If you’re a homesteader, preserving the foods you grow and harvest is very important. Preserved foods enable you to ensure you have enough supplies on hand during the winter, when your homestead will likely be less productive.
While food preservation techniques like root cellars, canning and smoking are popular options to store the food you harvest or hunt, another somewhat less common preserved food is powdered eggs.
If you have a flock of chickens, you can create a safe, high-protein preserved food that will last for years, is delicious, and is great for bartering with your neighbors and other homesteaders as well.
So, if you want to learn a traditional and very effective food preservation technique, this article will show you how to make your very own powdered eggs step by step!
Powdered Eggs, from Beloved Camp Food to World War II Staple
Powdered eggs, sometimes called dried eggs, have been in widespread use for well over a century. Because a container of powdered eggs is so light and compact, it became a very popular camp food.
Hunting lodges and fishing camps relied on foods like powdered eggs and beef jerky to keep their clients well fed while they were on excursions to the more remote parts of the United States.
Because they were so lightweight and packed with nutrients, it was not long before governments saw the utility of powdered eggs as well.
During the Second World War, when food was a critical commodity that governments controlled closely, powdered eggs were adapted widely. In the UK, dried eggs imported from the United States were distributed widely through the Ministry of Food’s ration systems, due in part to the shortage of fresh eggs.
While not as popular as fresh eggs from the farm, powdered eggs no doubt helped to keep the civilian population in the United Kingdom well-fed, so they could continue to fight the Axis Powers and win World War II.
In the years following the War, powdered eggs fell out of fashion. People were no doubt happy to be free of the ration system, and the end of the War years also coincided with the beginning of mass poultry production as well. Over the years, fresh eggs became mass-produced, inexpensive and widely available, and powdered eggs slowly faded into obscurity.
Now, however, homesteaders are continuing to discover old skills and crafts that have become lost or obscure, and putting them to work in the 21st Century. Interest in both homesteading as well as prepping have led many people to giving powdered eggs a second look; many people even buy powdered eggs in bulk now to ensure they have a ready supply of protein on hand at all times.
However, as easy as it is to order a can or bag of powdered eggs online, it is often more practical and satisfying to make them yourself.
So, maybe it is time to give powdered eggs a try on your homestead. After all, this preserved food is a great fit for economical, sustainable, and low-cost homestead living.
If you’re a prepper, powdered eggs are great to have on hand for emergencies or survival situations as well. Here are a few of the benefits of making and using powdered eggs.
- While fresh eggs may be delicious, they don’t stay fresh for long. Powdered eggs on the other hand, when stored in airtight containers in cool storage areas, can last for years.
- If your homestead is in a cold weather climate, your chickens may not lay prolifically throughout the winter; here in New England, even my hardiest cold weather hens slow down their egg laying considerably during the colder parts of the year. Making powdered eggs during the peak egg-laying months of summer will ensure you have a steady supply of eggs for your breakfast and baking needs all year long.
- Powdered eggs are also easier to store when space is an issue, or you are hiking and want to travel light. A dozen fresh eggs take up about 122 cubic inches of space; however, their powdered equivalent only requires about 22 cubic inches.
- The drying process, which we’ll discuss later, helps to kill bacteria that could have possibly contaminated eggs during handling and shipping.
- Powdered eggs are also highly nutritious. A tablespoon of powdered eggs – the equivalent of one whole egg – contains over 5 grams of protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals as well.
So, now that you know a bit about the history and benefits of powdered eggs, let’s take a close look at how you can make them on your homestead.
Equipment and Ingredients
Making powdered eggs is surprisingly simple, but you will need some basic equipment, including:
- Blender. Any standard blender will do; you’re only using the blender to mix your eggs and then ground the dried eggs into a fine powder, so it won’t get much of a workout! If you choose to do so, you can use a whisk and mixing bowl for both of these steps. However, a blender or food processor does a much more thorough job of mixing your raw eggs and rendering the dried eggs into a fine powder.
- Dehydrator. You’ll need a dehydrator to actually dry your eggs. While you could use a standard oven to dry them, a dehydrator will be much more effective and consistent. Additionally, your dehydrator can do many other important and tasty food preservation tasks as well, so it is a good tool to have on a homestead. Your dehydrator will need solid trays for you to spread out your mixed raw eggs to draw upon; these are the same types of trays used to prepare fruit leather.
- Large Mixing Bowl. You’ll need a large mixing bowl to transfer your eggs into after they’ve been dehydrated. Also, you’ll want to crack your eggs open into a bowl as well, so that you can easily remove any stray eggshells or other debris that happens to get mixed in with them.
- Storage. You’ll need something to store your powdered eggs once you make them. If you plan to consume them relatively quickly, then simple plastic locking bags or containers may suffice. However, if you intend to store your powdered eggs for months or years on end, you will need more sophisticated procedures to ensure they are packed airtight. We will discuss powdered egg storage options for your consideration later.
- Ladle or Spoon. You will use a ladle or spoon to carefully transfer your eggs from your blender on to your dehydrator trays.
- Eggs! Of course, in order to make powdered eggs, you’ll need fresh eggs to start with. This particular recipe calls for two dozen fresh eggs.
