Balsamic Onion Pickled Eggs

Let’s talk eggs! This time of year we find the girls are super productive. It’s like the last push as the daylight hours decrease. Just what to do with all those butt nuggets?

There are many ways of preserving eggs – dehydrating, freezing, freeze drying, water glassing. Today, though, we are exploring a more tasty option – pickling.

As you search the internet you’ll find all kinds of techniques for pickling and canning eggs for shelf stability. However, the National Center for Food Preservation doesn’t not have a shelf stable recipe. The only recipes they have are for refrigerator storage and it is not recommended to store pickled eggs at room temperature. We store our pickled eggs in the refrigerator. There they can last up to four months but they never do in our home! Let’s get started.

The Ingredients

  • 1 dozen small – medium eggs
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Small red onion
  • Pickling salt
  • Cajun seasoning

The Prep

  • Jars – this is not a sterile project but of course you’ll want to clean your jars well.
  • Eggs – boil eggs to your preferences. We use mix a tablespoon of baking soda in the water to make peeling easier. IT WORKS! We put aside any that are damaged while peeling. We eat those right away.
  • Onion – chop or slice to your preference. Whatever you choose you’ll want to make sure the size is compact so as to not take up too much space in your jar.

Let’s Cook

Since this is a small batch we are doing things a tad differently than if we were doing a large batch. Since the brine we will be using would be hot we did warm our jars in the oven. We do this by placing just a tad bit of water on to a baking sheet and placing our jars on top into a 170° oven as it heats up. We leave them there until we are ready to use. You could just as well use your dishwasher or use hot water.

We layered our ingredients into the jars as tightly as possible. We started with the onion. After the onion, we packed those eggs in as tightly as we possibly could! Using small to medium eggs makes this much easier. Of additional benefit is that of using wide mouth jars.

After the jar is packed as tightly as possible we then poured in our balsamic vinegar to about 3/4 of the jar. Then we poured our apple cider vinegar in the remaining 1/4 of the jar. Be sure to make sure all the eggs are completely covered. At this point we did have to remove one of our eggs.

Now, using a strainer, (since these are being prepared just for our family, I used my hand) cover the jar securely and pour liquid mixture into a sauce pan. Add Pickling seasoning and Cajun seasoning (always to taste). Bring to a simmer. Pour brine over eggs. Secure with lid & ring. Allow to cool before placing in the refrigerator. If you want to seal the jar flip it upside down. The heat of the brine will seal the jar. Keep in mind it will still need to be stored int he refrigerator.

The hardest part of this recipe isn’t the cooking but THE WAITING! Wait a minimum of 2 weeks before cracking open your home pickled eggs! Trust us, it’s well worth the wait!

The Results

Our family was very adventurous in trying this recipe. I recorded video but haven’t convinced them to allow me to share it with you guys yet. It ended up being closer to 3 weeks when we tried these. Out of 5 only one family member didn’t like the flavor at all and another simply preferred a different flavor (Jalapeño Ginger) pickled eggs. The eggs do take on an ashen grey color on the outside but in the the brief time they remained in the fridge the Balsamic color didn’t reach the yolk although we think that would be quite an interesting looking egg! The Cajun seasoning flavor is there and it definitely enhanced the flavor however the heat was lost. If you are wanting a hot pickled egg we suggest perhaps adding actual peppers instead of just the seasoning.

We would love to hear from you if you try this recipe. Tag us! We would love to see your results!


The Goings _ On September 2022

September – the month that Summer turns to Fall. Let’s just say it is the month it is supposed to turn into Fall! August was a whirlwind for us. Between pest issues, health problems, and scorching heat, and extreme humidity it has been one wild August!

The Flock

The chickens are doing so well. They have been the one positive throughout this season. Our girls are growing very well and have the sweetest demeanor. They have now been merged with the 4 that we hatched out in May and our two Welsummers. For our largest flock yet! Twelve! That may not seem like a lot to you but building a run to ensure there is plenty of space to keep the peace was an undertaking to say the least. But using recycled goods, some new fencing, t-posts, and some pallets – we got it done!

There are two cockerels in this flock – Hope & Faith. Faith being the larger of the two and most outgoing has already begin to assert his dominance with the younger girls. It is quite interesting to watch. Hope on the other hand stays out of the way and occasionally will let the girls know he’s a dude. You may remember that Hope is the chick we almost lost. Our daughter took the task of hatching him out herself. We are so glad that we made that decision. He is just beautiful! He takes after his father and grandmother with the adorable feathered feet! And in the blackness of his feathers there is the most beautiful reddish brown coming through. Yes, him is a handsome fella! We are loving learning animal husbandry first hand by watching these traits pass from one chicken to the next. Best of all, we love that fact that each hatchling set seems to become more and more personable with us. As we observe them grow we admire our Creator more and more!

