Whether you keep them in the fridge or the cupboard, buy them from a shop or have your own hens lay them for you, eggs are a versatile and healthy food found in most households. But tucked away in those boxes, eggs can sometimes be forgotten about, or we simply end up with too many! While eggs are generally considered safer to eat than 20 years ago, and eggs can be eaten up to 3 days after their use-by date, they remain one of the most commonly wasted foods, despite how easy they are to use in the kitchen.
If the hens on your smallholding have been extra busy, or you’ve just ended up buying too many, here are some ideas on how to make use of any excess eggs you have.
With a large jar, or plenty of smaller ones, you can pickle boiled eggs, allowing them to be preserved for a number of months. Simply hard boil your excess eggs, allow to cool, then use a spoon to crack the shell and remove it by hand, taking care to leave the egg white in tact. For a basic pickle, add the eggs to a pickling jar and top up with 2 parts distilled vinegar and 1 part water. For more interesting flavours, try apple cider or white wine vinegar. Experiment with adding spices, cloves, garlic, salt or even slices of fruit. Pickled eggs can be kept in the fridge for a couple of months.
One of the best and most fun ways of using up eggs is by trying a number of baking recipes. This is especially good to try if you don’t enjoy eating eggs alone, or you have fussy eaters in your family. Victoria sponges, muffins and meringues all make delicious sweet treats which use up eggs, requiring very few other ingredients which you may already have in your cupboard. Eggs can also be useful in dishes which require batter. Make a batch or pancakes one evening, or Yorkshire puddings to accompany a roast dinner. If you aren’t able to eat everything you bake yourself, you can always freeze it and defrost when needed. Alternatively, try giving your baked treats as gifts to family and friends, or selling them at fetes or local markets.
Add protein to any meal
The great thing about eggs is its ability to fit with almost any meal. Combine it with your usual lunch or evening meal and you’ll be giving yourself an extra helping of protein which helps to boost energy and muscle growth. Crack an egg into a pasta sauce to make it extra rich and creamy, or swirl into soup whilst cooking to leave you with delicious and filling pieces which take on the soup’s flavour. A sliced boiled egg can even be eaten as a side dish to any meal, or combined with a salad to make it more substantial.
Give them to friends
No one likes to see good food go to waste, so if you have a large amount of excess eggs that need using, offer them to friends and family who will probably be able to take them off your hands. If you own hens which lay eggs for you, try collecting and selling them to friends and colleges, or even find a local market to set up a stall. Most people can’t resist a home-laid egg for a reasonable price and will jump at the chance to stock up. Ask around for friends and family to save old egg boxes for you, so you always have something to keep them in.
Plan more eggs into your weekday meals
It seems obvious, but by planning your meals well you can ensure no food goes to waste. So if you have a surplus of eggs building up, try to eat at least one egg-based meal during the week to use them up. There are plenty of ideas, such as a simple leftovers omelette, quiche, frittata or baked eggs.
Introduce more eggs at breakfast
Eggs are full of protein and can leave you feeling full for hours, making them the perfect breakfast food. If you don’t already, introduce an egg into yours and your family’s breakfast. This will boost their energy and prepare them for a long day, as well as being a great way to use up eggs more quickly and prevent them going to waste. Great breakfast dishes which use egg include scrambled egg on toast, soft boiled egg with soldiers, poached eggs or eggs Benedict.
Image sourced: Kate Hiscocktagseggszero waste