Preserve Eggs With Slaked Lime or Water Glass

basket of fresh eggs
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This post is a continuation of ways to preserve eggs.  You can read the previous post here, How to Preserve Eggs for Winter.

Two more ways of preserving eggs in the 1800s, was to use slaked lime and water glass.


Slaked Lime is calcium hydroxide,  an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca(OH)2. It is obtained when calcium oxide (called lime or quicklime) is mixed, or “slaked” with water. It has many names including hydrated lime, caustic lime, builders’ lime, slack lime, cal, or pickling lime. Calcium hydroxide is used in many applications, including food preparation. Limewater is the common name for a saturated solution of calcium hydroxide.
Reference – Wikipedia.

Water Glass is sodium silicate, used in many applications, including food preparation. Water glass was used as an egg preservation agent through the early 20th century with large success. When fresh eggs are immersed in it, bacteria which cause the eggs to spoil are kept out and water is kept in. Eggs can be kept fresh using this method for up to five months. When boiling eggs preserved this way, it is well advised to pin-prick the egg to allow steam to escape because the shell is no longer porous. Reference – Wikipedia



Put some lime in a large vessel, and slack it with boiling water till it is of the consistence of thin cream. You may allow a gallon of water to a pound of lime. When it is cold, pour it off into a large stone jar. Be sure that the eggs are fresh and place them in the jar, with the pointed ends down, being sure that each end is perfectly sound. Cover the jar closely. See that the eggs are always well covered with the lime-water, and lest they should break, avoid moving the jar. If you have hens of your own, keep a jar of lime-water always ready, and put in the eggs as they are brought in from the nests. Jars that hold about six quarts are the most convenient. It will be well to renew the lime-water occasionally.


Putting eggs down in a solution of water glass is without doubt the most satisfactory method of storing them in the home.

The commercial form of water glass is usually a mixture of potassium and sodium silicate, which, besides being cheaper than that which is chemically pure, is the kind that is preferred for the purpose of preserving eggs. To make a solution of the desired strength to preserve eggs satisfactorily, dissolve one part water glass in seven parts of warm water that has first been boiled to drive off bacteria, mold, spores, etc. With the solution thoroughly mixed, it is ready to pour over the eggs.

In selecting eggs for the purpose of storing, be careful to choose only those which are clean, fresh, and perfectly sound, and, if possible, infertile. It is advisable not to wash them before they are put into the preservative, for they will keep better if their bloom is not removed. Place the eggs in receptacles in the manner explained for preserving eggs in limewater, and over them pour the water-glass solution until they are all covered. If the eggs so prepared are stored in a cool place, they will keep as long as those preserved in limewater and there will be no danger of their acquiring any foreign flavor.


This 12-minute video is about preserving eggs in the 1700s.  It uses methods included in the previous post on preserving eggs, on using lime, and makes a brief reference to using water glass, which wasn’t introduced until the 1800s.


photo credit



How to Preserve Eggs for Winter

How to Tell if Eggs are Fresh

The Breaking of Eggs

Making Egg Nogg



Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More 


Are You Interested in Preserving Food?  Leave a Comment Below

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Author: Angela Johnson

I’ve been interested in cooking since I was a teenager. Growing up in a small town in Illinois, I ate many home-cooked meals and tried out recipes (mostly cookies). Wherever I live or travel, I check out grocery stores for unusual foods, eat at local restaurants, and buy regional cookbooks. I’m also fascinated with learning how people in the past lived, and how they obtained food and prepared it.

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