Right now we are at a whopping 25 chickens! That may not seem like a lot for a farm but just remember we are a microfarm. We started with 6! You could say this getting out of hand but we wouldn’t. While we didn’t intend to ever have this many, we have found something we love. Raising chickens is a dual fold benefit for us. We get beautiful eggs weekly that we can share with the community as supplies allow. When hens are past laying age we get meat and of course we use those bones for broth. We really can’t see why everyone doesn’t have chickens. Just saying!

When Spring 2023 comes around we will have a total of 21 laying hens. That is a lot of eggs! We are tossing around the idea of a small member egg CSA late Spring or early Summer. I mean who wouldn’t want a dozen Certified Naturally Grown eggs delivered to their door weekly?! If that is something you would be interested in please let us know. It would be nice to know what kind of market we have for it before diving in.

Fall Planting

Fall Planting has continued though not quite as planned. Our brassicas were doing very well, that is until They got leggy. After reviewing last years garden notes we think the culprit may be our favorite peat pellets! Last year we were able to save a good bit of the seedlings so we thought we could save these as well but when trying to set them out it was clear they were beyond saving. This is a real set back for us. This likely means that we will not be harvesting in Fall harvest on our brassicas. While that is disappointing it is not all a loss as we can still harvest in Spring. Those brassicas included – Collards, Broccoli, & Cauliflower. Late is better than never – right?

For the first time ever we are growing out our own onion starts. We decided to do this because there are more varieties of short day onion seeds versus short day onion starts. We really wanted to include some Granex varieties in our planting this year and we were having a difficult time sourcing starts. Ergo we are starting them from seed ourselves. We have started these so that by January they are hopefully at a sufficient size to set out.

We are not going to put all of our eggs in one basket though. Since this is a new endeavor we will still order our starts as usual. This will ensure we still get harvest if our starts somehow fail.

We planned to do a video but when the time came we totally forgot. We were in JUST GET ID DONE MODE! This is what we did:

  • We labeled 4 cups – one for each variety:
    • Timon (yellow, Grano)
    • DP Sweet (yellow, sweet, Granex)
    • Chianti (red, Grano)
    • Sapelo Sweet (yellow, sweet, Granex)
  • We poured the seeds in to each cup – about a teaspoon each variety
  • We covered with cool filtered water
  • We allowed to sit on the table uncovered for 3 days.
    • By day 3 all had began to sprout except the Chianti (red onion). If your seeds have sprouted be sure to plant sprouted portion down into the soil and part with seed attached up.

We will keep you updated on this journey!

In the Way of Available Produce

There a few times of the year where our farm is looking a little rough. Those time are usually times of transition. Now we are transitioning from Summer to Fall. Sadly there is just not a lot of produce items currently available. Our tea blends, infused oils, spice blends are in stock however. We hope to add fresh produce items to the shop page within the next 30 – 55 days as we have planted some fast growing leafy greens and root veggies. For now our microgreens are available to grow to order and we have opened subscriptions for Fall MICROgreens by BHG. Deliveries will begin October 21st and run through November 9th. We will remain open to accept subscribers until September 30th.

Life Changes

As we all grow and age we come we learn to adjust to the different changes our lives throw our way. Whether we like change or not it comes for us in some fashion or another.

Many that know our family know that I, Shena Nicole, deal with chronic health issues and have from birth. I don’t discuss these issues often as I have chosen to not let them define me. I just live my life. In fact, I forget sometimes that I have limitations and those are the occasions my body will rudely remind me. Recently I have had to deal with far more pain & limited mobility than I have in the past making it more and more challenging to accomplish even the most basic activities of daily living much less homesteading. Not being able to monitor the farm as needed has sadly even accounted for some of our crop losses this year. This in turn just made me an emotional wreck! Something needed to be done! A couple of doctor visits & tests later and we have a potential culprit but only time will tell. In the meantime chronic pain is being managed with new pharmaceuticals. While I am not one who cares for taking pills this is absolutely necessary for my quality of life. It is taking a lot to adjust to the new regimen. At first focusing was an issue which is why this blog is so extremely past due! However, I have already noticed some improvement in pain levels & mobility. Along with exercise & more diet adjustments, I am hopeful that with this improvement will come with more freedom to do what needs to be done to run a farm, a home, a family. Backing down is just not something I know how to do. With many prayers and the support of my friends & family, I do hope to put this phase of life in the rear view soon. There is just too much to do!

