Spurred on by travel plans less than a week away and 2 dozen eggs in the fridge, I finally got around to doing something I’ve been wanting to try for years.
These aren’t just ordinary chicken eggs!* You’re looking at a dozen gorgeous duck eggs from Featherstone Farms, and 10 lovely guinea eggs from Dragonfly Farms. I’ve mentioned before that we get our eggs from Featherstone Farms not far from home, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned our Dragonfly Farms meat share – that’s a whole separate blog post coming soon!
So what to do with this many eggs when you don’t want to eat them all or bake up a storm? Make Chinese salted duck eggs – and guinea eggs in this case! Guinea eggs are new to me but I think they taste just like chicken eggs.
Salted duck eggs are a way of preserving eggs by using brine, or as you’ll find in Chinese supermarkets, packing them in salted charcoal paste. They’re an acquired taste for some, but I’ve loved them since I was a little girl. Salted eggs can be used in a variety of ways – salted eggs with rice congee, salted egg yolk custard bun, steamed pork with salted eggs, salted eggs with prawns… you get the picture!
I was never really too sure about the ones sold in stores and as a result have not eaten any in a long time. Fortunately, with just a few ingredients – water, salt, szechuan peppercorns, star anise and Chinese cooking wine and a whole lot of patience – they can be made at home. I really don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.
I followed my aunt’s directions, and reviewed Christine’s recipe
- 1.5 cups rock salt (I used kosher salt)
- 8 cups of water (because of the number of eggs, I needed a big jar and more water)
- 2 star anise
- 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 12 eggs (they can be chicken eggs if you can’t find duck eggs)
Bring water to a boil, add salt, anise and peppercorns. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved, then let cool completely. The water may have turned a light brown from the peppercorns and star anise. In the meantime rinse eggs well, and put them into glass jar (make sure your jar has a tight fitting lid).
When the brine has completely cooled, pour it over the eggs. The eggs may float, so you need to weigh them down with something like a small dish, another recipe I read suggested using a plastic bag full of water on top of the eggs, whatever you choose, make sure it is food safe. The key is to have the eggs completely submerged in the brine. I used the plastic bag method for the picture below, but switched to a glass lid, with a small drinking glass of full of cool water to weigh it all down.
The next step is patience. Like 30-40 days worth of patience. Practice this patience while your salted egg jar sits in a cool place, out of direct light.
I’ve heard that when the eggs sink then they are ready, but whichever comes first – the 30 days or the sinking eggs – carefully take an egg out of your jar, cook it up and taste it. Not salty enough – practice more patience with the rest of the eggs.
If the eggs are salty enough (these eggs are usually very salty), take the eggs out of the brine, dry them with a clean cloth and store them in the fridge. Eggs will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
See you in a month soon-to-be salty eggs!
*No offense to chickens intended.