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 here, here, here, 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!|
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!|
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 dozen...so let's get cooking!