By Ben See | 02/17/2012
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a recent “Ask A Mixologist” transcription. We turned it into a Fire Blog due to the amount of questions we receive on this subject.
Question: I was reading Ben See’s report about Fire Brining single eggs. After they are cured how long do they last in a fridge or freezer? Thanks.
Brad, I believe I can give you some suggestions and results from my testing. Fire Brine is a great cure. It’s quick and easy. I haven’t found a way to mess up a batch of eggs during the curing stages. Meanwhile, I have discovered tricks to preserving eggs longer with the Fire Brine.
The beauty of Fire Brine is being able to mix and match the liquid to achieve specific colors. However, being that the brine is new, research on prolonged preservation of brine-cured eggs is ongoing.
From my experience and testing so far, there’s a few ways to cure with Fire Brine. Each has a different optimal shelf life in the refrigerator. Here’s what I’ve found.
Method #1. Fire Brine with no Pautzke powdered cures mixed in
I’ve kept eggs for three months in optimal refrigerated egg preservation. After three months, I’ve noticed some eggs in the bottom quarter of the Ziploc getting soft. The top ones remain good.
Option #2. Fire Brine with a cup of BorX O’ Fire
I’ve kept eggs refrigerated for six months. This method uses Fire Brine as the main agent while a cup of BorX O’ Fire is added. The eggs formulated from this process look as good as new.
Option #3. Fire Brine with Borax powder as a storing agent
The eggs cured in this method have been in the fridge for more than six months. This stems from curing eggs with Fire Brine, then prior to storing in the fridge I put 20 Mule Borax powder on them. (This can be found at a grocery store in the laundry detergent isle.) I’ve stored them in a mason jar and Ziploc bags. Both look good and fish as good as if they were freshly cured.
My observations: (Keep in mind, the eggs used in the above processes were stored in a refrigerator and not froze.)
Option #2 I did just out of curiosity. As a side effect, the added BorX O’ Fire powder cure steps has seemed to allow the eggs to store longer in the refrigerator.
Option #3 came about as a direct result of me noticing some eggs were loosing their shape and form over time with just Fire Brine, so I took those eggs and put the 20 Mule Borax on them in an effort to determine if this would prolong their life. It has seemed to do so.
When it comes to Fire Brine and storing the eggs in the freezer things become easier. Egg longevity is greatly extended in my experience. As mentioned on Pautzke.com and a blog post I recently saw, freezing and also vacuum sealing eggs extends the life of the egg. Nevertheless, my overall experience with Fire Brine, specifically, is only roughly six months.
In general, if you fish weekly and go through many pounds of eggs then the refrigerator method is probably your best bet as you won’t be keeping eggs for longer then three months, anyway. But, if you go through fewer than five pounds of eggs a year, and want the ability to have the best possible eggs for an extended period of time, then freezing is best.
What I recommend when freezing:
#1. Cure in Fire Brine as normal
#2. Pat dry eggs with paper towels
#3. Place eggs preferably in a single layer. Using Ziploc bags fill them enough so when they lay flat they form a single layer.
#4. Stack the bags on top of each other in the freezer
#5. Wait 24-48 hours for the eggs to turn into hard balls
#6. Empty frozen eggs into vacuum seal bags. It’s critical to only put enough eggs into each bag that you think you would use in a day. After you thaw cured eggs, they should not be frozen again as they become weak, break, and unusable the second freeze. This has nothing to do with the curing process chosen, rather the general characteristics of the egg itself.
#7. Seal the eggs and store in the freezer
When you are ready to hit the water, take out a sealed bag, thaw it and go fishing. Your eggs should be just as good as the day you cured them. The slower the thaw, the better the egg. Basically, room temperature overnight will work. In my experience if you try and thaw the eggs out by running the bag under warm water, like I have been known to do because of impatience, then your eggs can be a bit weaker. Again, this is not due to the chosen cure rather the general properties of the egg itself.
I currently have 15 pounds of eggs in different stages, from Fire Brine to the Pautzke powder cures and a mix between: both refrigerated and frozen. Every so often I take out a sampling and check their quality. Frozen eggs are the best for the extended storing time frame. However, for those that go through a lot of eggs and refrigerate, Fire Brine is by far the best product on the market. No longer do you have to worry about how-to cure the eggs. It’s literally as easy as 1-2-3.
I hope I have answered your questions, and feel free to contact us in the future.
Fish Hard… Fish Often….