By the time we come back to you next month we hope to be installing new raised beds, planting garlic, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Cabbage, Carrots, & more! Like I said, THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH TO DO!


The Goings On – August 2022

Summer, summer, summertime! Admit it. If you were born in the late 70’s or early 80’s you likely sang that didn’t you! I sure did! Sorry DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince but here it is NOT – I REPEATE – it is NOT “time to sit back and unwind”! Summer is time for putting away the harvest and preparing for Fall on most farms. Things have been a little out of the ordinary this year for us with a little more of the same.

The Animals

The new females chicks that we added to the flock back in June are doing quite well. They are so stinkin’ cute! Even at month old they are retaining their adorable nature. I have noticed that some of them have a cute little tuft of hair on their heads, a mohawk if you will. From our research it seems that these should be the Olive Eggers. If you’ll recall the mix up at the store… so this is our somewhat educated guess. It may well be next year before we know for certain. However, for now they are happy and healthy. They have been moved from the brooder coop and into the bottom half of one of our larger coops. They will remain there till the 19th of this month at which time they will be moved to the teenage coop from which the current inhabitants – Hope, Peace, Faith, & Patience – will be migrated into the coops with the grown folks! It’s a process folks and with the limited space we have it has to be pretty precise. We hope to get a flock video update done this month so be on the look out for that.

Sonny and Cher have completely settled in! They are at home-sweet-home! Sonny is the ham of the two ALWAYS in need of attention and Cher is getting used to the attention – wanted or not. She so food motivated! She really loves to get fresh garden treats and who doesn’t?! We just speed the breakdown of our garden goodness by pushing it through their little bodies and out comes pellets of gold! We have their fertilizer available for purchase over on our online shop. It works!

Well we have gone and added yet more animals to our little farm. If you follow our social media then you are well aware of our newest additions. For those that do not know, I have long wanted Silkie chickens. I finally got some! We were given a rooster whom we have named Elvis. His girls are Anita, Dolly, and Gladys. They are the cutest little bunch! They are tricky little escape artists and have had us chase them ALL AROUND THE PROPERTY! We work fast to get them back into their runs because hawks are always nearby. I just like to sit and watch them under the shade trees in the morning with my cup of coffee. They really are an entertaining bunch, living up to their names. They are laying small beautiful cream eggs. Since they are pets we are not sure that we will have them Certified Naturally Grown although they are partaking of the same delicious Certified Organic feed. The thing is, these girls love to hide their eggs! It is an egg hunt everyday and we just aren’t sure we can guarantee the highest quality of freshness of their eggs for the public. However we are using them for ourselves. They are the perfect size for pickled eggs. It has been a while since we dropped a recipe over on our recipe page but rest assure a pickled egg concoction is coming soon!

We finally got around to butchering Kong. I was a little sad. Our son took that task on while our daughter and I handled the remainder of the processing. This time went much smoother than the first time. It felt so good to put that meat in the freezer! We will continue to rotate through our flock as needed but we hope soon begin to grow birds exclusively for meat production for our family. Although I personally have ceased eating land dwelling animals I really would consider reintroducing it into my diet if there was a steady supply of home grown available. Again much planning is on the horizon in order to achieve that. Perhaps by 2023 we will be in a position to do so.

The End Of Summer Farmer’s Market Season

July marked the end of Summer Farmer’s Market season for us. Man it was extremely hot! Next Summer we plan to be a tad better prepared to deal with the heat. We are researching now some personal fan options as well as some battery powered options. SOMETHING has to give! While we were not able to attend the last scheduled market due to COVID exposure we still celebrated as a family. This season taught us so much about how to really use what we grow to help our own family and our community! While many of our cash crops for the Spring & Summer did fail we had an oddly successful year with herbs and flowers. Play the hand you’re given right? We thus learned more ways to use those to make spice blends, spiced sugars, infused vinegars, infused oils, and potpourri – all of which will be added to our shop page as we restock our supplies. We also used our herbs to craft homemade breads that were a real hit with the community! It makes a lady feel good to know her baking is enjoyed by others!

We have tossed the idea around about joining a market for the Fall but it is not too likely. Although no one in the family has outright said no, I can tell we are all just tired and need a break. If we decide to take on the markets for the Fall we will inform you where and when. Whether we attend markets this Fall or not we have big harvesting plans as you can see from the aforementioned planting list. If we do not attend markets you can purchase these items via our shop page individually or you may choice to get our farm sampler baskets.

