Life in the Shell. Fermented eggs
• While eggs from various animals are eaten throughout the globe, the chicken egg is almost without competition.
• The shell of a hen egg contains about 95% calcium carbonate with about 4% protein.
• It is very important to only use eggshells from healthy, natural chickens, geese, ducks, etc. if you or your animals are going to ingest the shells.
Eggs from factory farms are not only less nutritious but can carry harmful pathogens.
• Add a clean eggshell, when brewing tibi / water kefir for an added mineral boost.
• Egg shell will neutralize acidity of fermented drinks. Use one clean shell per two liters.
CALCIUM + MINERAL RICH VINEGAR
Make calcium rich vinegar by adding calcium rich herbs and one clean high-quality eggshell to apple cider vinegar.
Any of the calcium rich plants from the garden: kale, collards, chard, beetroot greens, and more are great candidates for herbal vinegar.
The nutritious weeds including dandelion, garlic mustard, yellow dock, chickweed, lambs’ quarters, amaranth, purslane, plantain and red clover can all be used.
1. After collecting plant material, remove debris and use it as is if you are confident it is clean, otherwise wash in clean water and dry thoroughly.
2. Chop and put in the clean jar. For leafy greens, fill the jar to the top, but do not compress it. For roots, seaweed, and other more dense or dried material fill the jar between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way full.
3. Then, fill to the top with apple cider vinegar, put on the nonmetal lid, and store in a cool place out of direct light for 6 weeks.
It needs to infuse for at least six weeks, then decanted.
After 6 weeks, strain with muslin / cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or a clean cotton tea towel. Compost the plant part and store the vinegar in a jar with a cork top and label the bottle.
But the calcium from the shell and the plants goes into the vinegar and can be used as regular vinegar in salad dressing, in most recipes that call for vinegar, as part of your homemade sauces and as a condiment over cooked greens, grains, and vegetables.
It is also great as part of a marinade, whether using for tempeh, tofu or meat.
A quinoa salad with an herbal vinegar dressing is a summer favourite, and in the winter baked or roasted vegetables and stews come alive with vinegar as part of the recipe.
For a sleep aid, a tablespoon of vinegar in water before bed can help.
Herbal vinegars also make great gifts. With a collection of nice bottles, you can decant the vinegar and add a whole sprig of plant for decoration. But be sure and tell the recipient why this vinegar is extra special!
EGG BONE BROTH
When making bone + egg broths, add a little apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar) to the pot and let sit for about an hour before turning on the heat.
This helps pull the nutrients out of the bones and eggshells.
IN THE GARDEN + ANIMALS
Crushed powdered eggshells are great for the health of our garden, adding calcium to the soil. It is also great for birds and chickens.
With so many benefits, it makes me wonder why anyone would toss eggshells into the garbage.
There is a well-known organic pesticide called diatomaceous earth, basically the fossilized remains of creatures that are ground into a fine powder. This works as an organic pesticide because it gets under the shells of beetles and acts like bits of glass to cut them up and kill them. Be very careful in the distribution – as it will also kill the good beetles.
Also, works on cockroaches – sprinkled lightly in cupboards.
Well guess what, eggshells work the same way. The eggshells can also kill beneficial insects in your garden. So, it is best to sprinkle the powdered eggshells directly on the specific pests you are trying to control. We only use on plants with pest problems. Otherwise, it goes into the compost bin and the soil of our garden beds and into our chicken feed and a light scattering at the bottom of the nesting boxes – with shredded paper or sugar cane mulch on top. The dog enjoys some in her dinner, too.
Toss eggshells into a paper bag, do not stack the shells together – allow shells to dry out. We keep our bag in the pantry and keep adding each day. One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder. When you have enough eggshells – roll a rolling pin over the paper bag.
Lay broken pieces out on paper towels and allow to air dry thoroughly.
Grind the eggshells into a powder using a coffee grinder.
Just make sure they are completely dry before putting in a sealed container or they could get mouldy.
Store powdered eggshells in a covered glass jar or container, and store in a dry place, like the kitchen pantry.
Do you need extra calcium?
Put 1/2 teaspoon of powdered eggshell into a small dish.
Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon (freshly squeezed) and mix well–it will start to bubble and foam.
Leave at room temperature for 6 hours – the longer you leave it the less gritty it will be, but do not leave it longer than 12 hours since it will dry out too much.
Take it from a spoon, followed by mouthful of water to wash it down, and at mealtime.
Fill a wide mouth jar with 3 clean, whole, uncracked eggs.
Cover the eggs with freshly squeezed lemon juice – it is important that the lemons are very fresh, or this mixture will not work.
Close the jar tightly and place in the refrigerator. You should start to see bubbles forming on the eggshells. That means the eggshells are being dissolved into the lemon juice. The mixture will gradually turn white.
Gently agitate the jar a few minutes about 3 times a day.
As soon as the bubbling stops it is ready to take.
It should not take any longer than 36-48 hours.
