What to do with an abundance of eggs
We have a saint of a neighbor/adopted family member that shares her extra eggs with us. Recently, her chickens have been laying eggs like gang-busters. It’s sort of strange since the temperatures have still been cold. Typically, chickens have slower production in the winter. Maybe they’re starting to sense the longer days as we get closer and closer to spring. I know the longer sunshine is brightening my spirits. The chickens may be feeling a bit excited too!
Since they have been laying so many eggs, there have been literally tens of dozens of eggs every two weeks. It’s an egg-bonanza. I hate to waste food and to dishonor a bounty when it comes our way but this was A LOT of eggs. So I did some research on what to do with this windfall.
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1) Store ‘em
When we went to England last summer, I was surprised to see eggs on the regular shelves in the store rather than in the fridge. It turns out that freshly laid eggs that haven’t been washed can be left out at room temperature. In the US, the eggs are washed and coasted with a chlorine spray to reduce salmonella. That washing removes an outer “bloom” that could otherwise protect the contents from salmonella. They also inoculate their chickens against salmonella so there isn’t salmonella from the inside. Fresh unwashed eggs from clean coops can even last on the counter for weeks but they will lose their freshness faster. When in doubt if the eggs have been washed or even brushed to be cleaned, keep them in the refrigerator. Use good kitchen sense and be sure to wash your hands after handling raw egg and cook your eggs thoroughly.
While hard-boiling eggs will last a shorter amount of time than fresh eggs (one week vs. 4-6 weeks), they are a great portable snack. Check out this great video “The Secret to Peeling Farm Fresh Eggs” from the FlipFlop Barnyard for a neat trick!
2) Freeze ‘em
Did you know you can freeze eggs? I know it’s sounds strange. Egg yolks or whole eggs that aren’t mixed will not keep very well as the yolk texture gets weird. TheKitchn suggest mixing 1 cup of yolks or blended whole eggs with 1/2 teaspoon of salt or 1 Tablespoon of sugar to maintain texture. Just be sure to label your container with how many eggs and how much salt/sugar you added. Labeling sugar or salt will also remind you whether you can use the frozen eggs in sweet or savory projects. You can also hard-boil egg yolks then freeze those for topping salads or garnish pasta. Egg whites will freeze just find on their own. You can freeze the eggs in smaller baking dishes then collect the frozen blocks into a larger plastic bag. Or you can pour them into ice cube trays. Most ice cubes are about 1 oz which is about 2 tablespoons.
If you have a lot of chickens and seem to have more than you can handle week after week, consider an arrangement with you your local grocery store, farmers market, or even a roadside stand. There are several such stands around my town. Keep an eye out next time you’re driving around your neighborhood or walking at the market to get a feeling for the average cost per dozen. Generally, people don’t struggle to pay just a little extra for fresh eggs over store bought eggs because there is definitely better color and flavor to fresher eggs. The eggs you get at the grocery store are usually already 3-4 weeks old. So look around to see if you can charge $3, $4, or even $6 per dozen. You can even try a roadside donation box with the eggs for a while if you don’t mind losing some to theft, which can happen. You may get a few repeat customers that you can trust enough. Or, better yet, tell them to text you when they will be coming by so you can put them in the box right before they’ll come. It’s still convenient for you with a greater chance that they’ll get to the paying customer.
4) Pickle ‘em
Have you ever been to the deli or small grocery store and seen the large glass jars with the perfect eggs shapes floating around? Those are pickled eggs. I’m not a fan of boiled eggs to begin with but these are worth trying. Pickling is technically another way to store the eggs but in a very different way. The traditional way my grandmother made pickled eggs is with beet juice, which turns the eggs a beautiful purple. Healing Harvest Homestead has a great recipe for pink (beet) and yellow (turmeric, a great anti-inflammatory) pickled eggs.
There are endless uses for eggs from main attraction to secret ingredient. Of course, your first thought may be scrambled, fried, or poached. You may even try a frittata, omelette, or quiches. You can even freeze the quiches or frittatas. But don’t stop there! Pasta, pound cake, and ice cream are some less thought-of and very delicious ways to use them.
Check out my post for some great recipes for eggs.