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With molting season soon upon us, winter approaching, and declining hours of sunlight every day, your hens will start laying fewer eggs. To keep enjoying the nutritious eggs from your own chickens far into the winter months, you need to preserve the bounty you’re getting now.

There are many safe and effective ways to keep eggs fresh for many months or longer. The key is to do it right. Here are three easy and popular methods of preserving those extra eggs.

Baking

In addition to using excess eggs in your baked goods like quiche and then freezing them for later meals, you can actually bake the individual eggs in order to save them.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Crack one egg into each cup of a lightly greased muffin pan.
  • Season with salt and pepper or other spices as desired.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Let cool.
  • Once cooled, remove each baked egg and place in a freezer bag or container.
  • It may help to place a small square of waxed paper between each egg before freezing.

These egg “muffins” are perfect to pull out of the freezer, thaw, and then pair with English muffins or small bagels for a quick and nutritious breakfast sandwich.

Pickling

Pickled eggs are not just something you find in a glass keg next to the beer tap. This particular method of preserving fresh chicken (and other poultry) eggs is one that has been around for centuries. The eggs should retain their freshness and taste for up to three months in the refrigerator.

Start with a dozen small-medium eggs that are from 4-12 days old as they’ll peel better than fresher ones. (If you decide to use quail eggs, you can do close to three dozen for this recipe.) While there are many recipes available for pickled eggs, this simple one using red beets to make the beautiful color is easy and popular.

  • Hard-boil and peel the eggs.
  • Place the cooked eggs into a pre-sterilized quart canning jar. Set aside.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes:
    • 1 cup red beet juice (from the can)
    • 1 ½ cup cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp brown sugar
    • some sliced or tiny beets (from the can)
  • Pour mixture over eggs in the canning jar. Be sure there is plenty of pickling solution to completely cover the eggs, removing excess eggs if necessary. Place canning lid and ring on jar and immediately refrigerate.

These eggs make nutritious snacks, full of protein and great taste. And yes, they do go well with beer.

Water-Glassing

Water glass is another name for sodium silicate. Sodium silicate can be found at your local drug store or purchased online. It is a chemical that when mixed with water creates an airtight seal on the shell of fresh chicken eggs. There are two trains of thought on how to best use water glass – one as a medium for storing the eggs and the other as a dip or painted-on sealant. Storing them in the solution is the more popular and possibly reliable, choice.

Collect eggs that are less than three or four days old, gently clean any debris from them. Make sure there are no cracks or holes in any of the shells. Follow the sodium silicate package directions, using cool water for mixing. Partially fill a clean crock or jar of glass, crockery, wood, or enamel with the mixture.

Place the clean eggs in one at a time, ensuring that there is always at least two inches of solution over the top layer of eggs. Keep the jar covered in a cool, dark place. Eggs should maintain freshness for at least six months. Many report the eggs are still perfect after a year in the solution.

So have you used any of these egg preservation methods or others? How do you choose to keep your eggs fresh?

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5 Secrets to Achieving a Professional Pedicure at Home

Professional pedicures are pricey, and if you live in a secluded area, they’re also inconvenient. You can get all of the same benefits that a professional would offer in the comfort of your own home by following a few simple tips.

Clip and file

Before you do anything, you need to prep your nails. Remove any old nail polish. Then clip them to your desired length. Lastly, file with a high-quality nail file to achieve an even shape.

Soak, soak, soak

This is, hands down, the most important step to achieving a professional-looking pedicure. An aesthetician would never paint your nails without first letting them soak. It helps soften your cuticles and the rest of your feet, which makes each subsequent step much more effective. The other benefit of a hot soak? It immediately puts you in a relaxed mood—a key ingredient for the complete spa experience.

The easiest method is to fill a dish tub with hot water, adding just a tiny bit of the soap of your choice. That way, you can soak your feet while sitting in your favorite comfy chair. Let your feet hang out for a generous 10 minutes, then dry them off.

Clean, trim and buff

Now that your feet are prepared, it’s time to remove all that dead skin. First clean underneath each nail using an orangewood stick. Use a cuticle trimmer to remove the excess dead skin from your cuticles if necessary. Then buff the bottoms of your feet, especially your heels and any other callouses. You can also use a gentle scrub at this stage.

Get baby-smooth

Almost there! Your feet should be looking brand new by now, so it’s time to restore all the moisture that was lost during the hot water soak and buffing process. Any rich, creamy lotion will work perfectly for this step, though you can buy a special foot cream if you’re feeling fancy. If you prefer to go natural, shea butter or coconut oil will both work well.

Final touches

If you prefer a natural, polish-free look, you can skip this step or add a simple nourishing oil to your nails instead. If, however, you like to jazz up your toes, then now is the time to choose your color and apply it to your nails. Don’t forget to use a base coat and top coat for longer-lasting results. Then sit back and relax—there’s nothing worse than smudging your pedicure a few minutes after you finally finished!


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