If you leave the mixture longer it will tend to get thick and the eggs will begin to absorb more of the lemon juice, or the eggs may split and leak into the mixture.
Occasionally this mixture does not work when the lemons are not fresh enough.
Carefully remove the eggs without breaking the membrane, and use, i.e. in a raw drink. There will not be any shell left on the egg because it has been totally dissolved into the lemon juice.
Place a tight lid on the mixture that remains after the eggs have been removed and shake it well.
Take no more than one teaspoon per day initially because it can be very powerful. Start slowly. The amount may be gradually increased over time.
With today’s farming techniques it is hard to believe that eggs were a seasonal food just like fruit and vegetables: the cold winter temperatures were not conducive to incubating developing chicks, nor was there enough food during those lean times to produce eggs in the first place.
• To tell if they are fresh, fill a basin with water and add eggs. Fresh eggs lie on the bottom, not so fresh will rise slightly, and a bad egg will float.
• Grandma would rub eggs with fat before putting them into the water and they would cook without bursting.
Quick Pickled Eggs + a great use for left-over fermented brine
Add un-refined sweetener if you like a sweet pickle brine on your pickled eggs. You can try blue pickled eggs from purple kraut juice or yellow pickled eggs from cucumber pickle juice, or pink pickled eggs using beetroot pickles / beet kvass.
Pop shelled boiled eggs into the brine / kvass and stick in refrigerator.
They will be good to eat in 2-4 days (the pink ones are easiest to tell how far they have been pickled, since the colour will tell you how far the brine has penetrated).
For every six eggs take 2 ½ cups vinegar, six cloves of garlic, small piece of orange peel and a piece of whole mace.
Boil all together for thirty minutes, when cooled put in hard boiled eggs.
Leave six weeks before eating and will keep indefinitely.
Pidan, also called “thousand-year-old preserved egg,” or hundred-year/thousand-year/millennium egg or a century egg is a fermented chicken, duck or quail egg, preserved in a mixture of lime, rice hulls, ash, clay and salt for months.
Whatever you want to call it – well known for the dark gray-green or black colour and aroma of sulfur and ammonia.
A paste made from tea water, clay, lime, ash and salt is packed around the eggs, then they are rolled in rice hulls to keep from sticking together and left to sit for anywhere from 45-100 days. The result is a greening-brownish egg often referred to as “horse urine eggs” in some Southeast Asian countries.
The lime “petrifies” the eggs makes the whites firm, gelatinous and amber-coloured; the yolks, spinach-green and cheese like. (The Chinese call these “eggs with skin” because of their black outer coating. The English names, although romantic and exaggerated, describe their antique appearance–they do look as though they have been buried for centuries.) Preserved eggs usually are eaten uncooked for breakfast or as hors d’oeuvres and served frequently at banquets.”
The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook, Gloria Bley Miller [Grosset & Dunlap:New York] 1970
Duck eggs as detailed by Kenneth Lo…salt is first dissolved in a small amount of water in a large bowl; then pine ash and lime are slowly added, and the mixture stirred until it reaches a muddy consistency. A thick layer of the mixture is applied to clean duck eggs, which are then rolled in a tray of husks, of rice or some other kind, to give them a non-adhesive coat to prevent them from sticking to anything.
Then they are placed in a big earthenware jar which is covered loosely and left to stand.
The eggs are removed every three days and rearranged in the jar, and after fifteen days the jar is sealed and left for another month.
At that time, after 45 days in total, the eggs should…be ready.
A more length procedure…one involving an initial three months of soaking the eggs in a brine made of water, salt, lime, lye, and tea leaves. Then the eggs are dried, covered with a paste of clay, lime, ashes, and salt, and buried in the earth for further aging.
By whatever process, the product has a yolk that is green and resembles cheese, and a white that is yellow or amber and of a gelatinous consistency.
Chinese do not eat it directly but soak in a mixture of soybean sauce, vinegar and chili to help cover the smell and bring out the flavours of the egg.
My beautiful friend Cassie says they are divine but can make your exhaust pipe feel like it is on fire and produce a horrible smell … Poo, who done that?
In eating a thousand-year-old egg, one must first remove the mud and carefully clean its shell.
Then one normally eats the egg, which has the smell of ammonia, uncooked.
It may be eaten with hot rice for breakfast or a late night supper, or cut into pieces and served as a snack with soy sauce, sometimes garnished with ginger strips or slices, or with a sauce made of vinegar and shredded ginger…Such eggs may also be prepared in other ways, as in ‘Fried 100-Year-Old-Eggs’…or ‘Old and Fresh Eggs,’ a steamed dish that includes both thousand year-old egg yolks and fresh eggs…The ultimate in combining types of eggs…is ‘Steamed Three Variety Eggs,’ which includes in a single dish thousand-year-old eggs, salted eggs, and fresh ones.”
Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry, Frederick J. Simoons [CRC Press:Boca Raton FL] 1991 Kenneth Lo’s Encyclopedia of Chinese Cooking
Love and bacteria, Xo Lynnie