Monday, June 3, 2013

The Incredible, Edible, Storable Egg!

Confession time: I love eggs.

Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, in custards, cakes, souffles or quiches...I love eggs.

And June is the perfect month to talk about eggs, because if you own chickens, your egg production is about to overwhelm you. What do you do with all those eggs?

First of all, lets talk about the elephant in the room. Those of us who have been around for awhile have been told that eggs - especially that horrible yolk - is one of the worst things you can eat for your health.

Guess what? The studies have been redone, official guidelines changed, and nobody bothered to tell us - the innocent consumer.

It turns out eggs don't have the cholesterol numbers we were once told (some attribute it to different diet for the hens), but more importantly, eggs supply too many good nutrients to quit them cold turkey...or chicken.

Egg yolks are excellent - and easily absorbed - sources of Vitamin D, the B Vitamins, protein and important enzymes. They are a perfect choice for a healthy diet.

Most medical people recommend no more than one egg per day for a healthy person. That means in one week you can have a boiled egg diced and added to your salad one day, a couple scrambled eggs for breakfast two other days, and a veggie frittata for supper one night.

You can read all about the health benefits of eggs hereherehere, and here.

Second, with all those choices on the grocery shelf, what kind of eggs should you buy? After all, look at that refrigerator section! Cage-free, organic, white, brown, all-vegetable fed, medium, large, extra large...and if you're in a place like Whole Foods, you might even find free-range.

My first choice source for eggs would be my own backyard...
My dream chicken coop!
...but, alas, my city doesn't allow backyard chickens. :(

So I go with my second choice - I buy from a local rancher. The eggs are wonderful, and I know his chickens roam freely during the day, and are also fed a high quality chicken feed.

My third choice is natural eggs from vegetarian-fed hens found in the refrigerator at the store. But only if I have to.

This is why - an egg's nutrition depends on how the hen is raised and fed. You can tell how much nutrition a hen has been getting by the color of the egg's yolk.

The darker yellow the yolk, the more nutritious the egg. And do you see the difference in the egg whites in the picture? The backyard egg on the right has a yolk that is firmer, not watery. Another sign of a more nutritious egg.

But now, back to the subject at hand. It's June and the hens are laying like...well, like someone told them to get those chicks hatched now so that they'll be big and healthy once winter rolls around again. That means lots and lots of eggs!

You have two choices when faced with that many eggs: store them or use them!
My supply of eggs on June 1!
So first, we'll store them.

There are several way to store eggs, but the easiest is to freeze them.

Freeze the amount you'll use at one time - usually two eggs - and plan to use them in baking. Use fresh eggs for eating because freezing will affect the taste and texture somewhat.

Don't freeze eggs in the shell. Break them into a bowl and stir them with a fork just enough to mix the yolk and white together.

Put the eggs into a freezer container, label, date, and use within a year.

Another way to do it is to freeze the eggs in ice cube trays and store the individual cubes in a freezer bag. Two cubes = one large egg (approximately).

When you're ready to use the eggs, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.

That took care of a dozen! We'll keep a couple dozen for using over the next couple weeks, but that leaves us with an extra half let's get cooking!

What can you cook that uses a lot of eggs? Here are a few things I thought of: custard, cake, egg noodles, pies (lots of them!)....

What is your favorite way to use eggs? I'll make a big pot of tea (over ice for those in the south), and let's chat!

Thatcher at 9 weeks. Don't you love those ears?


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! But his cuteness makes it hard to discipline him... :)

  2. Oh, my hens are having an egg-laying party and guess what I got in my e-mail box yesterday????

    No, not an EGG... Better!!! My baby chicks have been mailed! :) Yes, that's correctamundo, I am expecting fifteen baby chicks (some male, some female) to arrive today!

    How fun will that phone call from the post office be??? "Um, Ruthy??? You have baby chicks here and they're kind of stinky. How soon can you pick them up????"


    So today we'll get their temporary housing ready. We'll buy chick-starter food and set up the warming light. Babies in the house! I love it!!!

    And yes, Jan, the eggs are so much fun. I'm eating a lot of eggs these days, high protein, low-carb and they're a great addition to my quest for "zipping those shorts!!!"

    I also supplement the big dogs with eggs when they're plentiful, a shot of protein in their food dish. I scramble them up in the microwave and add it to their kibble.

    Thatcher has bat ears!!!! LOVE IT!!!

    1. More chickens! Yay! And babies :) They're so cute for a few weeks, and then they go through that unfortunate stage my children call "the uglies". Half grown chickens are so ugly, the only thing you can do is keep feeding them out of pity.

      And then from that mess we get the noble hen. Whew!

    2. I was all set to talk about eggs. But now all I can think is: YOU CAN MAIL CHICKS??????????????????

      I'm stunned. LOL!

      Have fun, Ruthy!

    3. I didn't know you could mail them either! must not be hot up there- those suckers would be fried here in Houston!
      Susanna who's kinda queasy after looking at all the pics of raw eggs :-( i'm kinda burned out on eggs right now - started buying mine from a guy at work - he has chickens so they're fresh. and brown. if I run out I buy at the grocery store - last time got some brown cage free ones seems like or eggland's best grandma used to raise chickens and sell eggs - oddly enough my mom never got any from her - said she had a rooster and was afraid we'd be eating baby chickens or something

  3. OK, I always knew farm eggs had a different colored yolk, but never knew why! I suppose I could have googled. But why, when Jan will just tell me!!

