Freeze drying raw eggs using a Harvest Right freeze dryer is an excellent way to keep a lightweight, nutritious, and versatile food item in your prepper pantry for many years in the future. Whether you have over-productive hens, you just like to prepare for emergencies, or you’re gearing up for a backpacking trip, freeze dried raw eggs are an excellent item to have on hand.
To freeze dry raw eggs first be sure your freeze dryer is in good working order. Next, wash your eggs. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat them until scrambled. Pour the raw eggs into freeze drying pans that come with the freeze dryer. Follow the prompts on your particular freeze dryer model to cycle the machine through the freezing then drying process. The eggs will be properly dried out when the entire pan is room temperature (not cool to the touch) and there are cracks in the top of eggs resembling a cracked sheet cake. Freeze dried eggs can be stored in metal cans, Mylar bags or mason jars with an oxygen absorbing packet in the container and rehydrated using equal parts water and freeze dried eggs.
In this article I will walk you step-by-step through the process of freeze drying raw eggs using a Harvest Right freeze dryer. Don’t worry! It’s not as hard as it may sound, but there are some tips and tricks for freeze drying raw eggs efficiently and safely. Freeze dried raw eggs are one of the most versatile survival food items out there, so if you’re serious about getting your prepper pantry in order, read on!
If you want to watch me freeze dry raw eggs check out this video.
Benefits of Freeze Drying Raw Eggs
There are a ton of great reasons to keep freeze dried raw eggs on hand. Here are a few!
- They last for up to 25 years once sealed in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.
- They act just like scrambled eggs once you reconstitute them with water. They will look and taste just like scrambled eggs!
- Freeze drying preserves a very high percentage of the vitamins and enzymes in fresh eggs, as long as they are stored properly after freeze drying.
- Freeze dried, raw eggs are much more versatile than pre-cooked scrambled eggs, which can be rubbery.
- They are lightweight and easy to take on backpacking trips or as a food store in a bug out bag.
- Freeze dried eggs can be stored in a non-refrigerated cabinet, and won’t take up space in your fridge or freezer if you’re trying to keep fresh eggs on hand.
How Does Freeze Drying Work?
Freeze drying is a process where food items are first frozen. For the Harvest Right freeze dryer, which is the type I use, the food is frozen to between -30 and -50 degrees Fahrenheit. After the food is frozen the food is gradually and very gently warmed back up. As the food is warmed all the moisture is sucked out under the pressure of a strong vacuum. Freeze drying can be a good way to preserve the taste of a food over simple dehydration and almost any type of food can be freeze dried.
A freeze dryer is not something that is practical to “jerry-rig” at home. In order to freeze dry food efficiently you will need a special piece of equipment made for freeze drying. The freeze dryer will get so cold it will sublimate all the water in your food—meaning the water will go straight to a vapor rather than becoming liquid again before it evaporates.
In theory you can freeze dry food simply by leaving in your freezer, uncovered for a long period of time, but this wouldn’t really be practical for a tray of eggs.
Choosing the Right Freeze Dryer
A freeze dryer is not an appliance most Americans spend money on, so if you’re looking to purchase a freeze dryer to preserve raw eggs (or any other type of food) be sure you go with a model that fits your needs. Most commercially available freeze dryers will have the same basic components: an element that super cools food down to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, and a strong vacuum pump that sucks out all the moisture.
The main key difference between freeze dryer models will be the size. If you go with a Harvest Right freeze dryer, which is what I have, you can choose from three sizes: small, medium and large. Each one can freeze dry 1, 2 or 3 gallons of food respectively, which, if you convert that into pounds of food, ranges from about 4 pounds to 16 pounds. If you’re like me and have a large family, you might want to opt for the large version, as it will save you time and energy in the end.
Freeze Drying Raw Eggs
Ensure Your Freeze Dryer is In Good Working Order
The first step in getting ready to freeze dry eggs is to make sure your freeze dryer is in good working order. I use a Harvest Right freeze dryer which automates the entire process and makes freeze drying food incredibly easy, but there are lots of good models on the market. Whichever model you use, be sure your unit is in good working order before you whip up a giant batch of eggs to freeze dry. The rest of these instructions will be based on the model of Harvest Right freeze dryer I own.
Getting the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Ready to Operate
In order to safely operate an at-home freeze dryer you need to make sure the vacuum pump motor is topped off with new oil every four to five batches. Harvest Right recommends VacOil’s ECO Grade Vacuum Pump Oil. To change the oil out of the vacuum pump follow these steps:
- Loosen the red cap on the top of the pump and turn the valve on the nozzle on the front to drain the old oil.
- Close the valve on the front.
- Re-fill the motor with new oil. The oil level should match the level shown on the outside motor window.
- Fit the red cap back on, finger tight.
- Re-check all the connections on the hoses connected to the freeze dryer by just making sure they are all hand tight.
Harvest Right freeze dryers have a few different models of vacuum pumps and each pump is a little different. The regular oil pump needs oil changed every 4-5 batches but the premier oil pump only needs an oil change every 20-25 batches. The premier pump also requires Robinar Premium High Vacuum Pump Oil or JB Industries Black Gold Vacuum Pump Oil. Changing the oil on the vacuum motor should take less than 5 minutes, so be sure not to skip this step.
