Fresh eggs can pile up quickly with a set of chickens in your backyard. How will you consume them? Exactly how do I store eggs? How Do I know the egg is fresh? What can I do with the shells?
Collecting eggs each day from hens that are actively laying creates a pleasant dilemma. The pile of eggs grows unless they are consumed within a few days or weeks or given away. Do you wash them when they are brought into the home for storage?
Eggs are already coated with a substance created by the chicken called a bloom. It is a sealer the hen's body makes. It covers the egg shell when the egg is dropped into the nesting area. There is nothing else to do but set it aside for later. Washing the egg would make it vulnerable to spoiling quickly.
Friends from outside the US tell me that eggs are stored on the counter in other countries such as Europe and the Islands. Here, they are placed in handy containers meant to distribute the eggs in a first in first out pattern. Placing the freshest eggs in the back insures that the eggs are rotated properly. Egg dispensers are handy items and a great conversation piece.
I, personally, keep my eggs in the refrigerator. I saved and collected egg cartons previous to the hens laying performance to keep up with the growing pile of hard shelled gems. The cartons are rotated in the cooler so that I can maintain fresh stock and quickly give a dozen to family or friends when the occasion arises.
Try to gather at least four dozen egg cartons so that storing the eggs is easy.
I keep a plastic egg container handy to pack eggs for camping trips. There is nothing like a fresh fried or scrambled egg cooked over an open fire in a cast iron dutch oven or frying pan. It is simply something that must be done when rising in the morning on a nature outing. Knowing that these were collected in my own yard makes them even more tasty!
How To Tell If An Egg Is Fresh
I mark my eggs with a permanent ink marker so that I can track its freshness. The eggs I give away are alway less than ten days old.
Drop an egg into a deep bowl of water and if it floats it is to be discarded. Eggs build up a space of oxygen as they age. A fresh egg will sink right to the bottom of the container. Dry the shell before cracking so as not to drop the exterior matter into your cooking project.
Should You Sell The Extra Eggs?
That question is explored in this very entertaining video. There are quite a few things to know about fresh farm eggs. The condition of the yolk is generally brighter than store bought eggs. The shells are slightly different and of course, there may be details present in a fresh egg that are not found in eggs produced in high quantity farms.
People that are used to the bleached white shells and light-yellow yolks may not be comfortable with a fresh, grass fed chicken egg.
Eggs are fairly easy to prepare, A list of ways to use up your egg stock is a great way to rotated the gathered goods and keep the menu fresh, too. This might read like the shrimp list from Bubba's dialog in the movie Forest Gump. If you find there is something left out of the list, be sure to add it in the comments area below.
- Egg Sandwiches
- Breakfast Burritos
- Stir Fry
- Egg Pancakes
- French Toast
- Baked Goods
- Egg Drop Soup
While I am sure there are more recipes for eggs, this is a hefty list and should help with the egg rotation.
What To Do With All Those Egg Shells
Egg shells are high in calcium and are easily ground into a meal that can be placed in the backyard garden area for soil additive. The shells can be processed through a grinder or hand crushed for easy distribution. It is a great way to add this vital mineral when planting new tomatoes or peppers and various other plants. Just add a few sprinklings of the shells when setting the roots.
Word has it that they can also be given back to the chickens for assistance in their egg production. I have been told this by several chicken farmers. Simply sprinkle the small pieces around their scratch area. While I do not care for this use, I can see the reasoning. To me it is like eating one's own fingernails. Its kinda gross, but some things about keeping chickens are a bit distasteful.
Set the shells aside so that they may dry completely. I do not rinse them out. When they are set, I bag them up and wait for a day when I have the time to do the crushing and then add them to a glass jar to keep them for later use.