The Lifecycle of Eggs

October 15, 2008 at 9:56 am

Rob Gardner

On LTHForum, there is not quite agreement that local eating leads to better eating.  The tastiness of local food seems a given, but local’s superiority when it comes to environmental and other standards seems questionable.  I think the uneasiness stems from these competing syllogisms:

  • I want food that is environmentally friendly and humane therefore I eat local
  • I eat local, therefore I get food that is environmentally friendly and humane.

I believe strongly in the first.  My principles are achieved by local, not I eat local to achieve my principles.  My preference for local is well summed up in my preference for local eggs.  The market (and I use that term broadly) contains many egg choices, with competing claims of naturalness, free ranging, veg fed, etc.  The worst of eggs come from hens confined to tight spaces, a practice known with or without irony as battery production.  Avoiding this maze, I stay comfortably with local eggs, eggs from my good friend Farmer Vicki, eggs from chickens I have seen.  My focus on local most gets me what I want.  And, of course, animal husbandry aside, these eggs taste great.  So, each week, we get a dozen with our CSA.

That’s a lot of eggs, no?  We kinda have to do it this way.  There are a few regular sources for good eggs including Cassie’s Green Grocer and Marion Street Cheese, but to ensure a necessary supply, we need that weekly dozen.  A big fit of baking by my wife and a dozen can be gone like/that.  Still, we usually have a decent inventory in the Bungalow of eggs.  It requires a system.

The newest eggs each week go into the upstairs fridge.  These are eggs meant for eggs.  Scrambled, fried, baked as a frittata, in these type of dishes, the freshest eggs are the best.  Whatever eggs remained from the previous week go into the downstairs fridge.  These are eggs mostly for baking and other egg usage.  The oldest eggs, well, old eggs have a great use, hard boiling.  Food scientists note that eggs have to be old, perhaps at least two weeks old, to peel properly.

If local makes all the difference in finding an egg, just a bit of extra care and technique can make all the difference in a hard boiled egg.  Done right, it is a great thing to have in the kitchen.  Done right means the egg does not smell nearly as a fresh struck match when opened.  The whites should be firm but not rubbery, and the yolk should be set but with the barest give.  The whole thing, especially the inside, should be moist.  I believe firmly in the prick to release trapped air.  Then, my wife and I rely on the method that starts with cold water.  Let the water come to a rolling boil.  Stop.  Cover.  Let the eggs now sit for about ten minutes–we like our eggs as barely hard boiled as possible, you may differ.  After ten minutes, shock with ice water or cold running water.   I especially like hard boiled eggs with anchovies.  Does that show what I think about eating local?