Ebelskivers (Danish Pancakes)

Last week, I was rummaging around in the cupboard and found a forgotten gem hidden in the back: an ebelskiver pan.

turn_them_carefully

I first fell in love with these little Danish pancake balls during a snow day in the second grade. My mom made them, stuffed with spiced apples, and my friend and I inhaled the entire batch before heading out to play in the snow. On our first toboggan run, fortified by all that flour and sugar, we set a new distance record — and went sailing right though the wooden snow fence at the bottom of the hill. It was our only run of the day. Minutes later we were in the car, creeping over snow-packed roads to get my friend’s forehead stitched up.

Whether it was the trauma of the sledding incident, or just that we ate all the ebelskivers before she got a chance to try any, Mom didn’t make ebelskivers for us again and eventually gifted me the pan. And then I forgot about them too, until last week.

fold_whites_into_batter

ebelskivers_on_plate

Ebelskivers can be made plain, like little pancake popovers, or filled with pretty much anything. I used chopped spiced apples, plus a variety of homemade preserves — raspberry, chokecherry, and plum butter. Generally speaking, the thicker the filling, the better the result. The unanimous favorite was the plum butter I made a few seasons ago (and meant to recreate for you this past summer, but then there were no plums to be found anywhere.) Chokecherry jelly was a close second.

add_batter_to_cover_filling

Browsing around on the internet, I found a lot of instructions involving knitting needles and metal chopsticks. Some say the proper way to make ebelskivers is to stick a pointy object (gently!) through the batter and turn them gradually to make a perfect ball. I didn’t think this would end very well for me and my jam-filled morsels, and didn’t bother to try it. Instead, I found it easiest to run a butter knife underneath the ebelskiver, then quickly flip it over and tuck the uncooked side into the well with my fingers.

plum_ebelskivers

And really, once you’ve tried these tender little pancake bites you won’t care about the proper technique, or burned fingers, or even that these are slightly more fussy and time-consuming than their flat relatives. Now that I’ve become reacquainted with my favorite snow-day breakfast, ebelskivers will be making an appearance during every blizzard, brunch, and holiday in my house.

plum_filling

Ebelskivers (Danish Pancakes)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: About 21 ebelskivers

Ebelskivers (Danish Pancakes)

These traditional Danish pancakes are perfect for a snow day or lazy weekend brunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (plus additional for greasing pan)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • Preserves or chopped apples for filling (about 1/2 cup)
  • Special Equipment:
  • Ebelskiver pan

Instructions

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
  2. In a metal mixer bowl, beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
  3. Whisk sugar, egg yolks, milk, and butter together in a large bowl.
  4. Sift dry ingredients over wet and whisk until just combined (batter will still be lumpy). Fold in egg whites.
  5. Heat ebelskiver pan with about 1/4 teaspoon butter in each well until bubbly. Add 1 tablespoon batter to each well, then add 1 teaspoon of filling. Add batter to cover filling.
  6. Cook over low-medium heat until edges are set and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. With a knife or metal chopstick, gently turn the ebelskivers over and tuck them upside down into the wells to cook the other side.
  7. Cook until both sides are browned, about 4 more minutes. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

Notes

Ebelskivers may be kept in the oven on warm until the whole batch is cooked, but they're best straight out of the pan.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/ebelskivers-danish-pancakes/

Chocolate Covered Mints

homemade_junior_mints

I’ve always been a fan of soft, chocolate-covered mints — Junior Mints, Peppermint Patties, I love them all equally but don’t much venture into the candy aisle these days. However, they’ve been lurking in the back of my brain’s “to make” file for years now. I finally caved when, during a night of Christmas baking, I realized that I had TWO bottles of good quality peppermint extract taking up space in my cupboard.

Dip_in_melted_chocolate

I turned to two of my favorite cookbooks for inspiration. Both were in agreement on the basic proportions, except for the most important flavor — one recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract to 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, and the other a full tablespoon per 2 cups of sugar (for the record, the latter also says you can use peppermint oil but I haven’t tried it). I settled for 1/2 tablespoon of extract and found it to be perfectly minty.

humble_ingredients

Just ignore that corn syrup lurking behind the more wholesome ingredients.

