No Hassle Hard Boiled Farm Fresh Eggs

You want to eat healthy and so you try to find quick & easy snacks that are not only good for you, but yummy too!

Hard boiled eggs are just that. Super packed with nutrients, an egg-cellent source of protein (see what I did there?!), and delicious with even just salt and pepper!

You can boil a dozen or two at the beginning of the week and have an easy pre-made snack for the whole week…or maybe just a couple days depending on how much you like hard boiled eggs :)

Have you been told it’s impossible to peel hard boiled eggs if you use fresh eggs?! Maybe you’ve read “you must age your eggs” or “if you buy from a local farm, you have to wait at least a week or more to hard boil them”.

Or maybe you’ve tried it and all you were left with was the yolk because all the white came off with the shell? Then you had a big mess to clean up.

Been there….done all of that. I’ve learned the hard way, ha!

I had been trying a couple different methods of boiling, cracking, peeling, etc. and I’ve finally found a fool-proof way to hard boil fresh eggs….even if they were just laid within the day or two! AND no mess, woohoo!

In short, an egg becomes more porous over time as the shell allows more and more air through. The more air that’s in between the shell and the inner membrane, the easier it is to peel once hard boiled.

With fresh eggs, there’s little to no air there to separate the shell easily. So with this method, you use water to get in there to help with the process.

Just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Add eggs to cover the bottom of your pot. Pour water over the eggs to cover at least an inch above your eggs.

  2. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to medium-high, just high enough to still boil, but not a big “rolling” boil. If you boil them too aggressively, that’s when the yolk ends up greenish and the white can be rubbery and tough.

  3. While the eggs are boiling, go ahead and fill a bowl with cold water and add ice.

  4. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain the hot water either by using a colander or the lid to your pot.

  5. Once drained, give your pot a couple good shakes to crack all of your eggs. If there’s a couple that don’t look cracked, just hit them gently on the side of your pan to give them a couple good cracks.

  6. Pour ice water over the eggs in the pot and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

  7. Peel your eggs, let dry and place into a container for a grab-and-go snack all week!

We use hard boiled eggs on salads, for easy meals for our little one Mason, but mostly we just sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat as a filling healthy snack!

I hope this has been helpful for you and that you feel you can master the art of hard boiled eggs with confidence!

Tell me in the comments below your favorite ways to enjoy hard boiled eggs or if you have any other helpful tips. I’m always open to learning more!

-Rachel

My favorite way to eat a hard boiled egg - just a little salt and pepper :)

My favorite way to eat a hard boiled egg - just a little salt and pepper :)

How Fresh Are My Eggs?

I was reminiscing through old pictures recently, when I came across this adorable picture of Mason in a onesie that his grandma gave him as a gift. And I totally had a lightbulb moment!

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People have asked me:

  • How long do your eggs last?

  • How do I know if my eggs have gone bad?

  • Are my eggs still okay to eat if I left them out on the counter for a couple hours?

So I know if I get a lot of people asking me these kind of questions, some of you are probably wondering the same thing! 

Thank you Mason for giving me this idea for a blog post. Never thought I was much of a writer, but turns out, when you're writing about things you enjoy and are passionate about, the words just flow!

If you've only got limited time, feel free to skip ahead to the video below that walks you through how to test whether your egg is still good. Otherwise, read on.

Thinking about the nature of an egg and what it was designed to do, they are actually amazing! An egg is designed to protect and nourish a baby chick, duckling, etc. so that when it is hatched, it's well-equipped to continue to survive and grow. 

The gestational period of a chicken is roughly 21 days, meaning that if an egg is fertilized (ours are not since we don't have any roosters) and is laid on by a hen or incubated, it should hatch a cute tiny chick at the end of that time period. 

The yolk is what mostly nourishes the baby chick during that time and the white protects the yolk, but also provides additional nutrition for the growing embryo. Membranes and the outer most layer, the hard shell, provide even more protection for the egg.

