Saturday, 21 October 2017

E is for eggs... and eggshells

Egg Parade

We all know from school that hydrogen sulphide smells like rotten eggs, but I wonder how many of us these days have encountered that smell from an actual egg? With use-by dates and fridges, it seems unlikely that we would encounter a truly rotten egg, especially since we waste 660,000 of them EVERY DAY, and the production of each of those used about 50 gallons of water.

Whole eggs

The first step to avoiding egg waste is to learn more about them. Delia has some useful advice on how to tell if an egg is fresh, and the best ways to make use of very fresh and not-so-fresh eggs.

The next step is to have some ideas up your sleeve for when you discover an ageing egg or two in the fridge that needs using up. There's always a quick lunch of scrambled eggs on toast (or boiled eggs with buttery toast fingers, if you're feeling indulgent). You can jazz eggy bread up into a lovely brunch, or turn your hand to a surprise batch of muffins or cupcakes. There's always an omelette or quiche, or adding a sliced hard boiled egg to a curry or kedgeree, or making egg mayonnaise as a sandwich filling.

Unless you keep chickens (or other egg-laying birds), you're unlikely to be faced with too many ageing eggs to deal with. But if you do find yourself with a glut then a classic recipe that uses a lot of eggs is lemon curd (other curd flavours can also be made). Northwest Edible Life has plenty of other ideas, including make-ahead breakfasts and some thoughts on how to freeze eggs for later use. The Prairie Homestead has a list of 50+ ways to use extra eggs, which includes pickling and making bread.

Whites and yolks

It's slightly more tricky when a recipe uses just eggs whites or yolks, and leaves you with half an egg that needs using up quickly. Scrambled eggs can easily absorb an extra egg white or yolk or two. Sweet/ savoury scotch pancakes use more whites than yokes, and you need egg whites for meringues. You could always try your hand at candying flower petals, or homemade marshmallows.

Waitrose's parsley pasties make use of a hardboiled egg and an extra yolk, and are good picnic food. You could also try making pasta, or a custard tart.

BBC Good Food has more ideas on making use of leftover egg whites and yolks, whereas BBC Food has separate recipe lists for egg yolks and egg whites. The Kitchn usefully arranged their list of egg yolk recipes by the number of yolks needed, although they didn't do that for the egg whites.

Egglings

Eggshells

When I kept chickens, I used to wash, crush and bake eggshells before feeding them back to the hens as a calcium supplement. It’s possible to eat them yourself, by turning them into a powder and adding them to other foods. Empty eggshells can be crushed and go on the compost, or be laid as a slug/snail barrier, or be used as miniature plant pots. If you don't have a garden then they should go in the food waste bin. The prairie homestead has another list of things to do with eggshells. And if you have kids there are always egg shell and egg box crafts to while away rain days!

Over to you...

It's your turn! What are your favourite ways to use up eggs, preserve them, or make use of the shells?