I generally avoid corn syrup, but this is one of a few cases where I use it in a recipe because there wasn’t a reliable substitute available (and hey, it’s only a tablespoon). I considered trying a batch with honey instead, since it’s hygroscopic like corn syrup, but thought it might change the color and flavor too much (if you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!). However, I did have excellent luck replacing the shortening in the original recipes with extra-virgin coconut oil. That counts for something, right?

scraping_the_bowl

heart_shaped_patties_not_recommended

For my trial run, I tried to make patties with a little heart-shaped cookie cutter but their shape didn’t hold up well during a brief trip through melted chocolate (a 1″ round might work better). I soon realized I couldn’t eat the entire batch in the name of quality control, and moved on to Plan B — rolling each heart into a little ball. They were much easier to coat in chocolate, if not as cute.

fresh_minty_balls

The finished candy can be stored in the fridge or freezer, layered between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container. I recommend storing them near the back, where they won’t be as visible.

layer_in_airtight_container_and_hide

Chocolate Covered Mints

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: About 25 bite-sized mints

Chocolate Covered Mints

Cool, creamy and refreshing. These homemade treats are like Junior Mints or Peppermint Patties, but way better than anything you'll find in the candy aisle.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups powdered confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality dark chocolate chips or pieces

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine sugar, salt, corn syrup, oil, peppermint extract, and water. Form a workable dough using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, or kneading by hand, adding a bit of extra water if necessary.
  2. If making balls, a metal measuring spoon works well to divvy up the dough (I used 1/4 tsp). Roll pieces of dough into balls by hand and put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 2 hours. If making patties, place the dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll out to about 1/4 or 1/2 inch thickness, then freeze for 30-60 minutes before cutting out the patties. Place cutouts on a cookie sheet to freeze for at least 2 hours.
  3. Heat chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely-simmering water until it melts, let it cool to about 80F, and then heat it once again -- this tempers the chocolate and gives you a nice shiny coating on your candy.
  4. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes, then take the mint centers out of the freezer a few at a time. Use a fork to quickly roll them in the chocolate, then tap off the excess and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Freeze until hard, then give the cookie sheet a shake to release the mints. Some may stick and lose pieces of their chocolate shell, you can just reheat the leftover chocolate and patch them (or better yet, eat them immediately).
  5. Store mints between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving, or enjoy them frozen.

Notes

Adapted from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It (by Karen Solomon) and Gourmet.

http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/chocolate-covered-mints/

Blackout fare: Herb salad with prosciutto and pine nuts, plus a perfect pan-seared steak.

feeder_frenzy

My sister and I moved into the old farmhouse during a particularly snowy March. With miles of huge old cottonwood trees shading the lines between our neighborhood and the rural electric company that serves us, we had a lot of power outages that spring.

But as soon as we bought a portable generator, Colorado experienced two of the driest years on record. We didn’t use the generator at all, other than starting it up periodically to keep it in working order.

But last spring, we got a few decent snowstorms and the generator started earning its prime spot in the shed. And then the flood happened, and our trusty generator kept us running for a full 3 days. Internet, sump pump, fridge, phones, and incubator — without backup power, it would have been so much worse.

And now, I can start the generator in my sleep. Gone are the days of nervously re-reading the instruction manual by the light of my headlamp before I pull the cord. We’re friends now, the generator and I.

Generator

Fortunately, I also have a gas stove and plenty of matches at my disposal. So once the the essentials are hooked up to power again, I always head for the comfort of my kitchen.

cooking_by_candlelight

I love cooking during a blackout, with only the glow of candlelight (ok, and my headlamp) to light my way. Somehow, the food always tastes better.

Last time, it was a couple of beautiful grass-fed steaks from Windsor Dairy. So in honor of the oncoming winter and the end of grilling season, today I bring you my tips for a perfectly pan-seared steak (and one of my favorite salads). It’s a meal best made by candlelight.

blackout_steaks

For a perfectly seared piece of meat, use a heavy pan (cast iron is best). Throw in some fat, like butter or bacon grease, and get it really hot but not smoking. Make sure you leave plenty of room around each piece of meat as you put it in the pan, so it can brown. Then, don’t touch it.

Seriously, just leave it alone. I know how tempting it can be to peek; I’ve ruined many nice cuts of meat this way. You have a mouthwatering steak sizzling in the pan, and even though the recipe says to cook on high heat for 5 minutes each side, it sounds like it’s burning. Sure enough, when you try to look it sticks to the pan, and then you panic and end up with a mangled piece of meat that’s barely even lost its pink. And it’s now it’s never going to brown.

If you think it’s time to flip whatever you’re browning, grab the sides with a pair of tongs and –very gently– try to jiggle it. If it doesn’t move easily, it’s not ready to be turned yet. Sticking to the pan is part of the process as the meat starts to cook. As long as you’ve greased your pan sufficiently, the meat will lift up as it browns and you’ll be able to turn it without leaving half of it on the pan.

Instead of trying to peek at that steak, pour yourself a glass of wine, be patient, and listen to the noises it makes as it cooks. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize the difference in sound (and smell) when it starts to brown.

