How To Heat A Greenhouse In Winter

Wondering how to keep a greenhouse warm in winter without investing in electric or fuel-supplied heating systems?

Yes, it can be done. And without adding any more costs to your household budget. I mean, who needs another bill right? Right.

Now, you might be wondering why bother keeping your greenhouse warm during the frostier months anyway – why not just enjoy the season? Well, this girl likes her greens.

Ok, you caught me. I DO like greens, but I’m not a superfan. I like them…but more like sprouts on a sammich. NOT full blown salads. Unless they’re Southwestern salads. Then, bring on the arugula. ANYWAY, I like to keep growing over the winter because, well, I like to grow vegetables. Like any normal, sane person.

The other reason to keep a greenhouse warm in winter is because if you ARE growing anything, you’ll want to provide a healthier living environment for your vegetables, prevent cold spots, and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.

I have more readers growing crops in the winter, and naturally, a common question is how to heat a greenhouse in winter for free (which mean you can grow a wider variety of vegetables, too).

 
Wondering how to heat a greenhouse in winter? Here's 4 easy but genius ideas to heat a greenhouse without electricity! You can even heat a greenhouse with compost!

Understand the Basics of How to Keep a Greenhouse Warm in Winter

Before we delve into our ideas, let’s first establish some basics. In this season where temperatures can go unpredictably low, you can only do so much. In other words, don’t try to grow oranges in sub-zero weather. You won’t be successful, right?

So, let’s talk about some basics to help you run your greenhouse in winter.

  • Choose the right crops to grow for the season. Go for low-lying greens like kale, spinach, and mustard greens that can stand below-freezing temperatures
  • Invest in a good quality thermometer like this one that can read max and min temperatures throughout the day.
  • Only heat the areas necessary. Grouping plants together will help you save energy and cost.
  • Install proper ventilation to prevent the spread of fungal diseases and maintain a healthy growing greenhouse.

Here are 3 more effective strategies in controlling the temperature inside your structure without having to waste fuel or energy.

Store Thermal Energy Using Thermal Mass

Thermal mass heaters are the bee’s knees, and easy to incorporate into your greenhouse. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, thermal mass, sometimes called a heat sink, absorbs and stores solar heat energy.

This involves putting materials around your greenhouse that absorb heat from the sunlight during the day. These heat sinks are then capable of slowly releasing thermal energy at night time when the mercury drops like crazy.

Here are some effective methods to collect thermal mass:

Idea 1: Build a cobbled pathway across the floor of your greenhouse using dark gravel or small stones (you can reach out to a local nursery or a dealer that sells rocks for driveways).  These rocks naturally absorb heat – and the release of this heat keeps your plants warmer during the dark, cold hours of winter.

Idea 2: Since water has higher heat capacity than land or soil, try putting water or rain barrels around the interior of your greenhouse. Place dark barrels at a Southern-facing location, where they can easily absorb sunlight in the day. Make sure they’re also near tender plants that need more warmth at night

Idea 3: Use cinder blocks or earthenware ceramic pots to further absorb solar heat. They can be used to support planters on table-tops and benches, and they can release their heat around the plants (this is also a good idea to keep your chicken flock’s water from freezing over the winter).

Note: Painting these materials dark (i.e. black) helps absorb more thermal mass and one additional tip on how to keep a greenhouse warm in winter.

square foot gardening plant spacing

Build an Indoor Compost Pile

This is a genius idea that’s also one of the most sustainable techniques to keep your greenhouse warm this winter.  (Psst…it’s also cost-effective since you can build it nearly for free AND you won’t have to use power or fuel to heat your greenhouse. This is what we call Win-Win-Win.)

As the material in your pile composts, bacteria that break down organic material generate a considerable amount of heat to the environment. We cover compost piles in depth in Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Farming. Save 10% with coupon code GREENHOUSE right here.)

Insulate!

