Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fresh Eggs

The Silkie sisters, Puff and Zelda, are laying! Everyday! We have not had this many fresh eggs since our days on El Rancho, with Gracie, Luna, and Rosie. And we have never had so many tiny eggs. Puff and Zelda make petite oeuf.

These are the most endearing huevecitos ever, and even after an entire month of gathering these tiny eggs, they still charm me. I love seeing them in the nest box, picking them up. I love the pale, warm color, like cream in my chai. I still remember the first time I cracked one open and made Alex a fried egg on toast for breakfast... it cracked me up! I am a sucker for anomaly humor, for seeing something out of scale, out of place, unexpected. That tiny, over-easy egg looked hilariously adorable sitting on the big slice of toast.

I have a question for you fresh egg farmers: Do you ever find yourself not eating the eggs from your chicas? Do they ever accumulate, in spite of how delicious and good they are? Do you think this line of questioning is a bit nutso?

I did read one blog, where the farmer admitted she had a hard time eating the eggs produced by her own hens, and while she could not explain "why," I understood what she meant. Maybe I get too enamored of them, seeing their pretty forms, amassing my collection. I some times do consciously think: Save them for something special.

I am still learning. I still need to remind myself that special is now. Too often things are wasted, or neglected from me preserving them for the right occasion, the best time. And so I renew my pledge to use it or lose it! And I bring out the good dishes for any occasion, and suddenly any occasion feels special. No more hoarding the glitter, withholding the good stuff... now is the time to play, and celebrate, and sparkle! And use up all the pretty petite oeuf! <-----That is what I am still learning.
One more question: How do you know when an egg has gone bad?
I place the egg in a bowl of water. A fresh egg stays at the bottom. An egg that is old has absorbed air through its porous shell, and will not stay at the bottom of a bowl of water. A bad egg rises, and floats... proving it has been around too long.

Apparently older eggs, still fresh, but not the freshest, make the best boiled eggs. I think it has to do with the absorption of air, which makes the boiled egg easier to crack, and to separate the shell from the egg. Does anyone know which egg whites are best to whip in to foamy meringue? Warm or cold, extra fresh, or less fresh? I bet there is a difference.

For hencakes, three, fresh, huevecitos are just right. Gracias. Amen.


Rois said...

Ah questions I can answer, We do sometimes find ourselves with a whole basket full of our eggs.Why? Hmmm. Well sometimes it is because when you get 8 eggs a day you run out of ideas on how to eat them all up.And sometimes I just like seeing them there in the basket making me feel so accomplished in my chicken keeping.When ever I find the basket getting too full I either bake up a storm or trade them with my friends and neighbors who do not have chickens.
As for the freshness of the eggs.Homegrown eggs can stay around in the fridge for up to a month. When ever I am in doubt about how good an egg is I too float the egg in a large bowl of water.If it sinks it is good,bobs half way up to the top use it today and if it floats get rid of it.
Also to keep your eggs fresh longer don't scrub them to much if they have any dirt or poo on them. Egg shells have microscopic pores which have a protective membrane that keeps bad things out.By scrubbing the egg you also wash off this membrane and now you have let in all the things that turn eggs bad.
Can you tell? Did you figure it out? I HEART Chickens.

mtnchild said...

Right now with 5 chickens, only 2 are laying. Daily. The others will look well in freezer wrap and warm my heart another day. When I first got chickens, I ate eggs until "I" felt like a chicken ... I fried them, I hard boiled them for snacks, I made egg salad, I got sick of eating eggs!! Now when I have extra, I sell them to my neighbor. It takes a week to get a dozen, so the neighbor supplements with store bought eggs, but tells me that mine are so much better.
I'm not much of a baker - dog cookies don't take eggs, and neither does my bread recipe.
Once in a while my neighbor gets an egg or two with a bit of poo on it, I tell them to only wash them when they are ready to use them.

Amanda at 32˙North said...

That must be the most adorable pancake I've ever seen! Almost too good to eat... almost :)

Susan said...

Sweet little eggs in a very charming egg dish! My hens aren't laying at all now, so I had to find a new source. The big problem with making pets of one's chickens is when they stop laying, they're still pets. Eating and pooping machine pets. I found a guy who lives really close, and his eggs are great. Problem solved.

I can answer your other question; cold eggs for separating, room temp eggs for whipping into meringue. I don't think it matters on the freshness part, but it's been a while since I made meringue, so I could be wrong about that.

Happy Thanksgiving, Natalie! Put some eggs in your dressing!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Rois... you do *heart* chickens! Me too. And thank you, because I did not know about the scrubbing.

Yvette and Rois... what about a rinse or gentle wipe down? I am asking for Geoff's sake, because I know he is going to have objections and questions about *poo eggs!*

Yvette... you did those eggs a great honor!

I love sharing the eggs with thankful friends. Home eggs are eggceptional.<--- punny

Amnada... hencakes just got their own label, because I have made and posted so many over the years. They amuse me a lot. Maria eats the head first!!

Susan... ((hugs)) I have been thinking of you. Thank you for stopping by. Betty is slipping in to the category of eating-pooping pet-friend. I guess it's my good fortune that I can afford it, and love her so. Of course I cannot put a price on chicken watching, which for me is like therapy!

More Egg Lessons: Cold to separate, and room temp to whip!

Rois, Yvette, Amanda, Susan... Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing your time and thoughts with us.

Rois said...

A gentle wipe down is fine. You don't want to soak the eggs in water is the main point.Also I sometimes set the eggs that are really crusted with poo to one side,wash them really good and try to use them by the next day.
But when I think about it,in the whole 8 years we have had chickens I have yet to have any go bad.There are 4 of us,I bake and share when the eggs are over flowing.They get used up and since they are good for a month it all just seems to work out.
Did you know the eggs in the stores are many months old? They have been preserved with something icky.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Rois... seriously?! All of them? Many months old? And icky-dipped? Oy. Not good.

Miriam said...

I'm a bit late to this party, but here are my two-cents' worth! We have gone from eating as many eggs as we can manage (because they were piling up in the fridge) to rationing the eggs (because Kim started to sell them and there was more demand than supply). Now we're somewhere in the middle: we weigh the eggs and sell the large and extra large ones, and eat the smaller ones.

We don't get many poopy eggs but when we do we wash them because they all get eaten so quickly the loss of shelf-life doesn't matter. We were told that it's important to wash eggs in water that is 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than the eggs - the warmer water closes the pores of the eggs (I know, it's counterintuitive that warmer water closes the pores, but we have been assured this is correct!) and keeps the contents safe from the poo you're washing off.

Some of the first eggs our hens laid were tiny - so cute! You have inspired me to have a tiny fried egg on toast for breakfast tomorrow!