Then, let it rest. When you cut into a juicy piece of meat as soon as you take it off the heat, the liquids bubble out onto the plate and you’re left with a dry, disappointing mess. But if you let it rest for 10-15 minutes (or 20-25, for larger cuts like roasts), the juices will settle back into the meat instead of running all over the plate.

steaks_resting_by_candlelight

While the steaks rested under a loose covering of tinfoil, I pulled out some leftover salad ingredients from the night before. Toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, chewy prosciutto, and nutty grated parmesan melting together under a warm balsamic dressing. Add some crusty bread, and the best steaks I’ve ever cooked, and it was almost a shame when the lights flickered back on.

prosciutto_salad

So bring on the snow and the wind (mostly snow, please). I’m ready.

snow_and_blue_skies

Fresh herb salad with prosciutto and toasted pine nuts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Fresh herb salad with prosciutto and toasted pine nuts

adapted from Colorado Collage

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh italian parsley leaves, pulled off the stem
  • 4 green onions
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto
  • For the dressing:
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    Toast the pine nuts:
  1. Set oven to 325F and spread pine nuts in a glass baking dish. Place pine nuts in oven as it preheats and set a timer for 4 minutes.
  2. When your timer goes off, stir pine nuts and continue checking them for 1-minute increments until they begin to turn golden brown and fragrant, then set them aside to cool.
  3. Make the salad:
  4. Wash greens, basil, and parsley and place in a towel to dry.
  5. Rinse green onions, peeling off any wilted outer layers, and slice thinly (both green and white parts.)
  6. Cut prosciutto into bite size squares.
  7. Make the dressing:
  8. Peel garlic cloves and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  9. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over very low heat.
  10. Add garlic and cook until barely browned, about 8 minutes.
  11. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; discard.
  12. Add balsamic and red wine vinegar.
  13. Increase heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes.
  14. Add brown sugar -- careful, the dressing will splatter.
  15. Cook 1 minute and taste for sweet-tart balance -- stir in additional sugar or vinegar as desired. If it still tastes too sharp, simmer for a minute or two longer.
  16. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  17. Put it together:
  18. Arrange greens and herbs in individual bowls and scatter pine nuts, prosciutto and parmesan on top.
  19. Drizzle a few teaspoons of dressing over each bowl.
  20. Serve immediately and pass additional dressing.
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/blackout-fare/

The Flood

Apologies for the long lag between posts. I had so many plans for this fall — posts about preserves, my favorite autumn dishes, and lots of photos to celebrate my favorite time of year.

Instead, the joy of harvest season came to an abrupt end when Colorado experienced a 500-year flood last month, washing away our pepper patch and all of my spare time.

flooded_peppers

But we were very, very lucky. Some of our neighbors lost everything, but our house was on a small island with the river flowing around us. The water didn’t make it past our garden, and I evacuated the August hatchlings from the chicken coop before it filled with knee-deep water, so we didn’t have any immediate losses from the flood.

the_creek_is_now_a_river

But the past several weeks have been rough, with sleepless nights, plenty of manual labor, and far too much time spent dealing with flooded belongings and malfunctioning sump pumps. And though it’s not over yet, our cellar is finally drying out.

waters_receding_and_a_rainbow

It’s been a sad but necessary thing to let the site lie fallow as I struggle to keep my head above water. But as I get a little more breathing room, I’ll be getting back in front of the stove and behind the camera. And I can’t wait.

Green Chile Bread Pudding (+ an update on the chickens)

getting_their_wings

After a busy weekend, I looked at the chicks and realized they’re getting their wing feathers already. They’re nearly a week old now, and they’ve also mastered scratching in their feeder and in the clumps of grass I put in the brooder; seconds after I place them in the freshly cleaned box it’s trashed again.

6_day_old_chicks_trashing_the_brooder

They’re adorable though, and all eight appear to be thriving and will shortly be moved to their private quarters in the chicken coop. And then this Saturday, incubator #2 is due to hatch so we hope to have a few more joining the fun.

welsummer_egg_hatching

welsummerXfaverolles_just_hatched

The big chickens have also been going through a lot of changes this week. We found our first tiny pullet egg this week, and the rest of the girls from our April hatch should start laying anytime. And of course, the young roosters found their voices and started trying to put the moves on the ladies. It’s been an awkward few weeks, steeped in rejection, frequent ambushes, and plenty of dominance battles. Visiting the coop was like being in middle school again.

Ideally, the ratio should be 10 hens for every rooster. And as the boys matured, I learned firsthand that chickens aren’t meant to live in equal numbers. Our once-harmonious flock grew edgy and out of balance as the hormones kicked in, and we knew it was time.

