[The photos in this blog post are numbered since they are potential illustrations for a Backwoods Home Magazine article. This post is also more abbreviated than usual since the bulk of information will be contained in the article]
Over the summer, we had -- to put it mildly -- a glut of eggs. I wanted to find a suitable way to preserve the excess.
While there are numerous ways to preserve eggs, for a variety of reasons I wanted to experiment with dehydrating. There are many online references to the ease of dehydrating eggs, but nearly all of them admitted the potential for salmonella. Almost every reference I saw, people dehydrated their eggs at temperatures ranging from 125F to 145F. After some research, we learned that temp is too low, and 160F minimum (I bumped it to 165F to be safe) was necessary to keep salmonella from forming during the dehydration process.
We were in the market for a dehydrator anyway, so I began looking for a machine that achieved that temperature. To my surprise, even the most expensive dehydrators didn't go that high. I had better success with the lower-priced dehydrators and ended up ordering a Presto Digital Electric Dehydrator (model 06301) for about $65 on Amazon. I also ordered fruit roll sheets for each tray, since these are necessary to hold the liquified eggs.
Dehydrating is simple. I took five eggs at a time and blended them in a blender for a few seconds...
...then poured the liquified eggs carefully on the fruit roll sheet on each tray. The dehydrator came with six trays, which meant I could dehydrate 30 eggs at a time.
I set the temperature at 165F for ten hours.
At the end of this time, the dried eggs resemble thin peanut brittle, and the color is dark orange. (I learned that commercially dehydrated eggs are "de-sugared" before being dried, which better preserves the color and texture of the original egg.)
Some people recommend lightly oiling or spraying the fruit roll sheets so the dried eggs will slide off more easily, but I found this is absolutely NOT the case (at least, not with these particular fruit roll sheets). The eggs just slid off.
This is 30 eggs' worth of dehydrated stuff. Very compact.
I used our mini food processor to grind the dried eggs.
30 eggs came to about four cups of granules. The dehydrated eggs have a "greasy" feel, but this is normal.
The next step was learning how well dehydrated eggs performed. To rehydrate, use a 2:1 ratio of water:egg powder. Here's one tablespoon of eggs powder...
...mixed with two tablespoons of water. Let it sit for a few minutes.
To test the dehydrated eggs in baking, I made two identical batches of cornmeal muffins. Here are the bowls of dry ingredients:
Here are the bowls of wet ingredients (dehydrated egg version is always on the left):
Ingredients mixed together.
Spooned into muffin cups, ready to bake. (By the way, I hope everyone knows the trick of filling any empty muffin spaces with water so as not to warp the pan during baking.)
Baked. This is the dehydrated egg version:
This is the fresh egg version:
Dehydrated version on the left, fresh egg version on the right. They look slightly different in size, but in fact they were almost identical (just my bad photography).
I couldn't taste the difference. I gave a "blind taste test" to Younger Daughter, and she couldn't tell the difference either. I give dehydrated eggs a "thumbs up" for baking purposes.
But what about direct eating? I scrambled two fresh eggs:
And I "scrambled" two tablespoons of rehydrated eggs (4 tablespoons of water):
There was no comparison. The rehydrated eggs were absolutely revolting (not to mention half the volume of the fresh eggs).
I tried rehydrating the dried eggs with milk instead of water...
...and the result was just as bad. MAJOR "thumbs down" for direct eating of rehydrated eggs.
Other people claim success in direct eating of dehydrated eggs, but I sure didn't.
Conclusion: Dehydrating eggs isn't worth it if you have to purchase eggs, but absolutely worth it if you have a surplus of your own eggs. But be safe -- don't dehydrate at temps lower than 165F or you risk salmonella poisoning.
I'm storing my dehydrated eggs in the freezer at the moment, but I will also fill some pint jars and use an oxygen absorber and store them in my canning closet, which is cool and dark.