Now that there are fourteen hours of daylight, the whole state seems to be enjoying an abundance of eggs. Hand-lettered, fresh egg signs populate the roadside. Quill’s End dairy has a special on fertilized chicken eggs, quail eggs are for sale at the office, and Captain Joe keeps us in good supply of duck eggs.
The egg is nature’s most nearly perfect food. The white is an excellent source of protein and riboflavin, and the yolk contains protein, iron, Vitamins A and D, choline and phosphorus. The color of the yolk depends entirely upon diet: free-range fowl that enjoy bugs, worms, and grass are noted for their deep, yellow-orange color.
Eggs are extremely versatile and widely used in all cuisines. From omelettes to souffles, sauces, pancakes, waffles, pasta and cakes, no well-equipped kitchen is complete without eggs.
Almost all eggs are edible and hen’s eggs are the most common. Duck eggs are larger than hen’s, with a shell that is very pale green-blue or white. The yolk is larger than a hen’s, with a higher fat content. The white is more viscous, and becomes more rubbery when cooked. The rich flavor and golden yolks of duck eggs make them ideal for baking, and they produce beautiful cakes and custards.
Pickling eggs is a custom that dates back for centuries and old Maine cookbooks feature a variety of recipes. The basics are about the same, cook the egg until hard-boiled and remove the shell. (The shells on older eggs peel more easily.) Prepare a brine of vinegar and spices, more creative recipes call for sliced onions, crushed garlic, even beet juice. Cover the eggs with brine, allow the flavors to marry, and enjoy.
- 16 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Cook eggs in simmering water for 15 minutes. Place eggs in cold water. Remove shells. Pack eggs into sterilized jars.
- In a non-reactive pot, combine vinegar, sugar and spices. Pour hot liquid over hard-cooked eggs. Seal jars.
- Store in the refrigerator. Use these pickled eggs within one month.
Food safety note: these recipes are not intended for long term storage or storage at room temperature.