Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve heard from a lot of folks who’ve stocked up on powdered foods. It’s a comfort to know you won’t go hungry if you can’t leave your house for a while. But how can you know if your family will eat the food you’ve been stocking up on? What if your toddler refuses the powdered staples you’ve bought in bulk?
We haven’t gone to a store in three months, and in that time I’ve tormented my family with rancid powdered sour cream and powdered whole eggs that smelled and tasted like drywall. Still, I haven’t given up on powdered food. On a whim, and against my better judgement, I ordered a can of Augason Farms Scrambled Egg Mix, as it was on sale for $20, but retails for $35.99.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Out of all the powdered foods we’ve tried, the Augason Farms scrambled eggs are by far the best.
- That said, powdered food isn’t great.
- It’s always best to try powdered foods before stocking up.
- Just in case you (like us) have found yourself with an overwhelming supply of powdered eggs, we spoke to the pros to get a recipe to make them edible. (Spoiler alert: chefs recommend adding lots of spices.)
Augason Farms boasts that a sealed can of its scrambled egg powder can sit on the shelf for 10 years, and up to a year after the can has been opened.
Augason Farms Scrambled Egg Powder
First test of Augason Farms scrambled eggs
I was hopeful because Augason Farms is a well-known supplier of survival foods. So I cracked open the can and… it actually smelled pretty good. Not at all like drywall spackle, and a bit sweet.
The instructions call for a 1:1 mix of water to egg powder. ¼ cup of egg powder and ¼ cup of warm water equals two eggs. So I mixed it up and whisked it smooth. The resulting liquid looked and smelled pretty close to a couple of scrambled eggs.
I cooked it in my cast iron pan with a bit of lard. Just like the American Family Supply whole eggs, the Augason Farms scrambled eggs cooked quickly even at low heat.
The result? Actually edible. Not much in terms of weird smell or taste. They didn’t taste exactly like regular scrambled eggs, but they were okay. My two sons, who love eggs, even ate a few of them.
Round 2: Two steps forward and one step back
Huge success, or so I thought. I slapped the lid on and put it in the cabinet, as there were no special storage instructions on the can.
A week later, my oldest son wanted some scrambled eggs, so I thought it’d be an interesting experiment to whip up some of the powdered ones and see if he’d notice. What are children for if not blind taste tests? This time, however, I microwaved the eggs instead of scrambling them in a skillet. If you’ve never done this, spray a mug with non-stick spray, scramble your eggs in the mug, and then microwave for 20-30 seconds. Pull out the mug, scramble again, and microwave for a shorter length of time. Repeat until done.
The result? He barely touched them, and complained that they tasted “sour.” They weren’t sour when I tried them, but they did taste a little ‘off.’ So I did what any good dad would do: I foisted them off on the baby. Not only did he not touch the eggs, he fell asleep in his high chair. Quite the critique from the little one.
The bottom line for this taste test: the microwave is not an ideal cooking method for these eggs.
Round 3: Going for the gusto
Was the bad second showing due to the fact that I microwaved them? I regretfully decided to try again. I mixed up yet another batch of powdered eggs and scrambled them in a lard-infused cast-iron pan. This time, I tried going for a softer scramble, frequently stirring the eggs as they cooked. The flavor was better, but the texture was like powdered mush. Blech.
So I tried yet another batch of powdered eggs. This time I pulled out all the stops:
- I blended the mixture with a stick blender. That actually didn’t work very well, so I had to finish whisking with a fork.
- I used warm, raw milk instead of water.
- I added a pinch of Lowry’s Seasoning Salt to the mixture. I usually don’t add salt to eggs until they’ve firmed up a bit, but powdered eggs don’t play by the same rules as fresh ones.
- I used butter in the pan instead of lard.
- I cooked the eggs thoroughly to reduce the mushy texture. This is another area where powdered eggs deviate from fresh eggs. When cooking fresh eggs, you want to remove them from the heat when they’re still a little wet.
The results were much better. While the flavor wasn’t the same as fresh eggs, it was acceptable. The texture was better, too. My son even ate some and gave them a thumbs up. However, with the use of fresh milk and butter, it felt like a bit of a cheat. In search of more tips that wouldn’t require me to use fresh products, I put out a call to professionals.
“You want to get as much air into the mix as possible so you end up with fluffy eggs. Blend for 2-3 minutes minimum. The mix might seem runny, not like “normal” egg, but that’s the secret. If you mix them too dry, you end up with a gluggy egg. If you like your eggs more creamy, add a tablespoon or two of powdered milk to the mix before cooking,” said Elle Meager, founder of Outdoor Happens.
James Kilpatrick of Beanie Coffee seconded the advice to add plenty of air to the eggs. He also suggested adding extras like peppers and spices, and cooking the eggs until they’re dry, the latter of which I had found true in my testing.
It really seems like the trick to making these eggs edible is to toss in as many spices as possible to mask the flavor, which is something I heard repeatedly from experts in the field.
So I decided on one more batch with the tips I’d learned and no perishables. The results? The eggs were actually good! My son complained that they were too “spicy,” but my wife, who hates eggs in general and really hates being a guinea pig for my powdered egg experiments gave her approval.
A recipe for good powdered scrambled eggs
After some experimenting in America’s Test Survival Kitchen (OK, my kitchen), I discovered a winning formula for powdered scrambled eggs.
- 1/4 cup Augason Farms Scrambled Egg Mix
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp Lowry’s Seasoning Salt
- Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Two drops of hot sauce, or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp onion powder (it’s strong stuff, don’t go crazy here)
- 1/2 tsp powdered milk (optional, but recommended)
- 1/2 tbsp lard (you can use any oil, but lard has a long shelf life and plenty of protein)
- Heat a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
- While the pan heats, add the ingredients (except lard) to a mixing cup or bowl.
- Whisk the mixture thoroughly, ideally with a stick blender or hand mixer with a whisk attachment. You want to whisk until you see bubbles in the mixture.
- Add the lard to the skillet and distribute evenly as it melts.
- Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Don’t bother scraping out any leftover clumps, you only want to cook the smooth mixture.
- Stir the eggs regularly with a spatula or wooden spoon. If the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, take them off the heat for a bit.
- When the eggs start to look dry and crumbly, remove from the heat and plate them.
When cooked properly, powdered scrambled eggs won’t be as pretty as fresh eggs. If you try to plate them when they’re still a bit wet, you’re going to find yourself biting into wet powder. The more you cook them without burning them, the better.
Are Augason’s eggs worth your money and trouble?
I managed to make these eggs edible, but for all the money I’ve spent on powdered eggs, I could have bought a great deal of dry rice and beans that, while bland, have a long shelf life and no off flavors.
I think that concludes my experiments with powdered foods. These were by far the best that we’ve tried, and even then they’re pretty bad, at least unless you add a lot of seasoning. Maybe we’re just snobs, but had no problem scarfing down the 4Patriots survival foods. If you need eggs in a STHF situation, I recommend keeping chickens or making friends with people who do.