We have an abundance of milk and eggs on our farm due to our milk cow and a flock of laying hens. Production slows a bit in winter, so I preserve eggs and milk to tide us over in the cooler months. In the summertime, though, we run two fridges just to keep up with it all! Long-term storage of milk and eggs also offers the added benefit of freeing up our second fridge for other purposes.
These are some of the different ways I’ve experimented with to save the precious bounty.
Preserving Eggs and Milk: Do I Freeze, Can, or Dehydrate?
I focused on freezing, canning, and dehydrating to preserve eggs and milk, although there are others. Instructions for completing each method, pros and cons, and my recommendations are below. You can decide which method would be best for you and your family, and your food storage needs.
Freezing: Takes up a lot of space in the freezer, but the prep is quick and easy
Freezing is the least time-consuming method for long-term storage, but it is also the most energy-dependent one. Eggs and milk can be frozen in many different containers: freezer bags, jars, plastic freezer containers. They perform much like the fresh version when thawed and used.
If using farm-fresh raw milk, freeze the cream separately. When thawed, the cream will sit on top of the milk in flakes and the two will not mix, no matter how hard you shake the jar!
To freeze milk, simply pour it into your chosen container, leaving room for the milk to swell. My container of choice is Ziploc freezer bags. I pour 1/2 gallon of milk in a 1-gallon freezer bag and lay it flat in the freezer until frozen solid. They’re easy to stack this way.
Preparing eggs for freezing is also extremely quick and easy. Simply break them into a bowl, beat to combine the yolks and whites, or push through a strainer, and pour them into your container. Label and freeze. To save space, I pour the eggs into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, remove them from the tray and place them in a freezer bag.
Frozen Egg Equivalencies
- 1 “egg cube” = approximately 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons frozen, thawed egg = 1 whole fresh egg
- 2 tablespoons egg white = 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon yolk = 1 egg yolk
The beauty of freezing eggs in smaller amounts, such as in an ice cube tray, is that they thaw quickly. I can throw together a really quick meal. Between quiches, frittatas, and even “breakfast for dinner,” I’m never at a loss for a great egg-based recipe!
Canning: Works great for milk, but turns eggs green
This method works great for preserving milk, but I don’t recommend it for eggs.
I’ve canned milk for a long time and used it with much success. The result is most like the evaporated milk purchased at the grocery store. It has a slight caramel color and tastes most like fresh milk when diluted 1/2 and 1/2 with water.
How To Can Milk in a Pressure Canner
These are basic instructions and require some canning knowledge to complete.
- Fill pressure canner to fill line with tepid water. Do NOT pre-heat the canner, leave the stove off while you prepare the jars.
- Pour milk into sterilized jars, and add warmed lids and rings. (It isn’t necessary to warm the milk before adding it to the jars.)
- Place jars of milk in a pressure canner and attach the canner lid. Turn the stove onto a med-high heat and allow the canner to heat and the steam to vent for ten minutes.
- To safely can your milk, verify proper altitude adjustment. For my altitude of less than 1000 feet, I place the 10lb weight on my canner and let the pressure build just to 10 lbs.
- Turn the stove off and let the canner de-pressurize naturally. Remove jars and set them on a towel on the counter to cool.
- After 24 hours, remove rings and check seals.
Canning eggs is not a safe canning practice. There are no safety guidelines. However, I will tell you my own experiences with it.
When I started doing some research, I found some references to this method and pieced together some basic instructions for both water bath and pressure canning eggs. Those instructions warned that the eggs swell quite a bit while processing and turn green after sitting on the shelf. I can testify this is what happens. They turned green while they were canning, much like over-cooked hard-boiled eggs.
Not knowing how much they would swell, I only filled my jars about half full. I didn’t want them to overflow while canning. As a result, I couldn’t can them in a water bath; the jars had too much headspace and floated to the top of the water in the canner.
Therefore, my own experimentation resulted in eggs that were unappetizing.
Dehydrated: Great Long-term Storage Option Using Minimal Space
The only downfall to this method is the amount of heat the dehydrator puts out. In the hot summer months, it might be a better idea to freeze the eggs and then thaw and dehydrate them when it is cooler outside (especially if you don’t have an air conditioner in your house.)
