Khaki Campbells, egg preservation and Henley’s Formulas

Pepper has started to lay! I was just looking in my diary after a trip to London, and realised  we had not had any eggs for 6 months, since Tahini was killed, and how unsustainable it is to keep ducks (fed on organic layers’ pellets) yet not to get any eggs for half the year.  Then I looked in their house and there were 5 eggs! She had laid every day since we went away. There’s another this morning, and she’ll almost certainly lay every day from now on, like a proper little egg-laying machine. There is a detailed record of Khaki Campbell egg production on The New Agrarian website, but I’ll count them myself this year. I counted them last year, but it was brought to an abrupt halt by Tahini’s death.

It’s so difficult to get the balance right. Really we need enough birds so that one death doesn’t render us eggless for months. But even 2 eggs a day is more than enough for us. Normally we sell some, but  it would be more use for us to preserve them. On the rare occasions we buy eggs we normally pay more than we sell them for. I was going to rub them in bees wax. I have now found some instructions for dipping them briefly in a mixture of bees wax and olive oil, so I’ll  give that a go, and also a recipe for using lime (I do like my lime).

These recipes come from an interesting looking book called Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes Vol.2 which, according to Chest of Books (where it can be read online in full), “This book is containing ten thousand selected household and workshop formulas, recipes, processes and money-saving methods for the practical use of manufacturers, mechanics, housekeepers and home workers.” It is an 800 page tome that refers to a curious mixture of natural ingredients, acids and petrochemical ingredients. Interesting reading that might well come in useful at some point.

Although I profess to prefer natural ingredients, I’m not in practice terribly pure about this. It has more to do with habit and willful blindness than anything. I use only unbleached flour for my bread, but I’ll eat any old pastry product. I cook 99% sugar free, but I eat Roses chocolates, sliced bread and loads of baked goods from Food For Thought. We always buy toothpaste, but making our own would be no harder than making mayonnaise. I eat Quorn, use WD40, Pritt glue and biro ink, although I know absolutely nothing about how these are produced. If I’m going to use dubious things I may as well source the raw materials and make them myself. I just need to assemble a good collection of pans and utensils that aren’t used for cooking dinner. And wear goggles.

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