The Crunchiest Dill Pickles Ever!

016People have been eating pickles ever since the Mesopotamians started making them way back in 2400 B.C. The pickles popularity grew over the years with notable mention from many famous people.  Cleopatra claimed that they were the secret to her beautiful skin.  Christopher Columbus ensured that his shipmates had a pickle each day in order to fend off scurvy and Napoleon believed that a pickle a day helped ensure that his troops remained strong in battle.  And then there’s CITY BOY & his family who all love eating them on burgers, wraps, or just as a plain old snack (especially daughter).

The only problem with homemade dill pickles is that they become mushy over time.  Well…..I’m here to tell you that the days of limp pickles are definitely over for this City Boy.  No more droopy, floppy, or shriveled pickles are ever found on the shelf in this City Boy’s cantina.  My beloved wife now BOASTS about the firmness, crunch and look of her City Boy pickles every time she is caught with her hand in the pickle jar!

The reason that homemade pickles generally become mushy over time is that there is an enzyme on the flowering end of the cucumber that does not get destroyed during the canning process.  As a result, it breaks down the fibers in the cucumber over time and turns it into a soft & mushy pickle within 6 months.  We are still eating Dills from 2 years ago (I went a bit crazy on the canning that year) and they still have a good crunch.  The secret is a product up in Canada called Pickle Crisp by Bernardin (Canada’s answer to USA’s Ball).  Just 1/4 teaspoon in each quart jar will keep your pickles crisp for long past a year!

Ingredients: Yields 6 quart jars

5 lbs. pickling cucumbers

8 cups water

8 cups pickling vinegar

1 cup  pickling salt (Don’t use table salt.  It will cloud your brine and turn your pickles to an unpleasant color.)

Into each jar add:

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1 large garlic clove (sliced)

1 bunch dill

1/4 teaspoon “pickle crisp”

Directions:

001

Weigh, wash and gently scrub cucumbers.  Discard any that appear spoiled.

Fill your canner up with water about 2 inches higher than the height of your jars and bring the water to a boil.  This will take a bit of time.

Sterilize your jars in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit  for 10 minutes and continue to keep them warm in the oven until they are needed.004

Place canning seals and rings in a small pot and begin to warm them up.005

In the mean time, begin making your brine solution and bring it to a boil.

Carefully remove sterilized jars from the oven and add dill, garlic, mustard seed and pickle crisp to each jar.002

Firmly pack each jar with as many pickles as you can possibly fit into this space.  Look at it as a challenge because you don’t want those pickles to float up to the top of the jar.003

Once packed, pour the brine into each jar using a canning funnel, making sure to leave a 1/4″ head space in each jar.007

Wipe the lip of each jar with a wet paper towel.  This will ensure that no residue is left on the lip of the jar which will prevent a good seal.

Using tongs, place your seals and rings on each jar.

Using canning tongs, carefully place each sealed jar into the canner and process in boiling water for 15 minutes.025

Using the canning tongs, carefully remove each jar from the boiling water and leave to cool on a rack.

Soon you will hear the successful ping of each jar as it seals.  Now tuck those babies away in the cantina or cold cellar until the colder months when you’ll need a reminder of the summer!  If you can’t wait until then……just give 6 weeks to flavor!009

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How Do Bees Make Honey?

063Have you ever thought about how bees make honey?  The thought crossed my mind a while back and I didn’t have an accurate answer.   I figured that since I was going to become a beekeeper, than I’d better become educated in this process.

Step #1 The Need For Pollen and Nectar

Bees and blossoming plants need each other in order to survive.  Bees seek out flowers for their nectar and pollen and in return end up pollinating (fertilizing)  the flower as they transfer pollen grains from within each flower or from one flower to another.

In order for pollination to occur, pollen must be transferred from the stamen (male part of a plant) to the stigma (female part of the plant). When pollen from a plant’s stamen is transferred to that same plant’s stigma, it is called self-pollination. When pollen from a plant’s stamen is transferred to a different plant’s stigma, it is called cross-pollination. Anybody else feel like they just got teleported back to grade 5 science class?

But, this doesn’t tell us how the bees actually transfer the pollen grains from one part of the plant to the other?  Well…bees are pretty hairy and the pollen grains stick to the 100s of hairs on their bodies.  Some have even argued that bees actually carry an electrostatic charge which helps the pollen grains to stick to the hairs on their bodies. These grains attach and then come loose as the bee moves within each flower or from flower to flower. Thus, pollination  (reproduction) is completed.