If you don’t live in a humid area, you could try using the dehydrator outside. In humid areas, however, the additional moisture in the air could strain the unit and cause failure.
Powdered eggs don’t sound appealing, but when reconstituted, have a taste and texture very similar to fresh or frozen eggs. You can beat the eggs together and dry them or dry the whites and the yolks separately. Reconstituted eggs can be used the same as fresh eggs. You can even use the dried egg whites to make a nice fluffy meringue!
I dried a dozen eggs and blended them into crumbles and they fit into a 12-ounce jar. If I had blended them even more, into a powder, I’m sure I could fit that whole dozen into a 1/2 pint jar. That would be 4 dozen dehydrated eggs per quart jar. What a great use of space!
How To Dehydrate Eggs
- Line the trays of your dehydrator with parchment or wax paper, folding up all the edges to form a tray so the liquid eggs won’t slide off and make a mess.
- Break your eggs and stir to combine, or separate them and dry the whites and yolks on two different trays.
- Slowly pour the egg onto the tray, moving your bowl around so as not to pool them in the middle. I also used a spoon to spread the eggs to the edges of the tray. You will want a very thin layer so they dry evenly.
- Dehydrate at 135 degrees for 6 to 8 hours or until no moisture is left. It took about 6 hours for a dozen eggs on one tray to fully dehydrate in my Excalibur 9 tray model. I stirred about halfway through as skin had formed on the top and the outside edges.
- Once dried, you can crumble the eggs up and store them in a jar with a tight-fitting lid or grind or blend the crumbles into a powder. I put the egg crumbles in the blender and ground them up.
- To use, reconstitute with hot water then cook as normal. When using for baking, simply add the powdered eggs with the dry ingredients and add the same amount of water with the wet ingredients.
How to Reconstitute Dried Eggs
- 1 tablespoon powdered egg + 1 tablespoon hot water = 1 egg
And check out this tutorial if you’re wondering how to use dehydrated eggs in cooking.
I have not attempted to dehydrate milk at home. However, before we had our milk cows I always kept a couple of boxes of dried milk in my pantry for emergencies.
Bonus Ways to Preserve Eggs
As mentioned in the beginning, there are other ways to store eggs, at least, long-term. Research if any of these techniques are suited to your purposes.
- Pickling – Store eggs in a vinegar brine solution, mixed with spices. They will keep in the fridge for many months and make a great snack.
- Waterglassing – Eggs are submerged, pointed side down, in a solution of sodium silicate. Fresh eggs can be added daily. They could last as long as two years.
- Coating with mineral oil – Coat eggs in food-grade oil. Store in original container pointed side down. Flip eggs monthly to maintain yolk integrity.
- Storing in salt – Coat eggs in food-grade oil to prevent dehydration. Then, layer in salt, no egg touching another. They should last about six months.
The Methods I Chose to Preserve Milk and Eggs
After my experimentation with all of these different methods to preserve eggs and milk, I will most definitely continue to can my extra milk in jars.
For putting up eggs, dehydrating is my choice. I can’t say that I will want to eat them like scrambled eggs in the winter all of the time, but I am excited about having an abundance available for all of my holiday baking!
Even if you’re not trying to free up a second fridge, you never know when there’ll be a power outage. Not depending solely on your refrigerator is important! Employing multiple preservation methods helps better achieve layers of food storage security.
Which methods will you use to preserve eggs and milk?
This post was updated on 10/7/2021.
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81 thoughts on “3 Ways to Preserve Eggs & Milk for Long-term Storage”
You have a reference to using a second refrigerator as a cheese cave. I am a missionary in Tanzania. Cheese is unknown there, mostly. How do you make a refrigerator into a cheese cave? For instance, I have an inexpensive dorm refrigerator. But I don’t think the controls will let me set it to about 55 degrees. Isn’t that about the temp needed to make cheese? Please advise. I want to introduce the boys in our children’s home to grilled cheese sandwiches!