How to Prepare Eggs to be Freeze Dried
- Wash your eggs. Washing eggs ensures there is no bacteria living on the outside of the egg shell that will get mixed in with the final product.
- Crack the raw eggs into a large bowl. The number of eggs that will fit in each pan will depend on the size of your freeze dryer. Each of the trays I use takes about two dozen eggs.
- Mix them up like you’re making scrambled eggs. It’s important to “scramble” the eggs before you freeze dry them because without this step the fat in the yolk of the egg won’t dry out properly.
- Line the freeze drying trays with parchment paper (optional). I find the eggs are very easy to get off the bottom of the pan with a light scrape of the spatula, so lining the pan is optional.
Getting Raw Eggs Into The Freeze Dryer Without a Making a Mess
- Pour the liquid eggs into the freeze drying trays, and pour the eggs to the very top of the tray. The easiest way to do this without spilling in is place the trays halfway in the freeze dryer first and pour from just outside the dryer “box.”
- An additional method, which also works just fine, is you can pre-freeze the eggs in your conventional freezer. This is an optional step. My model of freeze dryer will ask if the item is pre-frozen or not, and I simply select “Start” and then “Not Frozen.”
- Harvest Right will give you a message saying, “Load Food into Freeze Dryer CLOSE DRAIN VALVE.” The drain valve is a tube that comes out the back of the freeze dryer and will empty into a five gallon bucket below the unit. Once the drain valve is closed hit “Continue.”
An option that doesn’t involve pouring the raw egg mixture straight into the trays is to freeze them in ice cube trays first, then place the pre-frozen egg cubes onto the trays. This is a good option if you want consistently sized egg chunks as the final product, but on the downside you’d need to buy a lot of ice cube trays.
The Harvest Right freeze dryer senses how cold the items are so if they are pre-frozen it will simply further cool the food down to -40 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Long To Freeze Dry Raw Eggs?
My freeze dryer takes between 30-40 hours to freeze and then dry the raw eggs, but this will depend on the model you use, as well as how many cups of eggs you’re preparing.
How Do I Know If My Eggs Have Been Freeze Dried Properly?
Harvest Right sense when the food is done and will produce an audible beep when it’s ready to go. Just before it finishes the screen will show the “Final Dry” message, and once it is done it will say “Process Complete.” However, you should always inspect your food for doneness rather than rely on the machine. At this stage, even though the machine says it is done, you can choose the option for “More Dry Time” if you think you need it.
To check the egg’s doneness release the drain valve which will break the vacuum seal in the drawer compartment.
Properly freeze dried eggs will have a very dry, lightweight texture and the top of the eggs will be cracked, like an overly baked cake. Once your unit says the freeze drying is complete, test your eggs by pulling out a tray and scooping out a section of eggs with a spatula. Try to test the eggs in a thick spot on the pan. The eggs should not feel cool to the touch. If the eggs are cool it indicates they’re still holding onto some moisture.
If they don’t feel right, or you’re just not sure, go ahead and pop them back in for a little more drying time. (See my video above and I show you.) The eggs will have a crispy texture once they’re done and be light yellow in color.
How To Store Freeze Dried Eggs
After the eggs are freeze dried completely through you’ll need to store them! Freeze drying the eggs for long term storage will be pointless if they aren’t stored properly after you make them.
There are several ways to store freeze dried eggs, but all of them need an oxygen absorber. Oxygen absorbers are little packets that preserve the freshness and prevents mold and bacteria growth by removing over 99% of the oxygen in airtight packages. You’ve seen these before in commercially made products—they’re usually labeled with a “do not eat” warning.
You’ll need to use an oxygen absorber to keep your freeze dried eggs fresh for a long period of time. Be sure you store your oxygen absorbers in an airtight bag if they didn’t come that way.
Storing your eggs in metal cans will give them the longest shelf life: up to 25 years! You can buy brand new, unused food-grade cans from wholesalers. Sometimes the cans will be pre-printed with the product they were meant to contain, but just write over the pre-printed label and affix a date.
Throw an oxygen absorber in the can on the bottom and then just scoop the eggs off the trays into the can using a spatula. The eggs will naturally break apart into chunks, but if you want to get more eggs in each can pound the chunks down to make a powder.
You will need to use a canning machine (not to be confused with a water bath or pressure canner) to attach the metal lid to the can. Simply place the lid on the can, place it on the canning pedestal, and follow the instructions on your particular canner.
If cans aren’t your thing you can also use Mylar bags. Just be sure to throw in the oxygen absorber! The benefit of using bags is that they aren’t as clunky, and will store better in a backpack if needed.
Mason jars are also an acceptable place to store your freeze dried eggs. Just be sure these get used in the next year and a half or so. Once again, use an oxygen absorber.
How to Reconstitute Freeze Dried Eggs
When you’re ready to use your eggs simply reconstitute the eggs using a 1:1 eggs to water ratio. So if you use one cup of dried eggs, use one cup of water to reconstitute them. It’s as simple as that!