Plethora- a large or excessive amount of something. Yep, those old hens of ours are churning out a dozen eggs a day! Please consider that our mixed flock is mostly heritage breeds that are 3-5 years old, so 12 eggs out of 14 hens is a lot more eggs than most experts would tell you to expect. I read in a local newspaper about an egg farmer who said that hens are done laying regularly after a year or a year and a half! No, seriously?!?
So the question becomes-how many eggs can two people eat in a day? We keep hard boiled eggs on hand at all times. It is always a quick protein fix snack-or a meal. We eat “breakfast for supper” at least once a week. We use eggs lavishly in baked goods and as protein supplements for the dog and cats. We give eggs to our family and neighbors, and still have some left over this time of year.
So here is the strategy: first we freeze several dozen for those lean times when the old girls take to a moult or the temperatures are too high or too low. Witness that this year we have experienced temperatures from 16 degrees below 0 to 89 degrees-and it isn’t even mid- May!
I use these nice little cartons designed by the Ball company to freeze the eggs. The mature hens are dropping extra large eggs, so I put the extra whites in a spare compartment. I freeze some eggs whole and some scrambled. I beat the eggs, without adding too much air, and put them through a sieve before freezing the scrambled ones. After 24 hours, I pop them out and store them in Freezer bags. I have put by several dozen already-that Avian Flu bug is inching it’s way towards Ohio. I am afraid to be left without eggs! Once you try free range-you can never go back!
Secondly: I bake like crazy. Angel Food cake will take a dozen egg whites, and the yolks make great home made noodles that can be frozen for winter. I make banana bread and muffins that are frozen for those 90 degree days when I don’t wish to turn the oven on.
So what becomes of all of those eggshells? I rinse them and place them on an old cookie sheet to dry for a few days, then I take them out and use my mortar and pestle to reduce the shells to a coarse powder. You can give them a whiz in the blender/food processor, or put them in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them-doesn’t matter to me. I think you could put them in a sturdy freezer bag and let the kids “walk on egg shells” for a fun experiment. But any method you use to crush the shells, they can be used as a supplement to the garden rows. You know that blossom-end rot in tomatoes is caused by a lack of calcium? There are certain worm types that don’t like wiggling over the sharp shells too! You can also feed the crushed shells back to the chickens to increase their calcium.
Use what you have, when you have it or lose it!