Eggs

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Wood County

DSC01218I love my “girls”.

Back in the fall of 2012, the daughter of a friend of my father-in-law’s (phew!) gave me an entire chicken coop as well as 5 older hens.  Some of the hens still lay (well, of the four that figured out how not to get eaten by hawks, that is...) on a consistent basis, but I was really only getting one or two eggs a day.  My family eats eggs practically every day, so I decided it was time to add some younger hens to our little flock.

Meet the new girls!

DSC01215This is Savannah.  I have no idea why I named her that, it’s just the first thing that popped into my head.  I was born in Peachtree City, Georgia though, so maybe my heritage was shining through in those crucial 10 seconds.

DSC01212And this is Sunshine!  Cozy named her, and it impressed me that she picked an appropriate name that “goes” with Savannah.  Not sure how to tell them apart?  Sunshine has a white butt.

Incidentally, Sunshine could actually be Savannah.  I didn’t notice the white butt until after both birds were named, and then decided Ol’ White Butt should be Sunshine.

EggsThe new hens haven’t figured out where to lay their eggs yet.  For about 4 days after I brought them home I thought they must have still been too stressed out to lay.  But then out of the corner of my eye I spotted their “nest”!  Once I removed these eggs though they stopped laying there and now I have no idea where they created their new nest.  Somewhere in my yard or in the cornfields there must be about 30 eggs!

Mother's Day 2013I love these girls, too!  We read the cutest book the other night called The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington.  It was darn funny.  We laughed the whole way through it (the girls and I were laughing at the little girl’s determination to catch a certain hen, and Ty was dying over my imitation of a southern little black girl’s voice.)  It’s definitely showing up at Christmas!  Ever since then, Dagny has taken on a new life goal.  She wants to be the Chicken-Chasing Queen of Wood County.

DSC01220Minding their own business, looking for delicious ticks.  (Ew.)

DSC01221“Run!  Here she comes!”

DSC01224 “Ack!” (Dagny is wearing a ballerina tutu with tennis shoes.  Pick your battles, folks.)

DSC01225“I git you, Shunshine!”

DSC01223Look at those thighs.  I’d run too if those were chasing me!

DSC01227Into the coop you go!  Dagny has become a pro at helping me get the new hens into the coop at night.  They haven’t developed the habit of going in there themselves like the black hens do every night.  (On the left side of the picture is one of the little girls that I babysit during the day.  Aren’t her blond ringlets adorable?)

DSC01217“Can we come back out now?  It’s only 11:00 am!  There’s still ticks to eat!”

DSC01216Sure!  But Dagny the Chicken-Chasing Queen is still on the loose!

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Categories: Chicken, Eggs, Journal, Poultry | Tags: , , , ,

Follow-up Verdict for Pickled Eggs!

If you missed the post on Pickled Eggs, you can read it here!

Well, let me just say I now understand the fierce debate surrounding pickled eggs.  Yowsa!  Are these babies good!  My big plan for today is go buy another 2 dozen eggs to get them marinating because we’re more than halfway through the THREE JARS of eggs in my fridge.  I can understand the urge to can them, because if 5 days in the fridge has made them as delicious as they are, then a month in the pantry invites an image of my husband crouching, Gollum-style in a corner clutching a jar of hot pickled eggs screeching “My Precious!” at us.

Here’s the breakdown:  Out of the three different recipes I made, I like the beet eggs the least.  I use “least” loosely, implying that in the event of a fire, I would still save them, but if they slipped out of my arms and crashed to the floor I would wipe a tear and keep running.  These eggs were fantastic on a salad, but require a little salt on the yolk when eating as is.

My husband likes the hot ones the best.  They are the most flavorful, and the yolk is permeated all the way through with delicious garlic and jalapeno essence.  I have actually put poor Ty on a ban from the eggs for a few days, or until we get new windows that open all the way.