If you want to make cheese the best way is with a wine cooler..It is warmer than a refrigerator but the temperature is just right for making cheese.
Hi, Martha! Yes, about 55 degrees is a good temp for a lot of cheeses – if you are unable to regulate your refrigerator with the internal controls, you can use an external programmable thermostat to do it for you.
How long do you think dehydrated sealed glass jars of eggs would keep? I’ve been dehydrating them all spring but wasn’t sure about dates. I powder them and then seal them with the canister sealer on my vacuum sealer.
Hi there, good question! If they are dehydrated and stored correctly (in a cool, dark place), dehydrated eggs are said to have a shelf life of at least 5 years. If you dehydrate the whites and yolks separately, I have read that the shelf-life of those products is only up to one year.
How long do you process the milk in the canner. I am also at less than 10,000. feet.
Thank you so much,
I process the milk just until it builds up to 10 lbs of pressure, then I turn off the heat and let the canner cool naturally.
Do you know the recommended shelf life of canned milk?
Thanks so much for all of your information!!
safely 1 year – I did cases and cases of goat milk in case we had need for baby goats who lost their mothers.
What a clever idea! Kid milk replacer is not nearly as good, but canned would be a great substitute!
I’m surprised you didn’t mention storing eggs in water glass (sodium silicate). Apparently this method was quite popular in the past. Haven’t tried it myself, but it seems that the key is to use fresh, unwashed eggs (not from the store).
I dug up an old Mother Earth News article where they tested a variety of methods to store eggs.
I’m really surprised you didn’t put your raw eggs (still in the unwashed shells) in a box or barrel of salt. This is the traditional way of keeping eggs. I’ve not done it myself but plan to when I get my hens. I’ve read that the eggs last at least a year when they are totally buried in the salt. That way you have eggs and salt for survival.
Can you use your dehydrator outside? Here in Phoenix we sometimes use our crock pot outside to let it cook all day with out adding any heat to the house during the summer. Is that possible with the dehydrator too or will it not work properly?
I started using my Excaliber dehydrator out in our garage sometime last year (because I ran out of room in the house). This spring it stopped working suddenly (tho I’d never had problems w/ it before), ruining 9 trays of tomatoes. 🙁 After speaking w/ an Excaliber rep. I discovered the thermostat broke– and most likely because of the extra strain to the unit caused by the increased humidity it had to deal w/ while outside. She said they do not recommend the units be used outside for this reason. Anyway, I am not SURE this was why it broke, but it makes sense to me and I ended up moving it back inside at her suggestion. (I am in KS, and it can be humid… it might be fine in desert regions? Still, you might still want to call & check w/ the company to be sure. It was definitely an expense & inconvenience I’d rather avoid! 🙂
Interesting! I hadn’t heard that before. Thanks for sharing that information.
I have accidentally frozen eggs in the shell before and they seemed fine when I used them, but they were only frozen for a day or two. I wonder what would happen if they were put into a zip lock bag and frozen for a month or more. I might try just to see.
I have canned milk in the past using the water bath method. I found one Kerr canning book from 1945 ( I think) in the last chapter, “a bit of the unusual” on canning milk. And I also canned butter. They kept for almost 10 years.
Renee – you should use up your canned milk within a year.
Also… I was wondering about scrambling the eggs and then canning them?
As long as the seal was good, I used it.
i just say this article and they had a way to keep eggs for a long time by burying them in Salt. this link leads to the article http://www.diyhomeworld.com/10-lifehacks-from-100-years-ago-you-might-find-useful/
Don’t forget water glass for preserving eggs. I’m trying this for the first time this year.
My Grandmother (born 1893) would gather eggs in the morning, wipe them with dry cloth, dip them in pariffin, and store them in cool,dark place she called her “flower pit”. I know these eggs were good for at least a year.
I don’t have and can’t afford a dehydrator. Can eggs be dehydrated in a regular oven?
Why not store them the traditional way in a barrel of salt. As long as the shell doesn’t get air to it then they stay fresh a long time. That way we have the salt and the eggs in the same space.
