I've yet to do anything with the first eggs that Sophia and ZsuZsu laid around seven weeks ago (except keep them well refrigerated). So, whenever we put the newly harvested eggs in the egg carton, it's easy to see just how much bigger the eggs are getting from being their cute little selves like the ones that first dropped into the Eglu nest. Here's a picture comparing first eggs (on the right) with today's eggs (on the left). ZsuZsu's are in the top row, Sophia's are in the bottom row. While the first eggs were toy-like in size (maybe a USDA-rated "small" at best?) you can see the most recent eggs are worthy of being rated "large" in size, perfect for cooking with.
Since the egg shell has the same mass whether the egg is small or large, the shells have gotten thinner and therefore easier to crack open when cooking. While I can still easily crack open industry-produced eggs with one hand and not break the yolk while doing so, I can't quite claim the same success with our backyard eggs. Even thought the shell is thinner, the liner inside the shell is still pretty tough and prevents easy access to the insides. It must be the liner that becomes more brittle over time as the eggs sit on the shelf.
Since the egg liner is thick on our home-grown eggs, it makes for difficult openings, and it means I crack the egg multiple times before getting through the fractured shell and liner and at the insides. So, I've been picking more shell out of my mixing bowls when cooking with our backyard eggs than I can ever remember having to pick out of my cooking since I first learned to bake back in eighth grade. And, given how thick the albumen is in our backyard eggs, it takes some extra oomph to mix the yolk and whites sufficiently. But for all the difficulties, the taste and convenience is more than worth it.
Even though it's now a daily habit this harvesting of eggs, I still can't believe they come from our own backyard.
Oh, and I'd better blow out the "first eggs" soon before they go bad, huh?
that's great to know that the eggs increase in size that much after 7 weeks :) I was wondering how long it may take!!
Great to see you here, Ali!
I was surprised at how small the first eggs were, too, but not nearly as surprised as I am with how quickly they've sized up.
This whole chicken-raising experience has really opened my eyes to how quickly the chooks size up from week-old chicks to now six-month-old hens (or are they still considered pullets?)
I've been loving your blog and suffering from henvy.
I'm surprised at the trouble with cracking the eggs. Since I've been buying good eggs I haven't had to fish out hardly any shell where it seemed as though I was every time with the mass produced eggs; the shells were so thin.
I also thought the the really good humane eggs from the store were so much better (and they are) but then I put a couple in a pan with a pastured egg from a farmer I'm getting eggs from now and the depth of color in the yolk as well as its size and the height of the alum was amazing. The flavor was richer too.
However, America's Test Kitchen recommends cracking eggs on a flat surface while John from Caprial and John's kitchen suggests using one half of the empty egg shell to fish out shell bits (it works somehow attracting the piece though a clean shell is a good idea). What I like doing is cracking the eggs in a shallow bowl and then slipping into the pan or bowl when it's time. Maybe you just need to find what works well for you and the eggs you have now.
Take good care of the girls (and more pictures please).
Great to have you here, Bad Wolf. I'm a fellow America's Test Kitchen fan, and I've seen their recommendation to crack on a flat surface, too. It's worked with the mass-produced eggs, but not with our yard-fresh eggs (yet).
Maybe as the eggs continue to get bigger, the shell will thin out enough so that the "traditional" ways of getting into them will finally take effect.
More pix soon, I promise :-)
That's quite a size difference. I knew they start small, but that's pretty dramatic.
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