Insulation is another option to keep a greenhouse warm in the winter.  So what do I mean by insulate?

Well, you can insulate the entire greenhouse using plastic sheeting, OR you can add row covers (yes, row covers over crops inside your greenhouse) for added protection.

Plastic helps absorb more heat without keeping the sunlight away from your crops. Combined with the other ideas in this article, you have quite a few ways to keep a greenhouse warm in winter.

There are many other natural techniques for keeping your greenhouse thermally controlled throughout the year. In the most challenging seasons, let these suggestions guide you on how to heat a greenhouse in winter for free. You don’t have to do everything. You just need to find the right combination that will work best for your set-up.

square foot gardening plant spacing

Homemade Suet Cakes For Chickens: Great Boredom Busters!

Crafting homemade suet cakes for chickens is a simple way to boost the fat in your flock’s diet while giving them a way to stay occupied.

 

In fact, a frequent question I get is “Can chickens eat suet cakes?,” and not only is the answer a definitive “YES!” but feeding diy suet cakes to chickens can help reduce bad behavior and stress from being confined in a coop all day.

 

It’s summer, so right now I’m making suet cakes to help my chickens stay cool.

 

And they’re a total hit!


While my hens otherwise look like they’re ready to melt and are completely miserable as they try to stay cool in our 100+ degree heat, when they catch sight of their suet cakes, the light comes back in their eyes as they realize they’re about to have a blast.

 

Needless to say, as soon as I drop the treats in their chicken feeders, it’s game on.

 

I like to use coconut oil when I make homemade suet cakes for chickens because it’s good for them (with good antibacterial qualities), it’s malleable, and it holds the corn, oats, and other things I add fairly well.

 

It’s also a nice source of healthy fat, particularly in winter, when you need to worry more about their calorie intake in the cold.

 

If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can make homemade suet cakes with bacon grease or other grease leftover from cooking.

 

You can use grease by itself, but I like to mix it with coconut oil (especially good for winter, when the extra protein will help them out).

 

Remember, however, that these are treats – not a replacement for a good basic diet.

 

Although I can guarantee your chickens will love your homemade suet and come running whenever they see you have them!
This is the best homemade suet cake for chickens recipe I’ve found that will help your chickens improve their health while providing a treat, and I’m happy to share it with you!

What should you add to homemade suet cakes for chickens?

 

You can pretty much add anything that’s fine for chickens to eat. Some easy choices are:

  • Corn
  • Oatmeal
  • Chopped unsalted peanuts
  • Dry peas
  • Wheat berries
  • Lentils
  • Flax seeds (improves omega-3s in eggs)
  • Sunflower seeds (high in fat)

 

I like to add more corn and peanuts in the winter for an energy boost to help them through the night.

 

Another option is to add pea sprouts, microgreens, etc, which is especially easy to do if you use coconut oil.

 

You can also add fresh or dry herbs. Oregano, sage, and thyme are good options that are also easy to source.

What shape should homemade suet cakes be?

 

As for shape, you have a few options.

 

I like to use a muffin tin; we have a lot of chickens, and a single large block would get eaten by the few, leaving the rest of our chickens wanting.

 

So, the muffin tin makes sure everyone gets a piece of the suet cakes.

 

You can also use a shallow pan, or anything that fits easily into your freezer.

How to make homemade suet cakes for chickens

 

Grab a muffin tin or pan

If using a pan, make sure it’s deep enough to accommodate all the coconut oil you plan to use.

 

Melt the coconut oil over low heat, just until melted (especially important if using sprouts)

Coconut oil has a melting point of 77 degrees, so it only needs to be warmed until it starts to melt. Any more, and you might destroy some of the beneficial properties of the oil, as well as potentially cooking some of your additives (and altering their nutrients).

 

This is particularly key if you plan to use sprouts – when they’re fresh, sprouts have more nutrients. But if they cook in hot oil, your chickens will enjoy them less.

