I feel like I’ll be a broken record on my blog this year saying the phrase: “Because of the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, I decided to make [fill in the blank here]” over and over again, but so be it! I’m so enjoying being part of the FIJ challenge and I’ve already made several food items because of it that I wouldn’t have attempted otherwise. Who would have thought three years ago when I retired this blog that I would revive it again and basically only write about food for a while! But it’s been great.
Back to the catch phrase above…this time around (because of the Challenge) I decided to make salt cured eggs. This is a thing that I didn’t know was a thing until the challenge. But February was salt preserving month and alongside the Salt Preserved Lemons that I jarred, I decided to do some salt cured eggs as well. I don’t know what it was about them that appealed to me, maybe it was their golden colour and the fact that I knew they were going to harden and become grate-able after drying in the fridge. That seemed yum and I decided to take on the challenge.
First things first: I had to get some eggs. But I didn’t want to use just any old eggs from the grocery store. I wanted home grown eggs and the biggest eggs that I could find. Well, scratch that, I could have gone for goose eggs and I didn’t do that. What I did source out were duck eggs, available from my friends at Cast Iron Farm in Sooke. I got six of the beauties and, while not enormous, were big enough to be bigger than large size chicken eggs that I usually buy at the store:
Cracking into those duck eggs was a challenge, I’ll tell you! The membrane in duck eggs seems to be a lot thicker than chicken eggs and so it was a tricky exercise to get the yolks out of the shells in one piece, gently!
I laid the yolks out on a bed of salt, following the recipe on the hunter-angler-gardener-cook website. (I mean doesn’t the photo of the cured egg at the top of that post make you want to make them? It reminds me of old cheese wheels.)
I covered them with salt and let them rest in the fridge for the required time. When I took them out it was like hunting for small nuggets of gold – and they were easy to find as the salt had hardened around them. I brushed the salt off each one as best I could, considering they were fairly tacky to the touch and quite a bit of salt stuck behind on each one.
The next step involved wrapping them in cheesecloth, trying to get them all individually cosseted in cloth, and hanging them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Now this is where I’d do something differently in the future because not only were they a pain to wrap, I didn’t wrap them well enough (with enough cheesecloth layers in between, or hang them all individually – yeah right) and a few of them stuck to each other during this stage. After two weeks in the fridge like this (note: they weren’t drippy so the bowl turned out to be totally unnecessary) I had to pry some of them apart and some are still tacky to the touch. However…
Some are totally grate-able! I grated part of one over a recipe of sausage, turkey, orzo and rice and it was totally delicious. Salty yes, but it added a zippy flavour, making the dish sing. Here you can see the grated egg on the meal and the eggs themselves in the container behind:
I do have one more thing to do on this little project, due to some of the eggs still being tacky as I mentioned. I read in the FIJ Facebook group that some people didn’t hang their eggs to dry in the fridge, but dried them in the oven (or a dehydrator) instead. Not having a dehydrator I think I might try the oven step to finish off the last tacky eggs that still need to harden up. Then I can return them all to the fridge to store them for (apparently) quite a long time, grating them here and there to add some deliciousness to appropriate meals.
Will I make them again? Probably not. Although apparently delicious, I think they’re just too, too fussy for a regular recurrence on my making schedule. But it was fun to try them this time and do something totally different.