(I wouldn’t want to ingest paraffin that had been absorbed through the shell, lol)
How long can the frozen eggs keep before freezer burning ?
A salt barrel would take up a lot of room and you would run the risk of breaking eggs when you take some out or put more in. It would probably work great for small amounts. Coating eggs in olive oil works the same way as paraffin. They do not keep as long (about 7-9 months), but you can put them in egg cartons and stack them in a cool pantry without taking up a lot of room.
Mineral oil works for that as well. I remember reading that you’re supposed to turn them over every two or three weeks, but I’m not sure why that is.
Was wondering …do you know anything about the solar or air dehydrators, and whether using this method would cause spoilage…I am guessing it might be a little slower on the process but thinking of buying one.
I saw on TV that if you rub mineral oil all over eggs in a shell and turn them monthly in their carton, you could leave them in a cool dry place and they would last up to a year. Is this possible?
I did this and mine lasted 2 months but we go through eggs here like crazy! They tasted great and were pretty fresh. If you collect fresh eggs from your morning chores, wipe them clean, dip them in paraffin or we use our own beeswax and put them in a 55 degree place that’s dark, they will last a long time….a “cool” hay box might work…in the reverse of a “warm” hay box we use in place of a crock pot.
Salt will cause the eggs to lose moisture. The shells are porous. You can Google preserving eggs and find an article from Utah State or University…I can’t remember which one, and find results from all of the testing done.
About milk and cheese – I have learned from one of the eldest locals that he witnessed cheese made in Mexico or South America by simply leaving a gallon jar of milk out in the sun for a few days until well clotted. You could, as Little Miss Muffet, eat as “curds & whey” at this point or strain the solids with cloth, dry a short while, salt and you have “caso blanco” (white cheese) or “farmers cheese”. I have even done this with pasteurized “whole” milk but it is much better with WHOLE fresh milk and cream – mild and tasty. The salt is optional for preservation and slows further growth but you can also start with this, dry under the pressure of heavy weights and make “hard” cheese – of which there are thousands of specific recipes Use the whey as liquid in any kind of cooking as it is nutritious and lends flavor. A Dios… Happy Trails to You….. Don’t let any ol’ spider scare you away from your meal!
What is moderation? – I hope not selective editing or publishing……..
You can coat an unbroken egg with mineral oil to make them shelf stable at 50 degrees or less.
Can you preserve extra store bought milk the same way?
My daughter is allergic to dairy. I have to administer an Epipen shot to keep her from going I to anaphylaxis. Would anyone know, or has anyone tried any of these methods with soy milk? I am definitely going to try the frozen egg method.
Judith – There would be no point to preserving soy milk as it is made with dried soybeans. You rehydrate them by dumping them in water and letting them soak overnight. The next day you grind, strain, and flavor with sugar/honey/vanilla if you wish. As long as you have dried soybeans you can make homemade soy milk. Here’s a video to show you how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NmTtIE4yy8
i freeze soy milk all of the time. I am on a restrictive diet and dairy is a no no.
Those storing eggs wiped in oil need to remember to flip them once a month. If not the yolks get really runny and don’t last as long.
We have buried fresh eggs in lard or other fat. They will keep at least a year!
I ‘d put a table next to an outlet outside. Put dehydrator on it. Heat stays outside. I can outside too. Prep in house and cook it outside.
This worked when I lived in Phoenix. Now that I’m in east Texas, the humidity causes real problems for me! I have to dehydrate indoors all the time now.
If dehydrating in a regular oven, what would you set the temperature at and how long would you keep them in for? Thank you.
Kim, set the temperature at the lowest setting and plan on the process taking at least 6-8 hours.
Very helpful article. Thank you….
Didn’t see the answer to the question of how long do the frozen eggs last ( made in the ice cube trays)
Sandy, if those eggs are frozen at zero degrees and kept at that temperature consistently, they’ll last indefinitely. You probably should date them, though, with a Sharpie marker and rotate through them occasionally. It’s possible they could be affected by freezer burn or could pick up the smell or flavor of other foods in the freezer.