 

Stir in whatever you’re adding

I like using regular oatmeal. People always seem to give it to us, and this is a simple way to use it up that’s also a nice treat for our backyard chickens.

 

Grind or chop up whatever you’re adding to your homemade suet cakes to make sure the entire block doesn’t crumble, and if you use peanuts, make sure they’re unsalted.

 

You can also alter your recipe depending on the season, adding more corn in the winter when energy is important, and flax seeds in the summer when they’re laying eggs again.

 

Pour mixture into muffin tins

Fill to the top, since the coconut oil won’t really expand in the cold. You can add some extra oatmeal or corn on the top as well.

 

Remember that the muffin pan will be hot (especially if you let the coconut oil get hotter than 77 degrees), so be careful picking it up and moving it.

 

Freeze until solid

Time will vary depending on your freezer. I like to make homemade suet cakes for chickens in the evening, then let them freeze overnight.

 

Invert pan to remove the homemade suet cakes

If you need to, you can run a knife around the edge of the pan, but I’ve found that’s less effective than simply turning the pan over and tapping on the bottom.

 

Feed and watch your chickens enjoy!

Remember that coconut oil has a low melting point, so don’t remove them from the freezer until you’re actually ready to feed them.

 

I’ve found they start to melt as soon as I bring them outside. 

 

Making homemade suet cakes is easy – and it’s a good way to fight boredom, reduce bad behaviors, and make sure your hens are getting extra calories!

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you think you’ll try making homemade suet cakes for chickens? Leave a comment below!

How To Keep A Chicken Coop Warm In Winter

Not sure how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Then pull up a chair, because we got quite a few (battle-tested) ideas for you today.

 

(Want to know how to keep your flock’s water from freezing? Get my genius hacks here).

 

herbs for backyard chickens

 

While the winters never get too brutal here in Missouri, we still do get our share of freezing temps (usually in January and February) thanks to the polar vortexes from our Canadian friends up North.

 

And trying to keep a chicken coop warm in winter is never fun. In fact, it’s usually a battle of ingenuity, and we’re kept on our toes trying to find new ways to keep the flock toasty and cozy when it’s gotten so cold we don’t even have a prayer of getting the hose getting unfrozen.

 

Now before we begin, just remember: For the most part, your chickens will be fine during the winter.

 

Every year, I get a few people who ask whether their hens will freeze in temperatures below 40 degrees, and the answer is no. Your chickens will likely be fine no matter what.

 

Only once temperatures dip below zero and into the VERY below zero temperatures (negative 30 degrees, for example) do you really need to be concerned about keeping them warm.

herbs for backyard chickens

 

In temperatures above zero, your chickens will fluff their feathers to stay warm and all the walking around and foraging will help keep their blood circulating and their body temperature up.

 

At night, they’ll bundle together on a roost and keep their little legs warm by sitting on them.

 

But you still are probably wondering how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter, so here’s some ideas we’ve used on our farm to get you started!

 

  1. Shut the door midday and let the sun warm your coop up

 

We’ve had a lot of luck with the various coops on our property by using solar energy to keep the coops heated.

 

Our coops have windows, so for the first part of the day, we can open the coop doors and let the hens forage.

 

About mid-day, you can close the doors and allow the heat to get trapped inside the coop, keeping it warmer than it would be otherwise.

 

Now, don’t ask me how many degrees this will raise the temperature – that’s going to depend on a wide variety of factors.

 

And this won’t work 100% of the time. But it might be the difference between 22 degrees and 32 degrees in the coop – and that’s a heck of a difference.

 

herbs for backyard chickens

2. Use lots of straw & clean out every week

 

Straw is an amazing insulator – that’s why you see those straw houses becoming so popular.

 

Putting about a foot deep of straw in your coop will do wonders keeping the cold air out and the warm air generated by your flock’s body heat in.

 

As a bonus, your flock won’t have to stand on a cold floor.