Our Summer pumpkin harvest is being preserved this month for use in those Fall recipes we all love! And you know we are definitely going to craft some new ones. How about a pumpkin spiced flatbread or brioche bun? Oh – THAT IS HAPPENING! We are deadheading echinacea blossoms weekly for teas that will most definitely come in handy this cold and flu season! In addition we are making a final push to plant, harvest, and preserve as many herbs as possible to create more spice blends before the first frost is here! These make excellent gifts! No, these hands aren’t resting one bit!

Hoopty

We shared with you last month all our disappointments with our tomato crop in the high tunnel. I wish I could say it stopped there. This season has spiraled into one that will truly induce depression if I so choose to focus on all that has been lost. Currently the high tunnel is nearly empty. Roselle, long beans, strawberries, a few eggplants, and peppers remain. Grasshoppers decimated the okra. Thankfully they left the roselle and we should be able to harvest calyces soon. Long beans are just putting on flowers and beans. Is it fanciful thinking to think the grasshoppers will leave these for us? The good thing about the Hoopty being empty is that she can be prepped to receive Fall plantings and our last hope for tomatoes for the year. Our tomatoes that we started for Fall harvest are ready to be set out and we will be doing that this week. Among that planting will be broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, cabbage, collards and various herbs we need to stock up on the spice rack.

Learning From Failures

A lot of our crop failed this Summer. It is a fact that this Summer season is the worse one yet for our farm and at such a terrible time. Groceries are at an all time high and if you hadn’t noticed we are in fact in a recession. Our freezer will not be stocked as it was last year. There is no way around it – THIS IS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! However, we have learned so much in just these last 7 months. I subscribe to logic and logically if you learn and grow from failures then I steadfastly believe they do not have to be viewed as failures. Instead could it be training? If so, then the Spring & Summer 2022 growing seasons have been training sessions like no others for the Bain family farm. We have learned the ways of the ever developing farmer-gardener! There is no class to graduate from as we are always learning from God’s beautiful creation & from each other. We have learned to network among our fellow farmers. We have learned how to aggregate more goods from even a meager harvest and merchandise these to sustain our farm financially. These very items too have saved us money at the grocery store because we no longer have to buy what we have the skill and ability to make. We have learned to take what we have in abundance and use it in various ways to benefit us and our junior livestock. We have learned to use rabbit manure effectively. We have learned to feed our rabbits off the land we live on, understanding what is safe for their consumption and what will make them happy. We are improving butcher by butcher our technique of harvesting & processing our chickens. We have mastered turning their manure into useable compost that will feed our beautiful fruits and vegetables for a whole season. We have been reminded yet another year that for every step we take towards self sufficiency we have rich blessings from above amplifying our efforts. Even when these do not quite measure up to what we hoped today they are still more than we hoped for many yesterdays ago, before our eyes were opened to such a wonderful way of living. After praying it out, after crying it out, and talking it out with Mr. Bain Home Gardener this is my take away. If you have had a disappointing season as I know many have, take your training to your next season. Whether that be Fall for you or Spring of 2023 just take it with you and share it with someone else.


The Final Summer Market of 2022

We have thoroughly enjoyed the Summer Farmer’s Market season but it has come to an end. This Saturday will mark the final Summer Market for us with Poplar Head Farmers Market! Its been hard work. It’s been super hot! Despite it all we are really excited to have had this experience in getting back into the swing of Farmer’s Markets. Our family has really re-learned to work together in putting up and taking down, preparing, and selling. It really is a good team building exercise. In addition to that we have made new friends with our fellow growers and vendors! Let us introduce some of them to you here.

With just one more week left we are calling out to all of you who perhaps have not had a chance to visit yet to come on down! We want to see you – our community! After all isn’t that what these markets are all about!? We are celebrating the successful end to the season by offering all visitors to our table that spend $20 or more one free home delivery within the Dothan City limits. Coupon code will be emailed to you the following day and is redeemable to the end of 2022! Just what goodies can you expect to see?

  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Microgreens
  • Freshly baked bread
  • Spices
  • Herbs
  • Tea blends
  • Jams & jellies
  • Infused oils & more!

In addition to that we will have a FOR THE GARDEN section of the table that will include: Certified Naturally Grown eggshells, rabbit manure, Sunflowers, and Zinnias! If that isn’t enough incentive for you then come on out and see Shima and all her furry creations! This is the last week to snag her fur paws, tails and more while they are on sale! We look forward to seeing you this Saturday, July 23, 2022!


The Goings On – July 2022

Heeeey y’all! It’s a whole new month with whole new farming fun! Come along and let us give you the scoop!

