Egg-static for Spring! (or how to boil eggs)

Guys – for all intents and purposes Spring is here. That is except when it comes to putting out your veggie seedlings. If you’re like me, this time of year can be really hard on your patience. One day it will be 80 and sunny and the next a low of 40. Your seedlings are staring you down every day. Taunting you. All I want to do is put those plants in the ground – but I know that I’ll just kill them if I do. So instead of talking about rows and rows of veggies, we’re going to talk about eggshells. 

Yup. Eggshells. In a minute though…

Quick backstory – Just over 2 years ago the hubster said, hey why don’t we till up the whole yard and you can put in a garden. Somehow, I thought this was a no-brainer. I’m great at gardening (in small raised beds) – what could go wrong? Well I managed to do really well at some things and really badly at other things. 

One of the things I did poorly at was growing roma tomatoes. I had never grown them before but I wanted to can them and knew they were the best option. Sadly, they were also the most finicky tomatoes I have ever encountered. The first romas came in plentiful and strong but soon they all started getting big black spots near the ends. Blossom end rot.  I lost about half of the first batch of tomatoes that first year. Don’t feel bad though – I had 15 plants, plenty of tomatoes after that, and I learned a lot.

Blossom end rot is a cultural problem and not a disease. If you see big black spots on your tomatoes – this doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It does mean those already affected are pretty much lost and should be picked.  This problem can stem from too much water or uneven watering. How many of you out there gave your plants a good soak only to come out the next day to torrential downpours? Or on the other side, forgot to water for a week and then just let the hose sit on the plants for 4 hours?  Yea…don’t do that.

mater

First things first – try to even out your watering habits. Paying just a bit of attention to the forecast or adding reminders to water on your calendar can go a long way with tomatoes. Secondly, space your plants appropriately. I’m am horribly guilty of this. I want every square inch filled. All this does is makes your plants fight for nutrients and water. It can also help spawn disease and fungus from lack of air flow but that’s another story. Finally, through my research I found that burying eggshells when you bury the tomato will almost guarantee that blossom end rot will not happen. The calcium helps the tomato plant regulate its own water intake so its less likely to react to small changes in your watering habits. Don’t eat eggs? That’s ok. Use pulverized calcium instead. If you’ve already planted the seedlings – don’t bother digging them back up. Just dissolve some calcium carbonate tablets in water and use that to water the plants.  

Plant

 

All of this means that I am eating hardboiled eggs a lot right now and saving up the shells. I told you we were going to talk about eggshells.  

Are you one of those people that has crap luck when it comes to making hardboiled eggs? Do they crack? Do they stick to the shell when you try to peel them? Are they tough or dry? Its not you, its your technique.

eggs

  1. Do NOT rush out and get fresh eggs from the store or farmers market or from the chickens you have in the back yard. Boiling eggs works better on old eggs. Typically store eggs are pretty old by the time they get to you, I still try to wait at least another 5 days after purchasing them (use that for farm fresh eggs too). 
  2. In a cold empty pot, place your cold eggs. Don’t over crowd the pan. They should have room to move around and should not be on top of each other. Fill the pot with COLD water about an inch above the eggs.
  3. Cover and heat till it just reaches a good boil (not a simmer – a boil). 
  4. If you have a glass top stove, just turn off the heat, keep covered, and leave the pot on the burner for around 12 minutes. If you have a gas stove, you probably want to turn the heat down to low for one minute. Then turn off the heat and set the pot sit covered for 12 minutes. Times may need to be adjusted if you are doing large amounts of eggs at a time. Generally I don’t go over 15 minutes.
  5. Once the timer goes off its time to stop the cooking process. If you’re doing a large amount of eggs, have a large bowl of ice water ready. Drain the hot water from the eggs (some people save this for water plants – depends on your crunchy level). If you have a large amount of eggs, submerge them in ice water. If you’re only doing a few, just let cold water run over the eggs until cool. 
  6. I generally peel and eat immediately but you can store them in the fridge for about 5 days. 
  7. If saving shells for your tomatoes, get a tupperware to collect them. Let them sit in a sunny spot to dry out prior to placing on plants. Crush them up a bit too (you can pulverize them if you prefer).

Tips!

  • Can’t remember if you boiled an egg and don’t want to crack it to test? Spin the egg! If the egg spins evenly and smoothly – its boiled. When you stop it mid-spin, this egg will remain stopped. If it wobbles while spinning, its raw. When you stop it mid-spin, this egg will begin to wobble again. Science!
  •  Want to use your Easter eggs for this project? If you are using natural vegetable dye, I say go for it. If you are using store bought chemical dyes – I’d hesitate. Never know what chemicals are in there and how they are going to affect your maters (or our belly).
  • Some people swear by adding vinegar to their boiling water. It is suppose to help the eggs to not crack. If you gently heat your water and eggs up, you won’t need to worry about that. Leave the vinegar for cleaning and salads. 
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