Tuesday, August 21

Chicken or the Egg


Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs:
As some of you know one of my dreams was raising chickens. That dream I have fulfilled with beautiful fat happy chickens I raised from babies.

The excitement to find the first egg, well unless you have raised chickens you have no idea the anticipation that goes into each visit to the coop, wondering if today is the day I will find our first egg. Being the goof that I am, I cried over that first egg.

There is a kinship formed with the chickens when you raise them, and all of a sudden I was sadden by the thought of eating those perfect eggs my chickens had created. So I decided I would be the one to eat those first few eggs myself. It was something I felt I needed to do since I was the one to nurture the chicks into adulthood. Doing so completed a very beautiful cycle, as I see it.


One of my Plymouth Rock Hens and my Rooster
Flash forward a couple months and my girls (15 hens) are laying 12 to 15 eggs a day!
Whoa, what to do with all these eggs?
I have given away a dozen or two here and there to neighbors and visiting family, and make large weekend breakfasts, but the hens are outlaying my giving-away.

Collected eggs today in a pocket of my old apron

I thought about selling the extra eggs but my husband Bill does not like the idea of “strangers” pulling into our farm looking for eggs. He believes selling eggs will draw in “unsavory characters” or point us out to thieves. I can’t say I disagree with him completely.
And with all the regulations, laws and rules our "big brother" government and FDA are passing and trying to pass, it may be impossible in the very near future for a small farmer to sell eggs at all.

So, I am coming up with alternative uses for eggs.
From what I have read, my chicken’s egg production will drop dramatically in the winter months, so I have decided to freeze a few dozen now while production is high.
These eggs can be unthawed and used in baked items, such as cake, bread or muffins.

Frozen Eggs:
First I crack the desired amount into a bowl that has a pour spout and slightly scramble the eggs.
Next I pour the eggs into a clean ice cube tray.
After experimenting I found that it takes approximately 3/4 of an egg to fill one cube compartment.
(Good to know for future recipes)
 After frozen I remove the eggs from the tray and place the egg cubes in a freezer bag and deep freeze.

Another idea that uses a lot of eggs is homemade egg noodles.
I don’t know about you, but when the snow flies, there is something delicious and comforting about homemade noodles in a stew or soup. These are pretty easy to make, and one taste may convince you not to eat commercially made noodles again.

Homemade Egg Noodles

2 cups of flour,
1 teaspoon of salt
4 eggs.

This recipe can be cut in half for a smaller batch, or double to make your noodles all at once to freeze or dry.
Pour flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt. Make a well or dip in the flour. Crack eggs into the well. Slightly scramble the eggs, then start stirring in the flour. Mix until the dough is stiff. With floured hands knead dough well, using more flour if necessarily.
Divide dough in half. Roll out half the dough to desired thickness, ¼ an inch to really thin, whatever you like. I like thick noodles in chicken stew, yum!
Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut noodles to desired width. With a spatula loosen noodles and add to your boiling broth or directly to stew, stirring well to prevent them from sticking to each other. Repeat steps for second half of dough.

PRINT THIS RECIPE


To Dry: Lay cut noodles out on a floured counter or sheet pan until dry, although they will dry faster if hung to allow better air circulation. If correctly and completely dried pasta can be transferred to zip-lock bags or other airtight containers and stored for several months.

To freeze: Frozen noodles maintain form, and fresh flavor, better than the dried. Dust noodles with flour then flash freeze noodles on a flat cookie sheet. Once firm, loosely pack them into storage containers or freezer bags; add frozen noodles directly to boiling liquid stirring gently to break them apart. No need to unthaw.

Flash freezing: The process of spacing items out on a tray, freezing them until they are firm and then storing them in more space efficient freezer bags or containers.

The eggs from my hens are all different shades of beautiful

Other uses for eggs:

  • Breakfast (endless recipes)
  • Quiches
  • Custard
  • Crème Brulee
  • Frittata
  • Soufflé
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Egg Salad
  • Pickled Eggs
  • Zabaglione
  • Hard Boiled


Right now I'm looking up recipes on how to make pickled eggs.  Saw a jar full at my daughter's mother-in laws, and thought that would be a great way to have cooked eggs on hand for an afternoon snack.  (The kids are ALWAYS hungry around here!)

Egg Facts:

• Eggs are naturally high in Protein
• A large egg has less than five grams of fat and is not high in kilojoule
• Eggs have less than 2 grams saturated fat
• Eggs are a source of 11 vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of vitamin B12 which may be lacking in vegetarian diets
• Eggs are a source of Iron. Iron is best absorbed from food when Vitamin C is also present so combine your eggs with a glass of orange juice for even better nutrition
• Eating 2 eggs per day will not increase LDL (bad) blood cholesterol for people with a normal blood cholesterol level
• Eggs are an ideal food as an alternative to meat
• Eggs are very economical and highly nutritious

More Egg Information:

Egg Industry

Community Supported Agriculture for Meat and Eggs

Home-Produced Chicken Eggs

Egg Recipes


Happy Chickens lay tasty eggs!

Elizabeth


4 comments:

ourhomesteaddream.com said...

Lovely chickens! My older Heritage Rhode Island Reds and Chanteclers are 14 weeks now. Getting close to egg time!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks! This year we have 9 more pullets, 2 turkey and 4 quinea hens. The pullets have about another month before they start laying.
I am amazed at how gentle the turkey are and am finding it hard to think about having them for Thanksgiving dinner, :(
The quinea are pretty much wild but will come pretty close to me and their feathers are just so beautiful!
Elizabeth

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Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

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