New Farm Additions

Farm life is all about growth and that is exactly what we are doing! We’ve added 3 Olive Eggers & 3 Easter Eggers chicks. We are very excited to add these sweet girls to the BHG flocks! You may recall that in May our skilled brooder Shrill-x hatched out 4 chicks – 2 boys & 2 girls. They are growing so fast! The plan is to give these girls to one of those boys, Hope perhaps. We have named the 4 chicks as follows: Males – Hope & Joy; Females – Faith & Patience  all qualities we are developing day by day! These chicks will serve as a reminder to not give up in becoming better people.

In other chicken news we are unfortunately being forced to cull two of our original flock – the rooster (Kong) & his cohort at the top of the pecking order (Brownie). The two of them began eating eggs just as we got our eggs Certified Naturally Grown – THE NERVE!!! We have tried everything to stop this behavior but it’s continued. We separated Kong first but we were still not getting the amount of eggs we should so we knew that there was another culprit. Then we caught Browine yolked-beaked & yolk-footed! After seperating her as well the egg count returned to acceptable numbers minus Brownie’s eggs of course. We had planned to cull some of this flock anyway in the Fall so the sting isn’t quite as bad. However, in this time of uncertainty and inflation we are happy to add these birds to our freezer!

Well we did say farm “additions”. Here is the plural. Meet Sonny & Cher! These beautiful thoroughbred kits are only 10 weeks old pictured here. Huge right? Rightly so because they are Giant Chinchillas. Adults average upwards of 17 pounds!They are a beautiful addition to the BHG fertilizer crew! These two have the sweetest disposition! We got them from a local rabbitry. They really know what they are doing and we have learned so much from Lauranna the owner. Before the year is out we may have expansion completed on the farm to add 2 Flemish Giants. That would complete our rabbit wishlist!

This month we will have more additions to the farm but we can’t say what just yet. It’s a secret for now but we will be posting a video over on our YouTube channel. I am so stinking excited!!!

Disappointments

The extreme heat wave we had last month absolutely destroyed all of our tomatoes that were growing in Hoopty.  This is troubling since tomatoes are on demand at our home daily. I’ve accepted responsibility for not planting all greenhouse varieties. You can see me rant about that drama here. However, in speaking with other growers in our area we, have found that they also have had the same result in their high tunnels. Fortunately, we didn’t have a total loss as the tomatoes yielded well before giving into the heat. Some of these went to market, some we ate fresh, and the remainder went into the freezer until we can make time for a canning day. Thankfully since we have a long growing season we are able to start over. We have already started 4 more greenhouse varities and within the month they will be ready to be set out.

In other disappointing news are our tomato trials of Accordion, Pink Fang, & Gezahnte beautiful though they may be are not standing up well against the pest pressure in our area. We do belive the fight against the heat wave did weaken them so we are restarting a few of them as well.

Success

The 3 Sisters Garden plot really took off & was very successful for us! We yielded beautiful pumpkins & tasty corn. With this trial we’ve learned a lot! Summer squash didn’t do so well in this set up for us. While the pumpkins did. Our Blauhilde pole bean is too vigorous for the corn so we will try a different variety next time. There’s still a couple rows of corn left & a few pumpkins left to harvest before we pull everything and start leveling out the ground to prepare for building our simple greenhouse. This structure will serve as our seed starting & seedling storage space. We are still working on building plans. Mr. Bain Home Gardener has a lot of work ahead of him! I so appreciate & love this man. If you have a supportive man holding you down spiritually & emotionally, helping you reach your goals, and smiling while he walks the fire with you – TELL HIM & HOLD HIM TIGHT!

Waiting & Planting

We are patiently waiting the harvest of our sweet potatoes and other potato varities. We like to fertlize them once a month with bone meal. The OMRI Listed brand we prefer has become increasingly difficult to source. When we finally got our hands on some we decided to stock up! We have more potatoes to plant this month, garlic to plant before the year is out as well as onions – all of which require bone meal! Oh – & our last batch of tomatoes too! Supply issues are of serious concern now a days so if there is an product you use regularly in the garden or otherwise, stock up!

Fall Planting

This month will wrap up farmers market season for us and right in time too! We have to get ready for Fall! Fall planting is so important for us! Cauliflower, broccoli, collards, mustards, & the aforementioned all are started now for an Fall harvest and planted again in Fall for Spring! Having the freedom from the weekly markets will make it easier to get everything done. Hopefully our Fall will look slightly better than our Summer has.

So that is what’s going on over at Bain Home Gardens. We are off to get some farm chores done. Till next month…