You mentioned that you wouldn’t eat the dehydrated eggs as scrambled through the winter. Could you explain why? I’m thinking of dehydrating eggs for our backpacking trip.
The author just meant that it would get boring to eat dehydrated eggs all winter long! They’ll be fine for your backpacking trip, no matter when you go. 🙂
One other way I store eggs is to first make egg noodles from them (1 egg per 1/2 c. flour) and dry the noodles overnight on the kitchen counter. Then I store them as dried pasta products, in zip-lock bags. Some I freeze, though, just in any old plastic container. Wonderful addition to soups in winter, and so easy.
I had not thought of doing that with my extra eggs! great way to use them up! 🙂 I always have a ton of flour on hand and extra eggs………not anymore. 🙂
How long do they keep dried and stored in the Ziploc bags?
Store-bought noodles can have a shelf life up to 2 years. For homemade noodles, it will be important to keep an eye on them since they might develop mold, depending on whether or not any moisture remains in the noodles themselves.
I have an electric pressure cooker/canner how would you can milk in this type of canner?
How i dehydrate without microwave oven?
Use any type of food dehydrator.
Nobody mentioned pickled eggs? Quite popular in England. Granted, you won’t be able to use them for omelets or cakes… but they work well in salads, kedgeree, with antipasti for lunch, or in egg sandwiches (cut up and mixed with mayo and watercress). Here is a recipe: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/member-recipes/recipe-detail/3527/
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Here’s a tip from the pre-air conditioning/pre-HVAC era.
Have an outdoor kitchen for the hotter months. All you need is a stove (of some sort), a sink (hot water not required, a table and cover for shade. If you live in a dry climate and have a well, you can also add misters to cool the space down. Make sure that you’ve got plenty of air flow around your space. (Not blocked by buildings) Shade trees are great if you’ve got ’em. Now days, electricity is helpful, too. (So you can do things like run your dehydrator outside)
When I was little we did things like bird cleaning and boiling outside. It was nice to have a cool house to retreat to. We had a wood stove outside that we did the summer work on. Made canning summer produce less hell.
The clean up is really easy. Let the animals have the scraps and hose the area down when you’re finished.
If you have the resources and want to get ‘fancy’ you can screen the space in to keep the flies out. (I did hate battling the bugs. If hubs and I do this, I will have a screened kitchen)
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Do you know an approximate shelf-life for milk and eggs using these methods? I’m certainly going to try some.
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Great information. I’m wondering if you pressure canned your dehydrated eggs or did you just place them
In a jar with an oxygen absorber? I have a lot of eggs to do. I already have close to two gallons dehydrated and was looking for your thoughts on storing the egg in a 2 1/2 gallon bucket. Lined with a food grade plastic bag.
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JUST CURIOUS. I HAVE READ THAT IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA TO DRY EGGS AT HOME BECAUSE OF THE OIL CONTENT THAT IS LEFT ON THE EGGS. THIS OIL CAN CAUSE THE EGGS TO GO BAD. HAS ANY ONE THAT YOU KNOW OF USED DRIED EGGS THAT WERE IN STORAGE FOR OVER A COUPLE OF YEARS?
I have dried eggs before and, yes, they will have some oil in them. Oils of any type go rancid over time. To prolong the shelf life of home-dehydrated eggs, store them in a very cool, dry, and dark location. Here’s an informative article with more details, http://www.backwoodshome.com/dehydrating-eggs-at-home/
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How long can you store the milk in frozen state ?
How about freezing milk in vacuum bags ? Will it last longer ?
When we store fish or meat vacuumed before freezing , it tastes much better when opened. This may be the case with the milk ?
Usually frozen meats can be kept up to a year and if vacuumed up to 3 years. Is that true for milk also ?
Laura I also have the same kind of canner, I love it! I can my milk right outta store in jars for 35min.
I have dehyrated eggs. But i cooked my first. I scrambled them with outusing any butter or salt. And then placed them in my dehydrator. They still crumble up fine. But also you dont have to worry about the bacteria.
Quite a daunting task but I hope I can pull it off with a few practices.
For long term egg storage have a look at waterglass. https://youtu.be/bTlcCvvUjl0