But,  the bees also intentionally collect pollen from flowering plants.  It is this protein packed food which is used to nourish their larvae.  Believe it or not, they actually transport the pollen back to the hive by way of tiny baskets (scopas) that are attached to their rear legs.  No…I’m not joking!  Take a look at the picture below from one of my bees.  Do you see the yellow stuff on her back legs?  That’s pollen!  It’s a great sign for beekeepers because it signifies that the Queen is laying eggs which are developing into larvae who need to be fed. 055 - Copy

So, how do the bees get the nectar back to the hive?  Well, first they have to draw it up into their body by way of a giant tongue (proboscis) which remains rolled up (kinda like one of those party favors that you blew on as a kid) until it is need to extract nectar.  This tongue, when fully extended, is around 1/4″ long.  Considering that a honey bee is between 1/2″- 3/4″ long that makes for a freakishly long longue!  To make a comparison, a 6 foot human would have to have a tongue somewhere in the 2-3ft. range .  These bees make Gene Simmons trade mark tongue look like a joke!

Below is a picture of my bees drawing up some honey that I accidentally spilt while inspecting my hive.  Check out the length of the tongue on the bee who is hanging upside down in the rear of the picture.  And still, that tongue is not fully extended!078 - Copy

Once the bee begins drawing up nectar via its tongue, it is deposited into her “honey stomach”.  In fact, bees have two stomachs; their honey stomach which is like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach.  The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar.  When it is full, it weighs almost as much as the bee, herself. Now……That’s impressive!   Imagine picking up and carrying a load which is equal to your body weight?  But to make it even more outstanding……..we want you to fly to between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to gather that weight.       I don’t know about you, but I am TOTALLY impressed.

Step 2: Back At The Hive

Once the honeybees return to the hive, they  pass the nectar on to other worker bees.  These bees actually suck the nectar from the foraging bee’s honey stomach! This is definitely one bit of info. I’m not sharing with my kids.  If they ever found this one out, our honey consumption would drop to near zero!

The “transfer” bees then “chew” on the nectar which helps to break down the complex sugars into a digestible food source which can be stored indefinitely within the hive.  Incidentally, did you know that the honey which was found in King Tut’s tomb is still considered edible after 2000 years. Talk about a natural preservative!

The bees then deposit the nectar into the honeycombs where it continues to evaporates into a thicker syrup.  The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings.  Once the honey reaches a moisture content of around 18%, the bees seal off each cell of the honeycomb with some wax.  The honey is then stored until it is consumed by the colony.  Incidentally, did you know that honey bees need to store around 100 pounds of honey in order to survive the winter?  Talk about the ultimate Prepper! As for the honey that you and I eat?????  Well….that will have to wait for another post when I will show you how I took off some honey from my own hive.056 - Copy

Honey Bee Trivia: 

Did you know that one honey bee will only make about 1/12  teaspoon of honey in her entire six weeks of life?  Maybe I’ve been taking that teaspoon of honey for granted that goes into my tea each morning.  Considering the above calculation, I consume the entire life’s work of 12 bees in a few gulps of tea.

Cited Work:

1) http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/pollination.html

2) http://www.pa.msu.edu/sciencet/ask_st/073097.html

3) http://animal.discovery.com/insects/question300.htm

Bread & Butter Pickles

015From what I have read, Bread & Butter Pickles originated in the Great Depression.  Since times were tough and meat was a luxury, thrifty folks came up with tasty alternatives for sandwich fillers.  On of these alternatives was the cucumber.   This vegetable was easy to grow and was successfully pickled so that it could be enjoyed in the non-growing seasons.  So….maybe the name came about  something like this…… “Hey Ester, what are we havin’ for lunch?”, said Wilbur.  “Well, since you ain’t got no job and you lost the pig in that card game…….all’s I got in the cellar are some sweet pickles from last summer.   Be happy that you got two slices of bread and a bit of butter to go with it.  Now eat that pickle sandwich before I take this skillet to your head!”    “Mmmmmmmm, said Wilbur.  That’s a mighty tasty sandwich.”  “Hey Ester, whad’ you call these there pickles you got in this here sandwich?”……  “I don’t know, you old coot.  Call’em whatever you want”. Well, in that case, I’m gonna’ call “em Bread & Butter Pickles!”……….And that’s how these pickles got their name.  Well….that’s the story I’m sticking with!

