A Perfect Pickle

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Freshly washed eggs

The eggs just keep on coming. It must be Spring with an eggsess like this!

Enough with the eggs already! I know, but when you’re in the middle of an eggsplosion it’s hard not to be just a little eggsessive. No kidding!

Seriously though, I think most of us have at some time or another gotten very frustrated trying to peel a hard boiled egg or somehow or another have ended up with a surplus of eggs and not known quite what to do with them. This post is for you!

First off, how to ‘cook’ a perfect hard-boiled egg. No prizes here for guessing the cooking method ūüôā I used to think that the eggs should be lowered into boiling water but no, eggs¬†should be placed in pan and¬†completely covered with cold water which is then brought to a rolling boil. The pan, with a tightly fitting lid is then removed from the heat and left to sit. The time varies depending on the type and size of egg. Chicken eggs are left for twelve – thirteen¬†but duck eggs need a little longer in my experience.¬†The last batch of duck eggs I did were¬†left¬†to sit for fourteen minutes eggsactly¬†and while the majority were perfect, a couple could have used just a little longer. Next time I plan to leave them for fifteen minutes, but definitely no longer. When overcooked the yolks develop a grey/green rim around their outer edge, which is perfectly edible but just not very appealing, and also the whites will tend to become rubbery.

eggs in basket

These eggs are scrubbed and tickety-boo ready to go to market. (Check us out at Local Source)

Sammy slicer

This little guy is so cute he really doesn’t need to work but he’s just great at slicing eggs.

If I was never quite comfortable with the boiling¬†of eggs¬† (I could never get the timing right), I was certainly not in my happy place when it came to peeling them, until I learnt that fresh eggs are virtually impossible to peel ‘clean’. In a truly fresh egg the shell, membrane and white are melded together. It takes a week or two for the membrane to shrink and pull away from the shell creating an airspace, and making it much easier to peel the shell away.

If the eggs have been properly stored, that is, pointy end down, an small airspace will have formed at the top (more rounded) end of the egg. I find it best to crack this end open first¬†then¬†submerge the egg in a bowl of cold water¬†allowing the water to penetrate. Sometimes, and depending on the age of the egg, the shell might peel off in a circular rotation, much like the peel of an apple or it might be necessary to gently¬†tap the sides of the egg shell against the side of the sink to further crack the shell. It’s best not to roll the egg to crack the shell as this will separate the white from the yolk.

Pickling eggs is a very simple procedure. To make sure the jars are properly¬†sterilized first¬†wash in warm soapy water and then rinse in clear water. Place¬†jars upright¬†on a cookie sheet and place in a warm oven (225 degrees) for¬†twenty minutes. While the jars are sterilizing bring equal parts of water and white vinegar, (one or two cups of each depending on the amount of eggs being pickled)¬†and 1-2Tbs. of sugar and 1-2 Tbs. of pickling spices¬†to a boil.¬†Pack eggs in sterilized jars and cover with the hot liquid and seal. If for some reason the peeled eggs have been in the fridge don’t put them directly into hot jars as this¬†might cause the jars to crack. Pickled eggs will keep for¬†a couple of months¬†in the refrigerator. They are great in a packed lunch, sliced in a salad or served as an hors d’oeuvre. I have a handy dandy egg slicer, that looks kinda’ cute¬†and really does work. Have to love that!

The take away from this is that fresh eggs will not peel clean no matter how careful you are. Eggs from QuackaDoodle need to be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks before they peel well.

Shows dense growth of rubarb with rooster in chicken tractor in the background

Deep in the magic Rhubarb Forest

This is not a problem. Chicken eggs will stay fresh for several weeks and duck eggs for even longer because of their thicker shells. And even then they’ll likely still be much fresher than any bought at the local supermarket!

Rhubarb is another thing that’s going nutso crazy at this time of year. Given all the rain we’ve had these past couple of weeks it’s a jungle out there. Yikes! What to do with it all apart from the obvious like stewing it (with ice cream it is amazing) and making it into muffins and pies and crumbles? One favourite we have around QuackaDoodle is rhubarb chutney.¬† This chutney is¬†especially good¬†with curry dishes and biryanis. It doesn’t take long to prepare and is so totally worth the effort.

Rhubarb Chutney Recipe (highly recommended!)

rhubarb

First pick of the year. Yum!

Heat together

1  1/2 c of cider vinegar

2 c brown sugar

1 t ground ginger

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t cayenne

1/2 t black pepper

1/2 t ground cloves

1 t salt

Stir until sugar is dissolved then add

6 c chopped rhubarb

2 c chopped onion

1/2 dried figs (chopped)

1/2 dried cranberries

I c chopped apple

1 c golden raisin

3 t minced garlic

1/4 crystalized ginger finely chopped

Simmer until thickened (about one hour) and spoon in to sterilized jars. Process (boil in a water bath) for fifteen minutes. And enjoy!

Special note for anyone in the Halifax area. QuackaDoodle duck eggs are for sale at Local Source Market on Agricola. Even if you’re not in the market for eggs this super store is well worth a visit if you’re a locavore who loves good food.

 

 

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