 

Now, you might hear that straw is not good to use as bedding – to each his own. Some people have decided that straw harbors mites, and the answer is if you don’t clean your coop, pretty much anything will harbor mites.

 

Clean the straw out of your coop weekly, and you’ll be good to go.

 

Wondering how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Keep your backyard chickens toasty warm with these 6 genius hacks!

3. Deep litter method

 

If you don’t know what the deep litter method is, or if you’ve heard of it but aren’t sure what it entails, then you can learn everything you want to know right here.

 

Now for full disclosure, I don’t use the deep litter method. But people who DO use it claim it can raise the coop temperature by about 10 degrees – pretty significant when your talking about daily highs in the teens.

 

The reason it generates so much heat is because the manure dropped by the chickens composts, and the breaking-down process causes heat.

 

herbs for backyard chickens

4. Radiant space heater

 

Like the deep litter method, this one isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re not sure what a radiant heater is, you can see an example here (you can also buy one here).

 

Now note, I didn’t say heat lamp – that’s a definite no-no because they get way too hot. Every winter, there’s a slew of posts on Facebook about people who used a heat lamp and their coop went up in flames.

 

Just say no to heat lamps.

 

Radiant heaters are a different thing – they don’t get so hot and have some safety features. They can raise the temperatures in your coop a few degrees, and that can make all the difference.

 

Just note, you will need an electrical source to use a radiant space heater.

 

Now, would I personally use one of these in my coop? Probably not. I’m WAY to paranoid about fires and our winters are not that cold – it’s the odd day that things get below zero.

 

That being said, you might want to use one – and if you do, the more power to you.

 

 

5. Use a treeline to break the wind

 

We have one horse pasture that I swear is 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the others. When the water is frozen solid in the other fields, it’s not even icy in this particular pasture.

 

And the reason is that there’s a lot of trees causing a ginormous windbreak. And it makes all the difference.

 

It’s pretty insane how much a treeline can keep a coop warm simply because it’s keeping the cold winds away from your flock.

 

If your chickens are in a tractor, or if you can somehow move them behind a treeline, you’ll be able to keep the coop from losing warmth.

 

If you can use something else to create a windbreak (moving the coop behind a structure so it’s protected), then that’ll work as well.

 

If you plan to use straw in your coop, you could even buy extra bales to create a “wall” to break the wind (don’t laugh – we’ve done it and it WORKS.)

herbs for backyard chickens

  1. Use insulation around doors and windows

This one will take a bit of planning on your part, but you can save a lot of heat by simply eliminating drafts. (After all, it IS those polar vortexes that contribute to the cold in the first place)

 

Making sure your coop doors and windows have proper insulation will go a long way.

 

Don’t use any of that spray foam however (my husband loves that stuff and it’s a nightmare to look at and clean up, and your chickens might decided to taste test it – never a good thing.)

 

If you’re trying to figure out how to heat a chicken coop in winter, then spend a little and get something like this that will do the job without taking the chance your flock will try to eat it.

herbs for backyard chickens

Want genius ideas to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Here's 6 genius hacks perfect for beginner backyard chicken mamas!

Grow Sunflower Microgreens As A Healthy Treat For Your Hens!

Sunflower microgreens are a delicious addition to your recipe collection, and they’re easy to grow in your kitchen.

 

Once “mature,” you can harvest your sunflower microgreens, and their rich, nutty flavor and crunchy texture fit into every meal of the day. They pair particularly nicely with eggs at breakfast, soups, sandwiches, and wraps at lunch, and alongside meats and grains at dinner.

 

Chock full of vitamins, protein, and lecithin to break down fatty acids, sunflower microgreens are not only delicious, they also pack quite a nutritional punch. Growing them yourself is economical, satisfying, and fun. It’s an easy crop for children to plant and grow and makes a great addition to their favorite meals, including pizza, tacos, and alphabet soup.

