Many people are aware that there is currently a shortage of chicken eggs in many parts of the world. This shortage has been caused by a number of factors, primarily due to avian flu and the destruction of many egg-laying hens. Other things that have impacted the egg shortage have been the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues on egg production and distribution, and the growing demand for eggs as a source of protein.
If you have not been paying attention, the cost of eggs is also going up drastically. The average cost of a large dozen eggs is sitting at $3.42. When I checked, my local Kroger’s large eggs were going for $3.85 a dozen. Extra large eggs are going for $4.95.
I had a community member send me a picture that she got from a friend who lives in New York, and they are paying $9.19 for a dozen large organic eggs.
This is insane, and it is getting to the point where people are going not to be able to afford to buy food.
If you rely on eggs as a regular part of your diet, it’s essential to have a plan in place to ensure you have a steady supply of eggs even during shortages.
With that, I have compiled some tips for preparing for the chicken egg shortage that we will experience.
- Stock up when eggs are available: If you see that eggs are available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, consider buying more than you usually would. You can store eggs in the refrigerator for several weeks or freeze them for longer-term storage. Just be sure to mark the date on the egg carton, so you know how long they’ve been stored.
- Explore alternative sources of protein: If eggs are not available, you can include many other protein sources in your diet. These include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and seeds. You can also incorporate more plant-based protein sources into your meals, such as quinoa, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Consider raising your own chickens: If you have the space and resources, consider raising your own chickens for eggs. This will not only provide you with a steady supply of eggs, but it can also be a fun and rewarding hobby. Just be sure to do your research and follow local laws and regulations when it comes to raising chickens.
- If you raise your own eggs, consider using methods to preserve the eggs for more extended storage, such as “water glassing” eggs. I will share this and other preservation methods below.
- Learn how to use eggs in different ways: If you’re used to using eggs in a certain way (such as scrambled or fried), try expanding your culinary horizons and learning how to use eggs in different recipes. For example, you can use eggs to make omelets, frittatas, quiches, or baked goods like cakes and muffins. This will help you get more use out of your eggs and reduce waste.
- Stay informed: Keep an eye on the news and stay up to date on the latest developments when it comes to the chicken egg shortage. This will help you stay prepared and make informed decisions about your egg consumption.
Means To Preserve Your Eggs for Long-Term Storage
If you raise your own chickens, you know you will have many eggs to deal with, and you can’t eat all of the eggs produced daily. So, you will have excess, and you want to be able to keep as many of those eggs as you can.
Another problem many people need help with is that they cannot raise their own chickens for eggs and only have access to store-bought eggs. There are several methods of preserving your store-bought and farm-raised eggs.
Pickling Your Store-Bought or Farm-Raised Eggs
Pickling eggs is relatively easy; follow these steps:
- Wash the eggs thoroughly in cool water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Carefully place the eggs in the boiling water using a slotted spoon or tongs.
- Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. This helps to loosen the shells and make them easier to peel.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the eggs for 10-12 minutes for large eggs. For medium eggs, simmer for 8-10 minutes. For small eggs, simmer for 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the eggs from the boiling water using a slotted spoon or tongs and place them in a bowl of cold water. Let them cool down in the cold water for a few minutes.
- Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, gently tap them all over with the back of a spoon to crack the shells. Be careful not to break the eggs.
- Peel the shells off the eggs, starting at the large end where the air pocket is located. The shells should come off quickly due to the baking soda in the water.
- Rinse the peeled eggs under cold running water to remove any bits of shell.
- Place the peeled eggs in a jar or container and cover them with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. The eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.
NOTE – you can add different spices, such as pickling spices, to this mixture to give your eggs more flavor. Experiment with the different spice brines and see what works well for you.
Dehydrate Your Store-Bought or Farm-Raised Eggs
As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of using a dehydrator. I have had a dehydrator now for over 20 years, and the one I lean on is the Excalibur 9-tray Dehydrator. This is a workhorse with both forced air and variable heat settings.
NOTE: I would not try dehydrating eggs using one of those round Ronco types of dehydrators. You need forced air and proper temperature control.
To dehydrate eggs for long-term storage using a dehydrator, you will need to follow these steps:
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them until they are well mixed.
- Pour the beaten eggs onto a dehydrator tray lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. If you plan on doing this regularly, I would invest in silicone mats with a raised edge around the mat to prevent the egg mixture from spilling over and onto other trays or the bottom of your dehydrator.