True to form, I like the pickle juice eggs the best.  They taste just like pickles!  I highly recommend adding the garlic cloves to the brine, it really pumps up the flavor.  I do NOT recommend biting into one of the garlic cloves to see what pickled garlic tastes like, though.  Not unless you want to taste garlic the rest of the day, that is.  For the record, it just tastes like fresh garlic and not like roasted pickle garlic, which is what I think I was expecting.

My Dad loved all three equally, and sent me a text telling me so.  I still think it’s funny that my parents text now.

So there you have it.  If you were in doubt about making your own pickled eggs, or whether or not you should consider trying a pickled egg, you now have your verdict.  Go boil some eggs!

Categories: Eggs, Leftovers

Pickled Eggs

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  Our weekend was full of coloring eggs then taking turns hiding and hunting them over and over.  My oldest daughter got the biggest kick out of playing “hide-and-seek” with the eggs, and eventually I realized the eggs needed to go back into the refrigerator so we switched to plastic eggs.

We had about a dozen and a half eggs left over.  The remaining half-dozen were either devoted to deviled eggs or are still being steam-cleaned out of the carpet due to some tiny, unmonitored fingers.  (Lesson learned.  Babies should not be alone with eggs.)  I already knew I wanted to try making pickled eggs with my leftovers and scoured the Internet for good recipes.  I narrowed it down to three that I wanted to try.  I’ve only ever tried the kind pickled with beet juice – and love them – but I’m curious to try a few other kinds.  I actually ended up buying another dozen eggs so I could have enough to do experiments with!

One of the tidbits of information I learned whilst looking online for recipes, is that canning eggs is not recommended.  There’s mostly arguments against canning them (for fear of botulism), and one fairly determined man out there in favor of canning them who has posted in Canning’s defense on several site forums.  I included links below if you are interested in deciding for yourself what to do, but I am choosing to skirt around the issue myself and simply refrigerate them.  If they are as tasty as the recipe-creator’s claim to be, then I won’t have to worry about them lasting very long!

Argument in favor of canning eggs – Summary: “we’ve been doing it for years, botulism is a risk for anything you can, why are eggs different?  There is only one case ever of someone dying from botulism of canned eggs, and he had it coming.”  (The first link is a different source than the second link)

Argument against canning eggs – Summary: “Eggs are too dense to can safely, you will die.”

I am being a little snarky regarding the issue, but truthfully, all the resources above have fairly valid points.  I, however, don’t consume enough pickled eggs to enter wholeheartedly into this fierce debate.  (Who knew so many people are that passionate about pickled eggs?)  Therefore, the top link will direct those of you interested in canning pickled eggs to a blog that will give you detailed directions in doing so.

These recipes are for refrigeration only.

If you don’t already have hard-boiled eggs, the first step you need to do is get some!

This picture is silly.  Of course you can probably visualize eggs in a pan on a stove.  But then you wouldn’t assume that since I clearly use brown eggs, that I *must* be an expert on all things natural and organic.  (Sigh, ok.  They aren’t organic.  But they also weren’t $4.99/dozen like the organic ones were!  I am so going to start raising chickens.)

Anyway, on to the interesting stuff:

My mother’s tried-and-true method for boiling fresh eggs is to put them in a pot, fill it with water, put the burner on high.  When the water begins to boil, set a timer for 9 minutes.  When the timer goes off, drain the hot water from the pan and rinse the eggs for a few minutes under cold water, then put them back in the fridge.

Once you have some hard-boiled eggs, you can make pickled eggs!  These three recipes are the ones I tried, and spent less than 30 minutes making all three kinds.  Also, as you will note from my pictures, you can get a plastic, reusable lid for your canning jars!  These are really cool, and can be used in the freezer as well.  (They obviously can NOT be used for canning though…don’t try it!)  You can also write on the top with a dry-erase marker.   I recommend using wide-mouth jars for pickling eggs for ease of reaching in to snag one, or any glass jar with a lid that seals tight.

Hot Pickled Eggs- recipe from the Kuntz Family Website



Ingredients:

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs
2 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
2 Tablespoons canning salt (non-iodized)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 clove garlic – sliced thin
1 jalapeno – sliced thin

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except eggs and bring to a boil.  Boil 3-4 minutes and remove from heat.  Strain the pepper and garlic from the brine and place in the bottom of quart jar.

