Gizmos and Gotta’ Haves

My father-in-law was the king of gizmos and gotta’ haves.     As you can imagine many of these things worked a little less than wonderful. The concepts were great, but something was lost in the execution.  On vacation we bought a gizmo to hard-boiled eggs in the microwave. It was in a egg shape and was sort of cutsie.

This is a gizmo that really does work!

Farm fresh eggs have one drawback.  They peel terrible.   Hard-boiled fresh eggs are nothing but a nightmare and if you end up with more than a yolk you are darn lucky. If I plan to make potato salad, I often leave eggs out on the counter for a week to get them to peel more easily.  Even doing that they are still a tough job.  If you buy your eggs at the grocery store, the fact of they peel easily tells  you something about the freshness of your eggs.

I must tell you that this microwave hardboiled egg gizmo works great.   You first pierce the egg to prevent the yolk from exploding (They give you a special piercer with chicken feet to do that).   You add a little water and then twist the two egg halves of the  gizmo to lock them.   Last, you put it into the microwave.   In minutes you have a hard or soft-boiled egg depending your cooking time.   The amazing thing about all of this when the egg is done,  it peels  like it came from the grocery store.   Some how the act of piercing the yolk, and the steam allows the membrane that clings to the eggshell to separate during cooking. I recommend this gizmo to anyone farm fresh eggs or not.

Farm Fresh Eggs

Yesterday I visited a friend, and I brought her  some “farm fresh eggs.”  The oldest one was only 2 or 3 days old.  They were laid by my happy hens who run free every day, eating weeds, grass and all the bugs they can find. My friend loves soft-boiled eggs and was thrilled with the collection I brought her.

Farm fresh eggs are a special commodity now with all the eggs in the commercial system running amuck with Salmonella.   I am not sure how this happened but I’d wager that it came about as a result of the lifestyle of these commercial chickens.   I am not saying that the facilities weren’t clean, inspected, well fed or watered.  Commercial hens have been selectively bred to lay as many large eggs as possible.  These hens start laying early and lay nearly every day.  Imagine the women settlers who had 15 and 16 children and how their health suffered the stress of  all this childbearing.  Many pioneer women died early.   The same is true for these birds.   Their bodies are tired and it doesn’t take too much for them to get a bug, and their close quarters may it easier to spread. This is all done to make farming as economically viable as possible, because we expect eggs and other farm commodities, food,  to be inexpensive.

On the other hand my flock is not commercially successful.  My expenses and overhead will never justify my eggs. My seven free ranging hens have a coop that possibly 50-75 commercial laying hens would live in.  They get to run out free in the pasture everyday, even though I risk loosing a bird daily to the fox family, a stray dog, or feral cat.   Last week one of my hens hid her eggs for over a week and when I finally found her hidden nest there were 6 eggs that couldn’t be used.   Unlike commercial breeds that you can’t tell the sex by feather color at birth, I end up feeding a rooster now and then.

I do get to sit out in the yard in the evening and watch them cluck around the yard, chasing bugs and eating dandelion greens. I know that my hens are healthy and hence my eggs the same.  True farm fresh eggs are a rare commodity today.   If you have a source for yourself, say a special thanks this week when you buy your eggs.   If you are looking for a source and they tell you eggs are twice what you pay in the supermarket, remember you get what you pay for.