 

An as an added bonus, your chickens, ducks, other poultry, and rabbits will also jump at the chance to down some sunflower microgreens as part of their diet (and you might even save some money at the same time!)

 

Are you ready to exercise your green thumb by growing your own sunflower microgreens this planting season? Follow these ten easy steps!

 

Start by purchasing quality sunflower sprouting seeds.

 

You don’t need to purchase the most expensive seeds, but you do want the black oil sunflower seed variety. Make sure the seeds you purchase are for sprouting – organic seeds are best so you can be sure they haven’t been sprayed with harmful chemicals.

 

Click here to buy organic sunflower sprouting seeds on Amazon

 

Then purchase a growing pad, organic soilseedling tray, and plastic cover, and set them aside for later use. (You can make your own organic soil as well).

 

Soak the seeds in warm water for at least 12 hours

 

Grab a mason jar and pour in enough seeds to cover your grow tray. Because we’re growing microgreens, space isn’t as big of an issue so be generous – you want a large enough harvest to make the effort worth it.

 

Be sure to keep the seeds covered as they soak to keep dust, bugs, etc out of the jar.  This will speed up germination, and let you harvest the sunflower microgreens faster. You’ll also waste less seeds.

 

If you don’t want to go through the soaking process, then you can just plant the seeds directly in the grow tray.

 

But if you want to soak your seeds, then…

 

Drain and rinse the seeds thoroughly with cool water, then repeat the soaking process.

 

Again, use warm water and soak for an additional 12 hours. It’s very important to rinse the seeds thoroughly so they don’t get moldy.

 

At this point, you should start to see the seeds begin to sprout. It will look like they’re growing tiny tails.

 

Pour potting soil into your grow tray and spread the seeds very thickly.

 

You can cover the seeds very lightly with additional soil, but it’s not strictly necessary. Cover the tray with the plastic top so moisture is retained – make sure there is some ventilation, and remove the top if the seeds begin to mold.

Grow sunflower microgreens for a healthy addition to any meal!

Water your sunflower microgreens by placing the tray inside a larger tray or tub.

 

This allows the seeds to receive water from the bottom without disturbing them from the top. You don’t want to displace any of the dirt or disturb the seedlings’ root structure.

 

As the seeds grow and start to push up, move them to a sunny spot (like a bright window) and continue to water them regularly.

 

You CAN use a grow light if you want, but it’s not strictly necessary, since your sunflower microgreens will be harvested in a few days.

 

In a week to a week and a half, the sunflower shoots should be about 4” tall.

 

Harvest your sunflower microgreens!

 

Once they’re about 4″ tall, it’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor. Cut your sunflower microgreens right above soil level and store them in a sealable plastic bag.  They should last 4-5 days in your refrigerator.

 

To use them, pull out the amount you need for each recipe, and rinse them carefully under cool, running water.

 

Use this easy method to grow these tasty greens whenever you want them. Because they’re ready to harvest so quickly, they don’t require a ton of planning ahead, and because they last for 4-5 days when refrigerated, they can also be ready to use when you’re ready for them.

Grow sunflower microgreens for a healthy snack!

Ideas to use your sunflower microgreens

 

Try your first harvest in a simple summer salad:

Mix sunflower microgreens with peeled and cubed blood oranges and avocados, peeled and shredded carrots, and chopped walnuts or pecans. Dress with a light vinaigrette dressing and add slices of crusty, homemade bread for a delicious summer meal.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What’s your favorite way to use sunflower microgreens? Leave a comment below!

How To Clean Fresh Eggs (And When Not To)

How to clean fresh eggs was something that didn’t concern me for years.

 

After all, we were the only ones eating them, so if there was a spot on them or a bit of dirt, it didn’t bother me.

 

Since eggs automatically have something called a “bloom,” which is a natural coating on the shell that helps keep out bacteria, washing them for your own use isn’t really necessary (unless they’re super dirty).