In addition, did you know that when an egg is laid, there is also a protective "bloom" on the shell that essentially seals the pores in the eggshell so that bacteria can't get in and reduces moisture loss from the egg? As long as that bloom isn't removed either by scrubbing or washing, it helps an egg stay fresh even longer. 

It's amazing all the different ways an egg is protected naturally!

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We strive to keep our nest boxes clean so that we don't have to wash our eggs for that very reason. We want our eggs to have the most protection against bacteria so they'll stay fresh for a long time. We've had eggs that have lasted at least 8 weeks in the fridge and longer than 4 weeks on the counter!

That only happened, because we were specifically doing an experiment to see how long our eggs would last. Otherwise, that egg would have been eaten long before 8 weeks!

….we eat 4-6 eggs a day, hence one of the reason we raise our own hens, HA!

So this brings me to the water float test. Long story short,

  • If an egg sinks the whole way to the bottom, it's super fresh

  • If an egg sinks but sort of bobs a little, it's not as fresh, but still completely fine to eat (these are great for hard boiled eggs!)

  • If an egg floats the whole way to the top, it's bad! Throw it out!

Don't try and crack an egg that you think may be bad (or at least go outside!), it will make your house smell AWFUL for hours! I learned that the hard way....

The only time we ever had a bad egg, I decided it was a good idea to crack it in the house. I was just so curious as to what it would look like on the inside......BAD IDEA!

When you crack a fresh egg, it should really smell like nothing. If it smells rotten, sour or unpleasant, even if it didn’t float, throw it out.

But again, this has only happened once to us over the two years we’ve been farming. As long as you’re getting your eggs from a trusted source who you know raises healthy chickens (meaning they lay eggs with strong & protective shells!) and the eggs are fresh, you shouldn’t ever have to experience a bad egg :)

Here's the video walking you through how to do this water float test. Enjoy!

 

 

Comment below if you've ever smelled a rotten egg (I'm so sorry if you have!) or if you already knew how to do this!

Your farmer,

Rachel

How to Prepare a Pasture Raised Turkey

Joe and I LOVE Thanksgiving!

We thoroughly enjoy spending the morning cooking alongside family (well, I love this, Joe is mostly the taste tester, HA!) and sharing a delicious meal with people we love.

Probably something you didn’t know about Joe and I - we are terrible gift givers. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE giving gifts, BUT sometimes it’s so much pressure, especially at Christmas time.

So, we love this “no pressure” holiday.

I think it’s also wonderful to have a day dedicated to giving thanks. It’s so easy to get bogged down by the daily grind and constantly focus on the bad or what you don’t have.

I love reflecting on all that we’ve been given and all the blessings in our lives!

Tell us in the comments below why you love Thanksgiving!

Okay, let’s talk about TURKEY!

When we first raised turkeys on pasture last year, we had no idea how different they would be from other turkeys we’ve had before.

Here’s some of the unique benefits of pasture raised turkeys:

  • They live outside, eat bugs, forage in various grasses, and enjoy sunshine and lots of exercise

  • Because of that exercise, pasture raised turkeys are a little leaner (don’t worry though, you can ensure juiciness with a brine, recipe to follow!…oh and butter helps too, yum!)

  • The flavor of their meat has more depth due to the variation of their diet, it actually tastes like turkey should!

  • They aren’t injected with any additives such as oils, water, salt, emulsifiers, sodium phosphate, or artificial flavors

  • They are most often raised by small family farms, which means you get to have a connection with your farmer and know exactly what you’re feeding your family

Because they are leaner and aren’t injected with a bunch of stuff, you get the opportunity to add your own flavors without all the unknown additives!

BUT you can also add basically nothing and still have an amazing dinner. The flavor of the turkey is amazing on it’s own. We sometimes just do salt, pepper, and butter!

I think there’s 3 key parts if you wanna go all out for a scrumptious roast turkey:

  1. Brine - ensures that the turkey remains juicy

  2. Compound butter - adds flavorful extra fat to the meat

  3. Broth - to use for basting to add flavor and nutrients

I used to be super precise with cooking, following each recipe to the T. But I’ve learned to be flexible depending on what’s in season and what I’ve got on hand.

