If you shop for your foods locally, you may have already noticed that eggs, like many other items, have a season, a time of greatest abundance. And like other seasonal items, one is challenged to find ways to preserve the abundance for the times of scarcity. This has been an age-old question, with some interesting solutions.
For our farm, eggs are abundant at this time of the year, early spring and summer. Often the heat of August can cause the chickens to stop laying their eggs and go through the molting process, when they naturally drop all their feathers and grow a new set. Obviously, the warmest weather is the best time for this, so that is when they do it. But again, this means no eggs! (But hours of amusement watching naked chicken butts running around!)
So the trick is to somehow stash the eggs up while they are plentiful. Storing eggs has limits, because a whole egg does not freeze well. A thawed egg is still edible, one can no longer distinguish between the white and yolk, and they no longer froth if needed. If you enjoy your eggs scrambled, they can be beaten and frozen raw, or cooked scrambled and then frozen.
Eggs can be hard-boiled and pickled, if you enjoy the unique taste. Simply save the brine from store-bought or homemade pickles and drop in your own eggs. Let them sit in the brine at least two weeks for best flavor. Pickled eggs should be stored in a very cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator or proper pantry (below 40 degrees, F).
One of our favorite ways to store up extra eggs is to make homemade pasta. European-style pasta is traditionally made from eggs, flour and salt. Pasta can be thus dried or frozen and will keep for a while. Make lots of batches of pasta while the eggs are abundant, and enjoy throughout the year.
My pasta recipe is simply:
8 cups of flour
2 tsp salt
water, if needed to moisten
We mix ours with the dough hook, but a paddle will work fine. It needs at least a couple of minutes of mixing to get the gluten strands going. The dough should not be sticky when finished. It can be rolled out by hand or put through a pasta roller. Keep layers of pasta separated with floured wax or parchment paper, or they will re-combine.
Homemade fresh pasta is boiled for a shorter time than dried. Fresh pasta is done in under 5 minutes. When it is finished it will float. It is such a treat, much more filling than the pasta from the store.
Another old-time method for storing whole eggs is to bathe them in a substance called "water-glass". This is sodium silicate, and is used 1/3 cup to 1 qt of boiled, cooled water. Eggs must be unwashed (but wiped clean) and infertile. Eggs can be stored immersed in the water-glass solution for up to three months under 40 degrees F. I have personally never done this, but have heard my elders talk of doing it with good results.
And of course, the best way to keep fresh abundant eggs from going to waste is to indulge is rich dishes and deserts that use many of them, such as mousse, sabayon, bread pudding, homemade pudding, Quiche, Carbonara, etc!
Please share your favorite recipes and methods of keeping extra eggs. I would love to hear them.
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