Pack peeled eggs on top of the pepper and garlic slices, stir the brine well and pour hot brine over the eggs until they are completely covered.  Place lid tightly on jar and shake.  Refrigerate 1-10 days before eating, occasionally shaking the jar to keep the brine from settling.

I cut that entire recipe in half and just used 6 eggs so I could store them in a pint jar.

Beet Pickled Eggs

Ingredients:

1 cup red beet juice (I actually needed two small jars of canned beets)
1½ cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
a few canned whole tiny red beets (or several slices of beets can be used)                         1 dozen hard-boiled eggs

Directions:

Bring all the ingredients except the eggs to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Pack one dozen peeled, hard-cooked eggs into a quart-sized jar.  (I ended up with only 11 eggs because my pint-sized helped peeled an egg and immediately consumed it.  It turned out serendipitous though, because I don’t think the 12th egg would have fit in there anyway…) Pour the hot brine over the eggs in the jar, cover, and refrigerate immediately.

Note:  In classic Chelsea style, I learned belatedly that these are better packed loosely.  See the white part?  It would be prettier and better tasting if the entire eggs made contact with the brine.

Pickle Juice Eggs

(Or “Pickle Eggs”.  Or “Pickled Pickle Eggs”.  I thought of about 4 more…  I’ll stop before I make you close this tab!)

Ingredients:

Pickle juice                                                                                                                           3-4 garlic cloves                                                                                                                      1 dozen eggs (I only used a half dozen)

Directions:

I saw this one in a comment section on a forum, too.  I thought, “Hey…I LOVE pickles, I ALWAYS have leftover pickle juice!”  Another commenter said she uses her leftover pickle juice for pickling fresh veggies, too.  Someone else said they like to throw some garlic cloves in there, and since I am never one to turn down garlic, I did that also.  Someone else advised bringing your pickle juice to a boil to kill off any bacteria left from dirty hands that may have reached in to get pickles.  Guilty of this every single time I obtain a pickle (or 2, or 5), I agree.  SO, once you eat your last pickle, bring the juice to a boil for 3-4 minutes then pour over peeled eggs in a jar. (You can even reuse the pickle jar if you want!)  If you like blasting people with garlic breath as much as I do, add a few freshly peeled cloves to your jar, too!

Aren’t they pretty?

Another Note:  In an effort to pass on knowledge about healthy eating, I should warn you that I discovered while pickling that I’ve never read the label on my Vlasic pickle jar before.  Boo, hiss!  I’m sorry I did!  This isn’t the healthiest pickling option out there, unless you are using pickles with a healthier brine than Vlasic’s.  This one contains preservatives and food coloring.  I don’t know for sure, but perhaps pickles from the refrigerated section are a healthier choice.  (Do you see the size of my pickle jar?  This is going to have to be a weaning thing for me, giving up my Vlasic’s…)

Hotter Pickled Eggs 

Here’s a bonus recipe for you!  I didn’t make this one, but I saw it on a forum and thought it looked pretty good!  I didn’t have any sherry in the house and didn’t want to run to the liquor store.  Next time I come across a recipe that uses sherry, I’ll remember to make these eggs!

Ingredients:

3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
4 Tbsp tobasco sauce
1 small can hot peppers
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 can sliced beets
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 or 3 bay leaves
2 dozen hard boiled eggs, shelled

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar and let sit for 3-4 days refrigerated before serving.  (These directions did not say to boil the ingredients first, but I’m guessing she omitted it by accident.)

Verdict

I actually don’t have a verdict yet.  All these recipes say to let the eggs “marinate” for several days before eating them.  I just made these yesterday, so I haven’t tried any yet.  (Well, ok, I confess I did pull one of the beet eggs out to “test” it.  It was pretty good, but I am going to wait another day or two before trying another one.)  I will let you know which recipe I like best in a few days!

Happy pickling!

****UPDATE********  We have a verdict!  Click HERE!

Categories: Eggs, Leftovers

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