These pickles are easy to make and follow the general canning guidelines of most pickles.

Makes 5 Pint (500ml) jars.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. pickling cucumbers

3 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup  pickling salt (Don’t use table salt.  It will cloud your liquid and turn your pickles to an unpleasant color.)

6 cups cold water

3 cups cider vinegar

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 tbsp.  mustard seed

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp.  turmeric

Directions:

001Weigh, wash and gently scrub all cucumbers.  Discard any cucumbers that appear spoiled.

002Cut approximately 1/4″ off of each end of the cucumber.  It is essential that you cut  the blossom end (not stem) because there is an enzyme at this end which will make your pickles turn mushy and possibly unsafe to eat.  The blossom end is located on the left side in the above picture.

Cut your cucumbers into 1/4″ slices and place them in a large bowl.

Thinly slice 3 onions and place them in the same bowl.

Add pickling salt to the water and stir until dissolved.  This make take a bit of stirring because the salt will not dissolve as readily in cold water.  Add the solution to your cucumbers and onions  and let it rest for 2 hours.  I occasionally give it a stir during this time period.004

With about a half an hour left of brining, fill your canner up with water about 2 inches higher than the height of your jars and bring the water to a boil.  This will take a bit of time.

Sterilize your jars in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit  for 10 minutes and continue to keep them warm in the oven until they are needed.003

Place canning seals and rings in a small pot and begin to warm them up.005

In the mean time, add brown sugar, cider vinegar and spices into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally.006

Once the 2 hours of brining is completed, drain the cucumbers and onions into a colander.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and rinse again.

Put the drained cucumber and onion mixture into your large simmering pot and bring the ingredients up to a boil.

Using a canning funnel, pack your mixture into your canning jars, leaving 1/2″ head space.  I found it easier to fill all the jars first with the “solids” and then distribute the liquid after.012

014  Using a non-metalic utensil, remove the air bubbles from the jar.  Add more liquid to the 1/2″ head space level if required.

Wipe the lip of each jar with a wet paper towel.  This will ensure that no residue is left on the lip of the jar which will prevent a good seal.

Using tongs, place your seals and rings on each jar.

Using canning tongs, carefully place each sealed jar into the canner and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.025

Using the canning tongs, carefully remove each jar from the boiling water and leave to cool on a rack.

Soon you will hear the successful ping of each jar as it seals.  Now tuck those babies away in the cantina or cold cellar until the colder months when you’ll need a reminder of the summer!  If you can’t wait until then……just give them a few days to flavor!023

Keeping Your Chickens Cool In The Summer

069Summer……….  A time to hopefully slow down, take a vacation and BEAT THE HEAT!  As I say to most people, I like the summer when there is no humidity.  Unfortunately, many summer days are accompanied by high humidity in Southern Ontario.  On those days, it’s hard to want to do much more than stay in the house where the air conditioner keeps us cool.

For the chickens…….it’s a whole other story.  Imagine someone telling you to go outside in 90 degree heat, continue your daily routine AND WEAR A DOWN COAT that must cover you from head to toe.  Oh…I forgot to mention…lay an egg while you’re at it!  Whew… I’m getting hot just thinking about it.

So….here’s a few tell-tale signs to let you know that your chickens are getting over-heated.   When you see them walking or resting with their wings spread out, you know they are hot.   When you see them this way, they are trying to expel some body heat from  underneath their wings.  This is definitely a place where heat collects on a chicken. If you don’t believe me, stick you hand under the wing next winter and feel how toasty that spot is on a chicken.

Secondly, they will continue to keep their mouth open as another way to dispel heat.  It’s kind of like the way a dog  pants when he/she becomes too hot.  Below is a picture of Swiffer who is definitely hot.  She has found a spot on the deck where she is attempting to cool off underneath a deck chair.

Holy @$#! It's HOT

Holy @$#! it’s HOT

So here’s a few things you can do to make your chickens more comfortable during the dog days of summer.

