I’m feeling nostalgic for summer days. Bushels of tomatoes. Sweet strawberries. Corn as high as an elephant’s eye. And not least of all, a backyard brood of chickens in full production mode, cranking out eggs far faster than we could keep up with. Neighbors, friends and co-workers shared in the bounty, often wondering what they would do with the dozens of eggs I cheerfully foisted on them at every opportunity. How things have changed. Shorter days and cool weather have a huge impact on a chicken’s laying cycle. From the time of the fall molt until the return of sunnier days, a warm weather haul of six or seven eggs a day from my eight birds becomes less consistent, falling as low as just one or two a day. I may not be showing up to every social event with cartons of eggs during the winter season, but following a few simple rules for freezing eggs when the surplus was high means we have plenty to get us through until spring without having to resort to buying them at the store. Perish the thought.
Popping an egg in its shell into the freezer will lead to messy results, of course. But simply cracking a dozen eggs into a container for freezer storage leads to problems of its own. If one requires a couple of eggs to complete a recipe, thawing the whole batch and measuring out egg equivalents is impractical and kind of a pain in the neck.
An ice cube tray provides a no-muss no-fuss solution to the problem. Filling the tray with portioned amounts, the frozen results can be transferred into Ziploc bags or other freezer safe containers for future use. Rather than dealing with an unwieldy mass of egg, each cube can be removed from the freezer and thawed for use on an egg-by-egg basis.
The egg and yolk may be frozen together or separated to meet future baking or cooking needs. Depending on your plans, a little attention is necessary for satisfying results.
Freezing Whole Eggs
Break eggs into a bowl or measuring cup and beat them enough to integrate the white and yolk. Take care to avoid beating too much air into the mix. Measure 3 tablespoons (the equivalent of one large egg) into each cell of the ice cube tray. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Transfer cubes into a storage container and label with the date frozen.
Whites require no special preparation before freezing. Remove the yolks from eggs and measure in 2 tablespoon amounts into trays. Cover, freeze transfer and label.
The yolks are a little trickier. Unaltered, egg yolks tend to become lumpy and gelatinous when frozen. This can be remedied by stirring in either salt or sugar. Either will work, but I tend to use salt to avoid sweetening savory dishes. Separate yolks from whites and place in a measuring cup. Stir in ⅛ teaspoon of salt or 1 ½ teaspoon of sugar for every ¼ cup of yolk (about 4 yolks). Measure into the ice cube tray in 1 tablespoon amounts. Cover, freeze, transfer for storage and label with the date and what additive you used.
Eggs will hold up in the freezer for up to a year, but hopefully it won’t take the chickens that long to get back to business. Frozen eggs aren’t quite as good as those taken fresh from the nest, but your winter baked goods will never know the difference.