Our chickens are laying so many eggs right now. They are laying mountains of eggs on a daily basis, filling their nesting boxes and leaving me to gather, wash, and package for a couple hours each and every day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It never stops!
Every spring it’s the same story. The longer days and increasing hours of sunlight kick their little bird brains and reproductive systems into some sort of frenzy and they start popping out eggs like they’re on a mission. Whatever that “mission” may be, it is tied to the laws of Mother Nature herself. Spring is the time for birth and rebirth, for new life and new beginnings. Spring is the best time to raise baby chicks: The vegetation is tender, the days and nights are warmer, and the entire summer lies ahead for growth. By the time fall rolls around, that spring chick will be hardy and mature enough to survive her first winter.
The egg-laying frenzy will eventually slow down and by the time hot summer temperatures become the norm, the ladies will have relaxed a little. While they will continue to lay somewhat sporadically, it will appear more of a hobby rather than their purpose in life.
Personally, I have had a long and complicated relationship with eggs. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I remember well the best nutrition science at the time believed that eggs were bad for you. Butter, whole milk, cream, and eggs were thought to cause heart disease and block arteries. The science has gotten better on the subject, of course, and we now know that it’s not so black and white. Much depends on the quality of the eggs and dairy (pastured and/or grass-fed is best), and each individual’s genetic makeup, activity levels, overall diet, and other habits. But I still have vivid memories of opening the fridge of my childhood home to find the eggs were replaced with a carton of egg-like substance and the butter replaced with margarine. (Also new in the kitchen was a box of red wine, but that’s another story!)
Like so many, my family has a history of high cholesterol and heart disease. My paternal grandfather died of heart attack at age 42; my maternal grandfather had a heart attack and bypass surgery in his early 50s. My own father has been on statins (cholesterol-reducing drugs) since he was 32. I’ve just started on one myself, now that my overall cholesterol has ventured into the 300-range (recommended is under 200). Although my LDL (bad cholesterol) is high, my HDL (good cholesterol) is also very high, thanks in part to eating free-range eggs rich in omega-3. Despite a relatively healthy diet, few vices, and a moderately active lifestyle, I apparently have also inherited an over-achieving liver.
So, how does a farmer with a family history of heart disease deal with an overabundance of eggs? We sell as many as we can, of course. We’ve donated to a local food pantry and given extras to loyal customers. And we continue to eat them. My favorite breakfast is an egg fried in olive oil with a side of tomato and avocado, and a cup of coffee. I make frittatas, gratins, and omelets filled with spinach and feta for lunch or dinner. And I (very infrequently) will make the world’s most indulgent but most delicious dish: Eggs benedict.
So if I may suggest, please pick up some farm-fresh, free-range eggs from a local stand today and make this easier-than-you-think decadent dish to celebrate spring and to boost your HDL. The farmer will certainly thank you…they’re up to their eyeballs in eggs just like me!
1-2 whole eggs per serving
1-2 tablespoons vinegar (white or apple cider)
1-2 English muffin halves per serving, toasted
Fill a frying pan with about 1” of water, add vinegar. Bring just to the boil, and turn down to barely a simmer. Slowly and carefully crack 1-2 eggs per person directly into the water, spaced far apart. If serving more than can fit comfortably in the pan, do so in batches.
I like to carefully flip the eggs once it is clear that the whites have firmed up, or you can choose to place a cover over the pan. Keep a close eye on your eggs; you want the whites to be cooked, but the yolks still quite soft.
Place poached eggs on top of toasted English muffins and top with Hollandaise, finish with a grind of fresh cracked pepper.
Hollandaise in a blender
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup melted butter
Place yolks, lemon juice, and salt in blender. With blender on low speed and lid off, slowly pour the still-warm, melted butter into the blender. Serve immediately over poached eggs.