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Creative homemakers in 1915 ensured fresh eggs

This week’s recipes, using eggs, come from the Five Roses Cookbook.
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

In 1915, without today’s refrigeration, access to grocery stores or other sources of eggs,  homemakers used other methods of ensuring that eggs would be available when they were needed.

A recipe from a Gilbert Plains, Man. homemaker was published in the 1915 Five Rose Cookbook, giving her secret for egg preservative. She used 1 pint salt,

2 pints fresh lime and 3 gallons cold water to preserve 14 dozen eggs.

Mix ingredients well, giving it two days to dissolve, stirring often. Pour off the liquid after the lime settles. Place in a large crock barrel.

Put in your eggs without cracking the shells. Keep covered with brine. If brine falls shorts, make more in the same way and add to the eggs.

The recipe’s author said in her recipe that she has used this formula for years and “my eggs are as good the next spring as when I put them away. I always put up eggs for the winter in May when they are cheaper.”


Another gem from the cookbook explains how to determine if eggs are fresh.

Place an egg in a glass of water. If the egg is fresh it will remain resting at the bottom of the vessel. If it is not quite fresh, it will rest with the big end raised higher than the small end. The higher the big end is raised, the older the egg.

“In warm weather, it is a good idea to place eggs in their shell in cold water before using as they will froth finer if this is done. Be sure eggs are fresh as no amount of beating will make a stiff froth if they are not.”


This week’s recipes, using eggs, come from the Five Roses Cookbook.


Cornstarch Cake

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Five Roses flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsps. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.

Dissolve cornstarch in the milk. Add to the butter mixture.

Sift the baking powder and flour three times and add to the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the vanilla and mix again. Bake in a moderate oven.


Favourite Square Cake

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup pulverized sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups Five Roses flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup seeded raisins, well floured

Bake in a square tin. Frost with plain or chocolate icing. Cut in squares.


Joyce Walter can be reached at [email protected]