But what if fresh eggs were not available? Storing dried whole eggs is like having a chicken in the cupboard ... and you don't need to clean a coop! That's a REALLY good trade-off. Dried whole eggs have some other great advantages. You cannot tell the difference between dried eggs and fresh in many baked goods. They produce the same delicious results in cookies, quick breads, rolls and desserts. They even make great French toast.

A #10 can of dried whole eggs contains about 100 eggs. One tablespoon of dried egg plus two tablespoons water equals one egg. If you're cutting down a recipe, it's easy to measure half an egg.

Salmonella bacteria in eggs is destroyed in the drying process — so eating cookie dough is safe if you use dried eggs.

Dried whole eggs have a shelf life of five years if stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, they are good to use for a year stored on the shelf, unless otherwise indicated on the label. It's important to keep opened eggs away from moisture. In humid climates, transfer eggs to a resealable plastic bag. Return them to the can, keeping them away from light, which prolongs their shelf life.

Dried whole eggs are lumpy. It is simple to push them through a small sieve, which I store with my measuring spoons, using the back of the tablespoon. It's a no-fuss way to add them to dry ingredients.

Because they do not have the same binding qualities as fresh eggs, dried eggs produce more crumbly cake mixes. These do better served as cupcakes. Cakes made from scratch are less crumbly, but are best served as picnic cakes, out of the pan. Custards don't set without increasing the amount of dried egg, which also increases cholesterol. These are best made with fresh eggs.

Dried whole eggs are best used in baking. By themselves they won't taste like fresh eggs. For scrambled eggs, store dried egg mix, which combines dried whole eggs with other ingredients, creating delicious flavor.

Consider also storing a good quality shortening for food storage baking. Shortening stores for a long time in a cool, dark place, and is great for baking cookies and cakes, important moral boosters in a time of difficulty! Some brands of shortening, the most common being Crisco, now contain zero trans fats, making shortening safer to eat than previously.

Dried shortening produces dry cookies and cakes. It works very well in a quick mix, making wonderful baked foods.

If any of your favorite cookie recipes call for shortening (no butter or margarine), you can substitute all the white flour with 100% fine whole wheat flour and get the same delicious results. White wheat has a milder flavor and produces lighter colored baked foods.

My teenage children often gave our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe made with whole wheat flour and powdered eggs to friends, who gobbled them up without even knowing. It's a fun way to include healthy whole wheat in your diet.

Once while I was speaking in our stake, the audience was served fresh chocolate chip cookies made with all whole wheat flour and powdered eggs. One man was so wowed by the great flavor, he volunteered to take work off, cook them at home and deliver them fresh to a class I taught at a local university. Unfortunately, the logistics of that were impossible, but it was fun to feel his enthusiasm. He wanted to tell the world, "Hey, look! chocolate chip cookies out of food storage are fantastic!" And you can't beat a chocolate chip cookie for comfort food (in fact, at our house, we think chocolate chips belong in basic food storage).

Why not try dried whole eggs? At some point you just decide to buy a can and open it. If you're single or just two of you, consider splitting the cost of a can with a few friends and diving in to experiment.

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Keep fresh eggs in your fridge for some of your cooking, and use dried eggs in your baking. You'll discover how easy it is to fix delicious cookies, pancakes, muffins, French toast and desserts using dried whole eggs. These are foods we love to eat. Now we can eat them, without fresh eggs, anytime and, importantly, in an emergency.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 t. vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 t. salt

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 t. baking soda

2 T. dried whole egg

3 cups fine whole wheat flour

1/4 cup water

2 cups chocolate chips

2 T. reconstituted dry milk

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

In a bowl mix, just until combined, ingredients in first column and vanilla. (Shortening will be in small lumps.) Mix dry ingredients together; blend into shortening mixture. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375º F for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

(© "Emergency Food in Nutshell," 2nd Edition Revised, Probert and Harkness)