1)  Make sure that they remain hydrated by providing lots of fresh water.  You may be surprised at how much water they will drink on a very warm day.  The volume can almost double on such days.001

2)  Make sure they have somewhere to go in order to get out of the sun.  Our backyard has plenty of shade from large trees and the hens spend a lot of their free ranging time in this location on those days.001

3)  Substitute daily vegetable treats with some watermelon.   But, remember….the treat is only a supplement to the daily feed.  Too many treats and the egg count could go down.  As well, too much watermelon and you may have a chicken that gets the trots.  In the picture below, my hens breezed through the watermelon wedge in a few minutes.015

018

4)  Withhold from giving any scratch on hot days.  On most mornings, I like to throw some scratch into the run because the hens do not have the opportunity to free range.  This thing called work  gets in the way. Anyways,   the scratch allows the chickens to do some foraging throughout the day.   But, scratch is high in calories and has the effect of increasing internal body temperature.  Hence, it is great to use on winter mornings and evenings to help your hens stay warm, but it is not a good option for hot days.

5)  Head up to the cottage for some R&R.  You’ll continue to get fresh eggs and the hens will get the chance to hit the beach.  What????  What else am I suppose to do with them?   Leave them behind????  For more on taking your chickens on vacation, click HERE.050

071

6)  Finally, when the wife isn’t home……..let the girls in for a little free ranging in the comfort of your air-conditioned home!  Before you know it, they’ll be up on the couch consoling you as you watch  The Blue Jays blow another attempt at The Division Championship..  Ok……I was just joking about the chickens in the house.   ” I promise Hun, the chickens have never been in the house! I was just writing this for dramatic effect.  You know…..A great way to keep your reader interested…………………….  I know there was that time when Stanley (our dog) managed to open the screen door by himself …but I’m working on training him to close it!”.001

City Boy Honey Update

“Ladies and Gentlemen………I give you…THE QUEEN!”…………068“Alright….Who said where?????”.  Okay…once more from the top.  “Ladies and Gentlemen….it is with great pleasure that I give you….THE QUEEN!”069“Okay….. you win.  There…I circled her!  She’s the one that is much larger, darker and has the shortest wings. She’s a looker ain’t she!   Now…let’s  get on with the post.”069

It’s been a while since I wrote about City Boy Honey.  In my last honey post (click here), my hive was built and I was just waiting for Dan (my bee mentor) to order my Queen.  For those of you who are familiar with bee keeping, you are definitely thinking that we are really late in the season to introduce a queen.  In fact, we are now in the midst of the Honey Flow as many wildflowers are  in bloom in Northern Ontario.  This is the time when the bees are really bringing in the honey. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not too interested in giving up her arsenal of frost and cold temperatures in May and many professional beekeepers beat us to the Queen supply due to their devastating hive losses this past Winter.  As a result, local Queens were hard to come by this Spring.

With that said, the Queen arrived last week and she was placed into my hive body (bottom box) along with 100s of bees and 9 frames that were taken from one of Dan’s really strong hives. 058 These frames are made up of a combination of comb that is already made and filled with nectar or brood (baby bees).  This will really help to give the hive a jump-start because a lot of work has already been done from the bees in Dan’s strong hive.

Drawn out comb filled with nectar or brood.

Drawn out comb filled with nectar (red circles) or brood (yellow circles).

Is it wrong to take from Dan’s strong hive?  The answer is no.  In fact it is good because Dan’s strong hive could potentially swarm because it was running out of room.

So…today we put a second hive body on my hive which contained 9 frames.  7 of those already have built up comb.  The built up comb will really help the bees because they will be able to concentrate on bringing in honey and tending to the brood rather than also having to make the honey comb.  The second hive body will also give the Queen more room to lay her eggs which will continue to increase the population of the hive.

In two weeks, I’ll get back to you on the bees.  The hope is that the bees have filled the frames in the second hive body with honey and brood.  The tell-tale sign for this will be to open the hive and see if the bees are “working” on all the frames just as they are doing in the first hive body.063  If all goes well,  a medium super (smaller box) will then be put on top of the hive body which will be strictly used for the bees to deposit  CITY BOY HONEY! In the mean time……we’ll just wait it out…….. sipping some honey cream ale from a local Northern brewery and trying to beat the heat!070Queen Honey Bee Trivia:

Did you know that one Queen can lay between 1000-2000 eggs per day?

I thought of telling my wife this when she speaks about the delivery of our kids.   On second thought, maybe I’ll keep this one between you & me!

Bigger Is Not Always Better: Some Advice From The Manager

Rosie's first day at City Boy Hens

Rosie’s first day at City Boy Hens

OK Rosie…. We need to talk!

There is no need to impress me further.  I am aware that you were a late addition to City Boy Hens and that you received extensive bullying from Swiffer during the first month when you were forced into the flock last November, but…. you gotta stop laying those EXTRA LARGE EGGS!    It’s getting to the point where I can’t even close the egg carton because those eggs are sooooooooooo big.  Not to mention the fact that I can’t even fit a dozen eggs in the carton because your eggs take up most of the space where Honda’s or Swiffer’s eggs are suppose to go.012

Listen…….I know you are a champ and I’m very proud of your daily accomplishment, but it’s got to the point where I have to find a separate area in the fridge just to house YOUR EGGS!  This is becoming a pain in the butt, especially on grocery day when fridge space is at a premium.

Secondly,  I’m getting tired of having to explain to the neighbors why your eggs are so much bigger.  I’m sure you are reveling in your daily accomplishments, but you should remember how it was going for you last November when Swiffer was pecking the crap out of you.  As I’ve told you before, that hen is not playing with a full deck, she lays the smallest egg, and you might want to stop rocking the boat!

Don’t get me wrong……..I’m proud of the fact that you have never taken a day off since last November.  I’d also be lying if I said that I am not impressed when I come out in the morning to collect your egg.  I know you hear my “Wows” & “Holy S**Ts” when I get your egg, but this favoritism has to stop.  From now on, I’m not going to view your accomplishments with any more interest than I do for the other hens.015

I also hope that you are not doing this in order to impress Honda with the hope that you’ll move into the #2 hen position.  You know that you are number 3 in the batting order and that’s never gonna change.  You also need to come to terms with the fact that Swiffer is always going to be psycho, no matter how much help she gets.  Don’t keep tickin’ her off!  It’s bad enough that you are not TOTALLY accepted by the tribe.  You’re only gonna’ make it harder on yourself.

Up on the deck.

Banished to the back!

So…. maybe drop the egg size down to a large, give yourself a little rest and try flying under the radar for a while.

Maybe then there won’t be so much jealousy in the hen-house.

Yours truly,

The Manager

City Boy Hens….. & Honey???

023

City Boy Hens & Honey ….It’s gotta nice ring to it.

Over the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about honey.  It all started with a bottle of honey that ended up in our house because my daughter wanted it on her morning pancakes.  I then began using it as a sweetener in my tea.  And then…..I started thinking.

As my wife will testify, thinking & me can become a dangerous obsessive combination which generally leads to something new.

Well…..I’m happy to report that this city boy is movin’ into the honey business.  It might be a bit premature, but I want to tell you how I got to this point.  The desire to make honey (well.. I’m not really makin’ it..the bees will) is no different from my desire to make lots of other foods from yesteryear.  Like all the other stuff, it has the right combination of interest, technique and loads of knowledge that fits right up my alley.

In my initial investigation, I thought that maybe I could co-op into one of the various hives that are maintained by a local honey bee association in our city.  That idea hit the skids when I found out that there is a long waiting list and I’d have to do a lot of volunteer hours for a little bit of honey.  Not to mention that the majority of those hours would have to be given in the summer when I want to be at the cottage.

At first, I thought that was the end of City Boy Honey, but then I started thinking in broader terms that could potentially fit into  my desire to harvest this golden nectar.  What about if I partnered with someone else like a local farmer who was willing to share the responsibilities with me?  Then I shot that one down when I realized that I’d have to leave my summer sanctuary in order to harvest the honey in late summer and I’d never get the chance to see how the bees were progressing through the summer.   Then…..I remembered Dan!024

Dan is a local farmer near our cottage who sells antiques and boards horses.  I have known him for around 8 years and I have lovingly restored some of the pieces that I have bought from him over these years.  But best of all….DAN KEEPS BEES!!!!!

I called him about 3 seconds after I remembered this and asked him if he would be willing to share a hive with me.  I am delighted to say that Dan is also excited to join in this venture with me.  For him, it’s really an opportunity to share his knowledge with a Newby.  As I have said before, you meet great people in your discoveries who generally want to share their interests.

Well, off I went up to the cottage for the weekend and arranged to meet with Dan on Saturday.  This Spring is really late up North.  In fact, the ice just went out of our lake on Saturday.011 As a result, Dan’s hives are still wrapped up from the Winter and it wasn’t until the sun came out that the bees began pouring out of one of the hives, which is ALWAYS a great sign after a long winter.033  Unfortunately, 2 of the hives did not survive the Winter.  From what I have read, this seems to be the norm for this year.

