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for preserving eggs

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What waterglass is

Tin of Water glass, also known as waterglass, for preserving eggs

Tin of water glass for preserving eggs. Photographed at Llanerchaeron House.

Water glass is a sodium silicate solution that supposedly sealed the pores in the egg shells to stop them going bad.

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What waterglass is not

Water glass is not to be confused with isinglass which is made from fish swim bladders. In the old days it was used clarify cloudy wine. I used isinglass when making home-made wines many years ago.

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How to spell waterglass

Three spellings seem accepted: 'water glass', 'water-glass' and 'waterglass'. It is still available on line or from specialist shops.

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How my mother preserved eggs using waterglass

We used to preserve eggs with waterglass in the war.

We bought the waterglass as a powder in a packet similar to that of a 2lb cardboard castor sugar packet. We poured the powder into a bucket and mixed in water until it reached the right consistency. It then looked rather like a cloudy grey and very liquid polycell wallpaper paste.

My mother had a large stoneware container with a lid. When she had any eggs to preserve, she simply poured the waterglass into it and lowered the eggs in one by one. Then she put the lid back on again.

I don't really know how long they could be kept, but at least a couple of months I think.

Dick Hibberd

We didn't leave our eggs in the waterglass liquid but just painted each one and left it to dry before storing. Sometime it was some months before we ate any.

Chris Phillips

We had a stoneware jar of waterglass in the pantry. We didn't use it much, though, because one really had to have a good source of eggs to make it worthwhile, and that meant keeping hens.

Norman Groocock

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How we used the eggs preserved in waterglass

The eggs came out of water glass feeling slimy but as far as I can remember they were OK boiled. I preferred the dried egg for omelettes.

Norman Groocock

When we needed an egg, it was simply lifted from the liquid, washed, and used in the normal way. I don't remember that the eggs tasted any different from fresh ones.

Dick Hibberd

There were a few failures I remember, but most of the waterglass eggs tasted OK.

Chris Phillips

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster