Sunday, August 1, 2010

what I've learned about eggs

When you buy fresh eggs, the only thing you sacrifice is the ability to peel them hard boiled.  The older the egg, the easier it is to peel (that, and the phase of the moon perhaps) and fresh eggs are by definition, not old.   I've also learned that you don't have to refrigerate eggs unless they've been washed (mine have) and that a red spot in them does not mean that it was fertilized.  The Egg Man, who attends church with us, gives us the cartons with the most colorful combination of shells- tan, brown, green and blue, no white.  When I get a double yolk he wants to know what color egg it came from.  Double yolk eggs are fine to eat but when he wants to let a hen set and hatch a brood he wants to be sure there isn't a set of twins among them.  The process a chick uses to crack the egg and come out is quite systematic.  If two chicks are pecking in two areas of the shell and can't easily move about (because of the twin) they usually wear out and die before hatching.  The Egg Man wants to be on hand to assist at the birth as midwife if need be. (That idea amuses me!)   I also found out that a hen may lay an egg each day for over a week for her nest, but they all begin to develop when she finishes with her last egg and decides to set on the nest to keep them all warm.  Then they all hatch at the same time.

We learn all this by chatting with The Egg Man.  We still have never made it over to visit when he has little chicks.  The summer tends to be busy and little chicks don't wait for one to come home from a trip or finish camp before they grow into rather ungainly big chicks.

What I did not learn from him is how to make egg salad or deviled eggs with fresh eggs.  Deviled eggs are impossible I think, unless keeping fresh eggs around for two months in the fridge seems appealing.  But, today I attempted egg salad.  I've missed eating it. I've tried frying the eggs but a fried egg has a tougher white and leaves a strange texture in the egg salad.  Having been giving this thought for some time, I decided to poach the eggs. I cracked all the eggs into one bowl, figuring it didn't matter what they looked like in the end.  I brought a 10" pan with 2" of water to a boil and added 1/4 c. vinegar.  I don't think I needed the vinegar in hindsight because, again, I didn't care what the end product looked like.  I slid the eggs into the pan, put a lid on it and turned off the heat.  I left it on the burner for the residual heat however.  Since a poached egg is supposed to take about four minutes with this method and because I boil eggs in their shells in 15 minutes, I decided to check them after ten.  Twelve was the answer.  I scooped them out with a slotted spoon and put them in ice water to chill.  Then I successfully made egg salad!

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