As I close this post, I am sipping on a hot cup of tea that is sweetened with Dan’s honey.  If all goes well, I’ll be tasting some of my own honey by the end of August.  In the mean time, I’ll keep you up to date with what I am learning in the wonderful world of the apiary.

Making Salami

018I have waited patiently over the last 4 weeks to taste the salami that Mike and I made 4 long weeks ago.  During the last 4 weeks, I have nurtured those “babies” in my cantina; making sure to provide the correct temperature and humidity that will create the right environment for curing these delicious insaccati treats.  Well…the tasting time arrived last night and I am proud to say….. “Home run!”

Week 4  8C  72RH

Week 4

It was definitely worth the wait and effort.  A big thank you to Don for all his patience in my emails during the last month.  As you fellow bloggers have discovered, we meet great people on our road to success.  Don, you were a great source of knowledge to me and I am grateful for your help.  I hope you take me up on the offer of a dozen fresh eggs from the “girls”.

If you would like a detailed explanation for making City Boy Salami click HERE.

Well….I can now tick off salami from my list of foods I want to make!  Maybe next year, we’ll try our hands at capicola or prosciutto.  Until then, I look forward to sharing these delicious treats with family and friends, over a glass of wine with some cheese and homemade olives.   Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how you made out with this great tradition from our past.

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Crescia – The Easter Bread from Le Marche

074My Family came to Canada in 1913 from the town of Pesaro in the Province of Le Marche, Italy.  Over the years, traditions were lost or no longer practiced as my ancestors blended more into the Canadian fabric.  But,  Crescia has always survive the test of time and it has now been alive and well for 4 generations in our Canadian family.  I’m sure it’s not the same as the one my great-grandmother (Bisnonna Laura) made, but I hope it’s a close resemblance.

Crescia is a vastly different bread, depending on the region of its origins.  It can be as thin as focaccia or as high as the crescia that originated in Pesaro. The later is the one that my Family has made for generations, though it was denser and did not rise as high as the one that I make. But, it is similar in its signature ingredients of eggs, pepper and cheese.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Easter breads are so laden with eggs. As you backyard chicken owners know, heritage breed hens take a break from laying eggs during the Winter and resume their production in the Spring which happens to coincide with Easter.   As well, eggs, cheese, meat and olive oil were historically omitted from the diet in Italy during the period of Lent so everyone must have been “chompin’ at the bit” to return to these foods after those 40 bland days!

As I write this post, the scent of baking crescia fills the air!  It reminds me of my ancestors who came to this great country over 100 years ago.  Times were a lot harden then, but they were also flavoured with great  traditions which always revolved around food.  Unfortunately, a lot of those great traditions have been lost or misplaced in our progression to a busier life. 

I’m not sure if we have made a good trade.  Perhaps, it’s worth “stepping back” now and then and carrying on some of those great traditions that remind us of roots and the journey that has brought us to today!

I hope I “did you proud” Bisnonna Laura…..Buona Pasqua!

If you would like to make crescia, check out my page https://cityboyhens.com/food/crescia-the-easter-bread-from-le-marche/

Drop me a line and let me know how you made out!

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A Double Yolk Egg

A great way to start each day!

A great way to start each day!

I never get tired of walking out to the coop to collect eggs.  It still amazes me that a chicken can create this incredible work of art every day and wrap this “gift” in its own protective packaging.  To my knowledge, no other earthly creature has the ability to do this.

And, as if I wasn’t impressed enough, “the girls” have occasionally set the bar a lot higher by creating double yolk eggs.

Double yolks generally only occur during the first few months when a young pullet begins to lay eggs.   At this time, her reproductive system is not quite “firing on every cylinder” and two ovaries occasionally join up to create one egg.  I would think that this is a painful lesson because the eggs are huge.  With that said, you will have no trouble identifying a double yolk egg before you crack it open.  You may even have difficulty getting it to fit into your egg carton!

Ouch!

Ouch!

Two for One!

Two for One!

I haven’t receive a double yolk egg in the last few months and I don’t suspect that I’ll get another.  “Ladies”, I’m content to receive your daily offering of single yolk eggs.  There’s no need to impress me further!