So for the following recipes, keep in mind that you can keep it as simple as possible OR add your own flair according to your preferences!

Preparing a Pasture Raised Turkey

Ingredients:

  • whole pasture raised turkey, thawed

  • 1 gallon brine (recipe below)

  • for stuffing: chopped onion, celery, carrot, apple or your favorite stuffing recipe!

  • compound butter, softened (recipe below)

  • salt and pepper

  • 2 cups broth (bone broth is the best if you have it on hand! recipe below)

Steps:

Day 1

  1. Rinse turkey and place in 5 gallon food grade bucket or large stock pot.

  2. Pour brine over top. You can place a plate on top of the turkey to keep it submerged if needed.

  3. If not able to be fully submerged, make sure to turn the turkey in the brine periodically so all parts of the bird are at some point submerged.

  4. Place in fridge for 12-24 hours.

Day 2

  1. Prepare your stuffing & compound butter.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  3. Remove turkey from brine, rinse turkey and pat dry.

  4. Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up.

  5. Stuff the turkey.

  6. Use a spatula to separate the skin from the meat where you can, mostly on the breasts and thighs. Spread half of compound butter between skin and meat.

  7. Spread the other half of the butter on top of the skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper all over.

  8. Tie legs together with baking twine. Tuck wings as close as possible.

  9. Pour broth in the bottom of the roasting pan and cover turkey loosely with foil.

  10. Place the roasting pan in the oven and baste every 45-60 minutes.

  11. Remove foil during last 30-45 minutes so skin can get crispy, yum!

  12. Roast the turkey until the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees, roasting time estimates below.

  13. Remove turkey from oven and let rest 15-30 minutes before carving.

  14. ENJOY!

Roasting time estimates:

*should take approximately 15 minutes per pound

  • 8-12 lbs: 2-3 hours

  • 12-16 lbs: 3-4 hours

  • 16-20 lbs: 4-5 hours

Brine

You can simply make this with salt and water, but feel free to spice it up as you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon water

  • 1 cup sea salt

  • optional: 1/2 cup honey or brown sugar, bay leaves, sage, thyme, peppercorns, or citrus slices

Steps:

  1. In a large stock pot, combine 4 cups of water, salt and any other ingredients.

  2. Simmer until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and mix in remaining water.

  3. Let cool to at least room temperature before use or set in fridge for later use.

Compound Butter

Butter sometimes gets a bad rap, BUT it’s actually a really healthy and natural fat, so NO GUILT for me this Thanksgiving :)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon chopped sage

  • optional: thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, lemon juice, chopped shallots or chopped chives

Steps:

  1. Combine all ingredients except butter in food processor or simply mix well with a fork.

  2. Once mixed, combine with softened butter.

  3. Either use immediately or store in fridge. Make sure to set on counter to soften before use.

Bone Broth

You can also use store bought broth for your basting liquid, BUT this is so much better and nutritious since you’re harnessing all the amazing nutrients from the bones!

Ingredients:

  • bones from whole chicken

  • 2 T apple cider vinegar

  • optional: chicken feet, onion, carrots, celery, or peppercorns

Steps:

  1. Add all ingredients to a crock pot. Fill with water and turn on low.

  2. Cook for 18-24 hours

  3. If you want it concentrated, remove lid for a couple hours so some water evaporates and it cooks down

  4. Turn off crock pot and let cool for up to 1 hour

  5. Strain out all the solids and pour broth into jars or other air tight containers

  6. Once cool, store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze.

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Joe and I sincerely hope you enjoy this amazing holiday with those you love….and you get to feast on some epic food together!

If you’re interested in reading more about reserving a FRESH pasture raised turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, CLICK HERE.

We’d LOVE to hear from you! What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Did you learn something new from this post either about the benefits of pasture raised turkey or the ways you can prepare them?