Powdered Eggs Recipe
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Ladle or Spoon
- Prepare Your Equipment. As always, you want to ensure the equipment you are going to use is as clean as possible; after all, you are working with a food product you are preparing for potentially long-term storage. Wash and sanitize your dehydrator, dehydrator trays, your blender, and any bowls or utensils you expect to use.
- Prepare Your Eggs. Try to obtain the freshest eggs you can for this recipe. Ideally, you should gather your eggs from your homestead and prepare your powdered eggs as soon as possible. If you don’t have enough chickens to produce two dozen eggs quickly, get some more from a fellow farmer or homesteader, or buy some from a local store. Prior to proceeding to the next steps, wash any eggs you’ve gathered under warm water and wipe them off with a clean towel.
- Cracking Your Eggs. Crack your eggs into a large mixing bowl, yolks and all. Take care not to get eggshells or other materials into the bowl. If you do, use a fork to carefully fish any debris out, working the material out along the side of the bowl. If you have a compost pile, you should collect up all of the eggshells, smash them up, and then add them to the pile. Once all two dozen of your eggs are in the mixing bowl, transfer them to your blender. Then, thoroughly wash and dry your mixing bowl, and set it aside for use later.
- Mixing Your Eggs. Once your eggs are in the blender, blend them at medium speed for approximately two minutes. If you have a smaller blender, you may need to blend them in two separate batches, since the egg mixture fills with air and expands a bit as you blend it all together. Once your eggs are fully mixed, you will be ready to transfer them over to your dehydrator racks.
- Transfer the Egg Mixture onto your Dehydrator Drying Racks. I use a magic mill dehydrator, and this recipe requires me to use three to four drying racks, depending on the size of my eggs. Set out your drying racks on a table or counter and move your blender alongside them. Using your ladle, carefully transfer your egg mixture from the blender to your drying trays, taking care not to spill any in the transfer or to overfill the trays. Once each tray is filled, load the racks into your dehydrator, taking care not to tip a tray and spill your egg mixture everywhere. Wash and dry your blender as soon as you are done transferring your mixture, you will need it to render your dried eggs into powder later on.
- Dehydrate Your Egg Mixture.
Once you finish carefully loading the egg mixture into your dehydrator, it is time to start drying them out! Consult your dehydrator manual to determine exactly how long it takes to dehydrate your egg mixture. Here on our farm we use a Magic Mill dehydrator. I dry my egg mixture at a temperature of 149 degrees Fahrenheit in the dehydrator for approximately five to seven hours. However, each brand of dehydrator is considerably different, so consult your manual or talk to a trusted food preservation expert to determine the proper settings to properly dry out your eggs.After your egg mixture has dried for the proscribed time, remove and inspect them. If they are thoroughly dry, they should be slightly browned on top, cracked and brittle. If the eggs seem moist or soft, place them back into the dehydrator to dry some more. Once they are fully dried out, scrape your eggs off of each tray with a fork or butter knife carefully into your mixing bowl.
- Rendering your Dried Eggs into Powder Once you’ve removed all of your dried eggs from your blender into your mixing bowl, load them all into your blender. Then, on a medium setting, blend the dried eggs until they are completely rendered into a fine powder. Once the blending is complete, you are ready to store or use your powdered eggs!
Packing and Storing Powdered Eggs
If you plan to use your powdered eggs relatively quickly, you can simply store them in a locking plastic bag in your refrigerator. However, if you intend to store powdered egg for months or years at a time, you should definitely take additional measures.
One great option to safely store your powdered eggs for the long term is to use a vacuum seal machine to pack your powdered eggs into an airtight plastic bag.
Once you have vacuum packed your eggs, store them in a cool dry place that is out of direct sunlight. Once you’ve opened any of your vacuum-packed powdered egg bags, ensure you store them in a refrigerator.
You can learn more about powdered eggs and food safety from the USDA website. Additionally, here is a great video that demonstrates how vacuum packing is used for food preservation and storage, especially for powdered goods:
Cooking with Powdered Eggs
Once you have plenty of powdered eggs on hand, you will be ready to start using them for breakfast and for recipes that call for eggs.
To cook your powdered eggs into scrambled eggs, one tablespoon of powder and two tablespoons of water approximates one egg. Simply mix the egg powder and water together, then add to a skillet and cook the mixture over medium heat for a plate of scrambled eggs.
Here is a video demonstrating how to cook reconstituted powdered eggs in a skillet:
You can also use your powdered eggs in lieu of fresh eggs for recipes requiring eggs, such as cake. Simply use the 1:2 powder to water ratio to add the appropriate amount of powder and water for any given recipe.
You DO NOT have to mix the egg powder and water prior to adding them to a given recipe, either. Simply add the proper amount of egg powder and water separately to a mixing bowl with the other ingredients the recipe calls for, so that you approximate the amount of eggs the recipe calls for.
If you’re looking for innovative ways to preserve food on your homestead, you should definitely consider making powdered eggs. Powdered eggs are packed with protein and other nutrients and are easy to make and store. Plus, they are absolutely delicious as well. So, follow the directions here, and add some powdered eggs to your pantry today!
When Tom Harkins is not busy doing emergency repairs to his 200 year-old New England home, he tries to send all of his time gardening, home brewing, foraging, and taking care of his ever-growing flock of chickens, turkey and geese.