 

Egg shells are naturally porous to allow for an exchange of oxygen as the chick grows. From an evolutionary standpoint, the purpose of the bloom is to keep bacteria out of the egg so the chick embryo can have a safe environment to grow. Learn more about the insides of chicken eggs.

 

Because of this, washing fresh chicken eggs isn’t always advised.

 

READ NEXT: 10 WEIRD EGGS & WHAT THEY MEAN

 

In fact, it can be harmful because when you wash chicken eggs, you simultaneously remove that protective barrier as well as push some bacteria in through the pores of the shell, potentially contaminating your eggs.

 

However…

 

Once we decided to buffer our homestead income by selling eggs, however, worrying how to wash fresh eggs became quite the priority.

 

In our state, we’re allowed to sell fresh eggs from our homestead to other families, but since not everyone appreciates feathers and dirt, we had to figure out how to clean fresh eggs.

 

How to clean fresh eggs

 

When it comes to how to wash fresh eggs, if your chicken eggs are not really dirty, in other words, there’s no poop or other gross stuff on them, then just wipe them with a dry cloth, which leaves the protective bloom intact.

 

If there’s manure on your eggs, and you want to wash them, then you first need to make sure you wash them in water that’s not a drastic difference from their temperature.

 

This is to prevent cracking.

 

If the eggs are cold, use cool water. If it’s hot out (or they were just laid), and the eggs are warm, use warm water.

 

If it’s winter and you only want to use warm water to cut down on potential bacteria, then sit your eggs on your kitchen counter until they’re at room temperature.

 

To wash the fresh eggs, simply dampen a rag and wipe the egg until it’s clean. It will then need to be refrigerated because the bloom is gone, and bacteria can easily get inside it.

 

If you would like to go with something more involved, you can use a commercial egg washing solution.

 

If you don’t want to actually wash your eggs, but still want to remove manure, you can try using a very fine grain sandpaper.

 

Gently scrub the manure off, but don’t do it for too long and remove the egg shell accidentally.

 

The bloom will still be removed in those spots, so you will have to store them in the fridge.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO TELL IF YOUR HENS ARE LAYING

 

But…

Now, when it comes to eggs, the best thing to do is make sure they don’t get dirty in the first place.

 

Make sure you keep your nesting boxes clean, using shavings and/or straw to keep them fresh, and changing the bedding frequently. This will also cut down on diseases and potential pathogens. Learn more about nesting herbs here.

 

Another way to prevent dirty eggs is to put your nesting boxes lower in the coop than your roosting bars, and to keep the nesting boxes away from your roosting bars.

 

Chickens like to rest on the highest point in a coop, so if your nesting boxes are the highest spot, guess where they’ll roost?

 

Also, if your nesting boxes are kept under the roosting bar, then your chickens will likely poop all over them.

 

Chickens don’t have bladders like mammals, so they poop whenever and wherever they get the urge – avoid gnarly eggs by encouraging your hens to only lay eggs in their nesting boxes and to not use them as a bathroom.

 

Make sure you collect any fresh eggs from the coop frequently.

 

Check your nesting boxes at least daily, if possible, and remove any eggs.

 

The more frequently you check them, the less likely they will be pooped on.

 

In extreme weather, this is especially important.

 

Embryo development starts to happen when the internal egg temperature is 99.5 degrees, making leaving eggs out in summer heat a cause for concern.

 

In very cold weather, you eggs can freeze and crack.

 

Storing your fresh eggs

 

To properly store eggs, after you’ve washed them, place them in a carton with the pointy side down.

 

I store my eggs in a carton and not in the egg holders built into the refrigerator. Since opening and closing the door means the temperature fluxuates frequently, this can cause bacterial growth in your eggs.

 

Just store them in a carton on a main shelf in your fridge.