- Use a spatula to spread the eggs out into a thin, even layer on the tray.
- Place the tray in the dehydrator and set the temperature to 145°F.
- Dehydrate the eggs for 8-12 hours or until they are dehydrated and crumbly. The exact drying time will depend on the humidity level and the thickness of the egg mixture.
- Once the eggs are fully dehydrated, remove the tray from the dehydrator and allow the eggs to cool completely.
- Break the dried eggs into small pieces and place them in an airtight container. What works best is running them through a food processor. This will break the eggs down for better storage. I then transfer this egg powder to a mason jar and add an oxygen absorber to the jar to keep the eggs fresh. The eggs can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
To reconstitute the dried eggs, add a small amount of water (about 1 tablespoon per egg) and mix well. Allow the eggs to sit for a few minutes to absorb the water, then use them as you would fresh eggs in your recipes. Dehydrating eggs is an excellent way to preserve them for a more extended period of time and ensure that you have a steady supply of eggs even during shortages.
Water Glassing Your Farm-Raised Eggs
A special note here, you cannot water glass store-bought eggs. The eggs must be fresh and clean of any debris but unwashed (unwashed is essential!). You cannot use store-bought eggs for water glassing because eggs from the store have been washed and bleached, which destroys the egg’s bloom coating.
What You Will Need
Two types of material can be used to water glass eggs: sodium silicate and lime (calcium hydroxide).
The type of lime used is pickling lime, hydrated lime, and slaked lime. These products are harsh on the skin and should be used cautiously; however, they do an excellent job sealing the eggshell in order to preserve eggs long-term.
Sodium silicate is a food-grade chemical material and commonly used to seal concrete surfaces.
Lime is a more natural substance and a lot more comfortable for people to use. I prefer using pickling lime which is found in the canning section of your local market and is what most preppers use.
It is best to use water free of chlorine, fluoride, and high in minerals. Distilled water or natural spring water are the best options for water-glassing eggs. If your city does add chlorine to the water, boil the water and allow it to cool completely before using it.
1-Gallon glass jars with a tight lid
Hydrated lime (pickling lime)
Distilled water or natural spring water
Fresh eggs, clean and unwashed
Water Glassing Your Farm-Raised Eggs
- In your 1-gallon glass jar, add an equal ratio of water to lime. 3 quarts water to three ounces of lime. This will provide enough room for the eggs to be submerged. No matter what, the best practices are to use the ratio of one quart of water to one ounce of lime regardless of the container size.
- Mix the pickling lime and water until completely dissolved.
- Next, gently add eggs to the liquid. Add with the pointy side downs allowing the air cells to remain at the tops of the eggs.
- Securely add the lid to the jar to prevent the liquid from evaporating and the eggs from becoming exposed to air. Store the water-glass eggs in a cool dark location, withdrawing eggs as needed, and wash well prior to using.
NOTE – Put a date on your jar, so you know the age of the eggs you are preserving, and make sure you rotate your egg stock.
Smoking Your Store-Bought and Farm-Raised Eggs
OK… I have to admit that I have not tried this one; one of my fellow church members shared this tip with me. The result is a nicely smoked egg that has the consistency of a boiled egg.
Long-term storage wise, you can only store them for a short term; you are looking at a couple of weeks to a month.
When she told me what to do, it was like, “THIS IS EASY,” and it is something that I have put at the top of my bucket list.
- Preheat a smoker grill to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Add wood chips according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Place whole eggs directly on the grate of the preheated smoker. Cook, without turning, for 2 hours, maintaining an even temperature.
- Transfer eggs to a plate and allow to cool completely before peeling. Season with salt and pepper and eat.
She told me to keep my smoker at an even temperature throughout the cooking process; sharp temperature changes will bust your eggs, and you don’t want to have that mess to clean up.
And naturally, the more smoke you make, the more flavor the eggs absorb.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you have a steady supply of eggs even during times of shortage. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for potential disruptions to your food supply, and having a plan in place can give you peace of mind and help you stay healthy and nourished.
If you have any ideas on preserving eggs for long-term storage, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and share your ideas. We are all in this together, and we all benefit by sharing tips and tricks.
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One thought on “The Coming Chicken Egg Shortage in The U.S. in 2023: How to Prepare”
Freeze drying is another long term storage option.
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