    We have four free-range hens (read that to mean they're on bug patrol but watch your sandwich because they are sneaky little critters). I'm not a fan of chickens. They really seem like dinsauer throw-backs to me. BUT I love how they take dirt baths. I love how they peck at nasty bugs that are eating the strawberry plants. I love how they add a certain something to our urban yard.

    We've had people ask if it's even legal to have chickens in the city. Ours does allow chickens, but no roosters. So when we've had chicks, we have to pass on the roosters to friends when they get old enough to make noise.

    Anyway, loving the deep, dark golden yellow of our yolks. I'd always noticed and wondered, but now don't have to because Jan cleared it all up.

    HOORAY for nutrition!!

  4. P.S. We get four eggs a day. 28 a week. 112 a month. You get the picture. We use eggs constantly in quiche and just fried on toast.
    I love that it's saving us money while giving good nutrition.

    1. You are swimming in eggs! And how perfect that your pest control company is feeding you. Does Orkin do that? No way.

      This city is the first place we've lived that doesn't allow chickens. I was upset at first, then I realized that to have chickens in a place where mountain lions and rattle snakes are frequent visitors is probably a bad idea...we don't need any more bait to lure them out of the Hills...

  5. I am an egg fan but eggs don't like me. I use the whites a lot and the yolks sparingly. Dropped my cholesterol 60 points that way. I will not give them up because they have more biotin than anything!

    Love this post.

    Peace, Julie

    1. Thanks, Julie!

      There's some controversy about whether cholesterol you eat contributes to the cholesterol in our bodies, so it could be your drop is due to other dietary changes. Either way, CONGRATULATIONS!

  6. Well, my goodness this was a wealth of information!!!! Who knew you could freeze eggs? Not moi! I'm gobsmacked!!!!!!! And the whole feed thing -- I mean I always get free range eggs because I want to support humane farming methods. When I'm feeling rich I'll also get organic. I had no idea that what the hen eats contributes to the nutrients in the egg! And I thought those bright, deep coloured yolks were likely caused by food dye or something. Bwahahahaha. Turns out they're better for you.

    I'm celebrating this blog today with a veggie and cheese omelet for supper.

    And I'm drooling over Thatcher's ears! He's part Yoda!

    1. Do you remember the old ad from the egg council? "The incredible, edible egg"? It turns out they were right. Go figure.

      Mmm...veggie and cheese omelet...mmmm...

      And the ears have changed. He'll end up with stand up ears, but right now both ears are down, and one of them is kind of folded over to the side. It's an awkward stage.

  7. Okay, I'm over envisioning little chickies in envelopes! Now I can talk eggs... :)

    I buy free range eggs. Have ever since I saw a chicken house truck carrying chickens through town--all smashed together and practically on top of each other. Very upsetting.

    But my egg yolks aren't that orange! They look like the egg on the left. Maybe I should try organic. But the organic my grocery sells aren't also free range. Tough decisions!

    I'm like Susanna. I had no idea you could freeze! If I ever find a source of home grown eggs (like raising my own chickens or a local farmer), I'll be sure to give it a try.

    I have to say I've been on an egg kick lately! Have been making egg, cheese and turkey bacon sandwiches served on bagel thins (the "everything" bagels--with garlic, onion, sesame seeds, etc.) YUM!

    1. I'm getting ready to make my breakfast when the word "bagel" drowned out everything else in your comment. I don't have any bacon, but an egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel sounds great for brunch, doesn't it?

      And here's the little secret about finding a local source for eggs - they're tons cheaper. I pay $2.50 a dozen for my free range, almost organic eggs. I'd be paying close to $4.00 a dozen for premium eggs in the store!

      To find a local supplier (sounds like drugs, doesn't it?), ask around. Many of them already have enough customers, so they don't advertise - not even that iconic "eggs for sale" sign out by the road.

      Your church is a good place to start. Your farmer's market is another good place. I hope you're able to find a source, Missy!

    2. You're right, Jan. I pay over $3 for those free range eggs. I'll ask around. We do have a produce stand in town. I'll ask if they know anyone.

      And goodness, there are chicken houses all around here! It's a big industry in this area of GA.

  8. I like to scramble my eggs and eat in breakfast fried egg whites but got tired of wasting the yolks(though at the time I 2 yolk-loving dogs- now just 1) but I buy the carton of egg whites but they're not the same :-( like the fresh ones from guy here at work.
    Susanna who didn't know you could freeze eggs (never tried it either but since I dont bake guess I wont' be trying it...)though I HAVE frozen breakfast tacos with cooked eggs :-)

    1. That's a great idea to freeze the breakfast tacos - a quick breakfast a la Jimmy Dean!

  9. Yes! You are so right, Jan. The farm-fresh eggs are substantially better than anything you can get from the grocery store. I'll take orange yolks over yellow yolks any day. So how come everyone things yolks are yellow? I don't get it.

    1. Generations of buying our eggs at the grocery store!

  10. I'd never seen one that orange until today!! :)

  11. This is very interesting. Thanks Jan. We recently started buying eggs from a gal who has her own chickens. Timely post.