 

READ NEXT: 5 CHICKEN BREEDS TO RAISE FOR COLORED EGGS

 

If you don’t plan to use the eggs in near future, write the date you stored them on the carton so you don’t forget how old the eggs are, and you can make sure to use the oldest eggs first.

 

If you’re not sure how old the eggs are, or if they’re good to eat, you can do the egg float test.

 

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Did you know how to clean fresh eggs? Will you try any of the ideas above? Leave a comment below!


Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more! Click here to learn more.


 

Can You Freeze Eggs?

Thinking about freezing chicken eggs because you’re getting so many? Read on for my best tips!

 

Eggs are incredibly valuable: within them lie the blueprints of life. But they’re also sustenance. The vast amount of cultures that raise chickens across the world has made their eggs one of – if not the – most important egg on the planet. 

 

While most of us want to eat eggs as soon as possible, often, we’re left with WAY too many of them!

 

While you have many options for preserving eggs, freezing is the easiest and one of the safest ways to make sure you have “butt nuggets” on hand whenever you want them. (This goes for chicken eggs and duck eggs).

 

Then, when it is time to use them, they can be thawed for any and all of our culinary dreams. This is truly a wonderful fact that can add some versatility to this egg-cellent ingredient. 

 

However, if we are going to freeze eggs, there are some key details to consider first.

can you freeze eggs in shells

How quickly should you freeze eggs?

If you are going to freeze your eggs, it is better to do so sooner than later. A few days at room temperature or in the fridge is about the maximum length of time you should wait before freezing them (learn how to tell if eggs are fresh here). That way, you are using only the freshest eggs you can put into your freezer. As eggs should only be frozen for about a year before they are used, dating your storage containers is recommended. 

 

No Shells Allowed!

As anyone who accidentally leaves eggs in their coop during a snowstorm can attest, eggs expand as they freeze, which can (and probably will) result in enough pressure on their shells to break them. As a result, eggs should never be frozen in shells. Cracking them into a container also ensures that you’re not using valuable space to store any eggs that might have problems: veins, lash eggs (yuck!), partially-incubated chickens (yes, it can happen), or other egg abnormalities. You’ll also want to wash your eggs first – you don’t want flecks of dirt, bacteria, or manure to get into your whites or yolk prior to freezing.

 

Should you separate yolks and egg whites?

When people ask “can you freeze eggs,” they next ask whether they should freeze the WHOLE egg, or  separate whites and yolk. 

 

It’s a good question, because the yolk and albumen are very difficult to separate once they have already been frozen. If you only plan using eggs for dinner – in stir-fry, breakfast cooking styles, salads, or in meat recipes – then cracking them straight into your storage receptacle is ideal.

 

If you plan to bake or do any cooking that requires just yolk or egg white, then separating white from yolk would be the better option. (Here’s a ton of recipes that use eggs!)

 

Either way is fine, but if you plan to store your eggs whole, then consider beating them just past the blending point. Doing this prevents the yolks from taking on a gelatinous consistency, which can be very difficult to cook with.

 

How to store just egg whites

Whites are relatively easy to store. Break the egg, and separate out the yolk, being careful to avoid getting any yolk in them. Then pour the whites into your receptacle of choice, and freeze. The best containers for whites are ice cube trays or in large freezer bags. Label them with the date of storage and quantity of eggs.

 

How to freeze the yolk

Yolks are trickier, because the freezing process causes them to thicken or gel. Once gelled, their usage diminishes significantly, and while it might be possible to find a use for them, the uses of gelled yolks are quite few and far between.

 

For every 4 yolks, you should beat in either 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1.5 teaspoons sugar. Be sure to label the bag with when they were frozen and whether they have been beaten with sugar or salt. Pulling out sweetened yolks for a main dish, or salted yolks for a dessert isn’t the best idea!

 

Ready, Set, Cook!

When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under running cool or cold water. Then, as soon as they are thawed, put them to use.

 

So, can you freeze eggs? The answer is YES! Go for it!