd rather put my feet up in the campervan with a good book or at the beach!

Anyways - I'd read you could freeze them when they've been beaten up - done that before and its worked a treat. I wanted the eggs saved in individual portions as often we have yorkshire puddings which will need one or two eggs depending on the amount you're making - and we do like baking cakes etc - so I had a think and came up with a silicone baking tray as the most useful thing I could freeze my eggs in - its flexible enough to wrestle the eggs out of when they are frozen, to store them and can be cleaned thoroughly in a dishwasher/hot water to prevent germs.   The goodlifey lab - looks very like a normal family kitchen but don't be fooled - alot of experiments are done in the handy secret lab.
A silicone baking tray, half a dozen eggs to freeze
Anyway I had a go - here is the tray and the eggs ready for the grand goodlifey science egg freezing 'eggsperiment' (tee hee). Now normally I'd use a plastic bag in a cup - or someting from the cupboards to do this - but I want a bit of kit which will work for this without much effort and I'll use alot - so I had a voucher to use up and bought a lovely silicone bun tray with 6 holes as I normally have 6 eggs a day from the hens.
Beaten egg - individual portion
I beat them up in a wee bowl and then popped them into their individual freezing compartments - worked a treat - I found out to my horror when I nearly slopped the mixture on the lab floor that to put them into the freezer I'd need a tray underneath them to take them through carefully. I'm learning as I go really. Anyway that worked well and meant I could have eggs beaten in one egg quantities for cakes, scrambled eggs and for yorkshire puddings which are a staple in this house over the winter. I emptied the frozen eggs from the silicone mould into a zip bag which is in the freezer - keeps them together and nice and airtight - and uses alot less space - I've a bag for whole eggs one for beaten eggs. Now to try and tackle the next bit - can I freeze an egg whole to have poached and fried eggs over the winter time..............................

Whole egg  - into the baking tray
Well - this bit I was more nervous of - but I have to say it worked a treat - I defrosted an egg in a little bowl overnight and managed a lovely fried egg from my previously frozen egg - BRILLIANT worked a treat! But, when I did try and mix a whole frozen egg up after it had been frozen - not too great, ok that meant the yoke consistency was too viscous to mix well - I think I'll save them both ways - mixed and unmixed in the freezer to give me more choice.

We keep a tray in the bottom of the oven to put our shells in as we use our eggs, we bake the eggshells after we've used them - they break down easier

Now after all that effort of laying the eggs etc - the hens need alot of taking care of to keep them in tip top shape - I mean imagine producing an egg a day - hard work or what!? We recycle the egg shells back to the hens - (you can put them on your garden too), but I'd heard that you have to be careful doing this as if they aren't broken down enough the hens might start to peck at freshly laid eggs - and we didn't want that. Baking the shells makes them more brittle and they nicely mix down in a blender or a hand pestle and mortar (which we use to save energy) - the crushed shells go back into the bag of mixed grain they have and they don't really see it. Now baking them does smell a bit funny - not too bad in my opinion - but some folk don't like it - we only use the oven for eggs when we've something else cooking - I wouldn't waste the energy just to bake eggs. We do feed them a supplement for grit etc too - the shells are good at giving them minerals back - but they do need proper food too.

There you are - eggs in the freezer ready for action - hens getting their shells recycled - and lovely lovely eggs for us - hopefully all year round! Next time you're in your own lab (it might look like your kitchen!) - try a bit of eggsperimenting - sorry I meant - experimenting.


  1. Excellent idea.
    My husband did ask what was the difference if the shell breaks with the bacteria and putting them in the freezer without shells?
    Hope that makes sense

  2. eggstrawdinarily ingeniuos Pippi. I have just read this to OH who is giggling at my "in aweness" of you! And finds it funny that I want to have chickens!

  3. To be honest sue I'm not sure why them in the freezer in the shells and cracking would be bad - the bit I read about it wasn't conclusive - unless the egg shell bacteria can survive below -20 - I think maybe its a bit cautious due to what 'could' happen if there were bacteria in there that wasn't killed - might be quite nasty, especially if you like your eggs a bit raw when cooked - so for now I'm erring on the side of caution - they also crack and make a mess to be honest - when you defrost them they leak out if frozen in the shell - which is OK but as they need cracked anyway - I'd rather be safer than sorry. Made perfect sense your question and he's more than likely right - probably no difference! Thank you for the comment - lovely when people pop past!

    Cheri - hens are amazing - I love them - they are just brilliant - even one or two in a small garden will give you hours of fun - I think you're eggtraordinary too :) (sorry about the eggy yoke..............)!!

  4. Hiya! I'm so glad I read this - I was thinking "but putting them in the freezer in the silicon tray must take *such* a lot of room" - and you don't, you *freeze* them in it and then stack them. Eggscellent!

    From Karmacat

  5. I don't make things very clear sometimes - yup the eggs go in a bag in the freezer once they are frozen - at the moment - I'd not get away with anything that took up too much room - after a couple of my latest 10p lady bounties - I can hardly move in there! We're lucky we have the space.

    Thanks for popping past :)

  6. This is why I want a freezer *stamps foot* Great experiment

  7. Fantastic work there to find all that out for the rest of us - now as and when thoe of us without hens find some bargain FR ones in the supermarket we'll know how to keep them for later use! Egg-citing stuff!