With this flock, we planned from the start to harvest all but one of the boys. And so on Saturday morning, we followed through and butchered nine beautiful roosters. It was hard and sad work, but ultimately gratifying to see an entire shelf full of meat that we raised with care, from egg to freezer. Most roosters never even have a chance at life, they’re just an unfortunate byproduct of egg production — for each of the 18 female chicks we’ve purchased from hatcheries, a male chick was sent off to a rendering plant.

And so I think it’s more ethical to hatch my own laying hens and raise the roosters for the freezer, because I can ensure they’re well cared for and treated with respect. Even so, I get the occasional comment to the effect of “I wouldn’t kill a good looking rooster like that, send him to a nice farm!” (Actually, I’m pretty sure we are that farm). Butchering is bloody, brutal work to be sure, but I consider myself fortunate to be part of the process and know that my birds are treated with respect — really, I feel like I had more blood on my hands back when I was buying factory-produced chicken and eggs without acknowledging the source.

Butchering includes several steps, and as novices with nine roosters, my sister and I had our work cut out for us. Fortunately, our wonderful neighbor came over to help and even recruited her three houseguests to join us — maybe not what they were expecting on vacation, but they were excellent sports.

With six people on the line, the work passed quickly and the emotional burden felt a bit lighter too (or at least, having other people around helped me keep the water works under control). After just a few hours, we were all freshly showered and drinking a champagne toast to the boys, who were cleaned and chilling in the fridge.

I put brunch together the night before, since the kitchen would be devoted to packaging chickens and I doubted I’d feel like cooking afterwards. This dish is one of my go-tos when I’m having people over, because all I have to do in the morning is pop the pan in the oven. It’s usually improvised in my house, sometimes with bacon, sometimes with jalapeños, always with cheese — so just think of this recipe as a template for your own creation.

Green Chile Bread Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Green Chile Bread Pudding

A perfect dish for those days where you've promised someone you'll feed them brunch, but really want to sleep in.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium loaf of crusty bread, about 300 grams
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite green chile sauce, or roasted and peeled anaheims, or a small can of diced Hatch chiles
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 slices bacon (optional but highly recommended)

Instructions

  1. Cut bread into chunks about 1" thick and arrange in a 13x9 glass baking dish.
  2. Beat eggs with milk, and whisk in salt, chiles, half of the cheese, and bacon (if using).
  3. Pour egg mixture over bread and press down on the pieces to coat them.
  4. Sprinkle remaining cheese across the top and cover; refrigerate at least 8 hours (and up to 24).
  5. In the morning, let the dish come up to room temperature on the counter (about an hour) then bake in the middle a 350 degree oven until the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/green-chile-bread-pudding-an-update-on-the-chickens/

 

Day 20: First pip! (and how to follow the hatch)

firstPip#18

It’s happening! After 20 days of waiting, we got our first pip at about 10 this morning, and I’m starting to hear a lot of muffled peeping from the incubator as I type this. It could be another 24 hours before this chick hatches, or things could progress fairly quickly like they did last time.

first_chick

The first chick from the April hatch, who popped out much faster than expected

If you’re on Facebook, like The Homegrown Gourmet to receive the latest updates as they happen. If not, you can still read our recent posts in the column to your right. And of course, you can watch the live video stream from the incubator here!*

*To view on mobile devices, download the (free) Ustream app and search for “fall chicken hatch due 8-21-13”

Thanks for hatching with us!

Quick Pickled Green Beans

beans_spices_and_garlic_oh_my

This year, we have so many green beans (and purple, and yellow) that it’s a little hard to keep up. Between a 4′ x 4′ plot of bush beans and a couple trellises of climbing beans, I’m lugging a big basket of pods into the house every morning.

stages_of_bean_development

And when I find myself staring at a pile of fresh beans that I don’t feel like blanching and sealing for the freezer, I turn to the easiest possible method of preserving them, quick pickled green beans:

pack_raw_beans_in_jars_with_spices

Note that these pickled green beans are not the standard hot-processed “Dilly Beans,” which I’ve tried to embrace on many occasions but always found limp and aggressively vinegary. These beans are another story altogether. I included instructions for hot-processing these as well, if you feel you must, but I almost never bother canning my beans.

Quick pickles are great for two reasons: First, they aren’t all limp like their boiled counterparts. And more importantly, they couldn’t be easier. Just cram your vegetables and some spices into a jar, add vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio, and pop it in the fridge. They don’t keep for years like hot-processed pickles, but once you taste them they won’t be sticking around longer than a month anyway.

Quick Pickled Green Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 3 quarts

Quick Pickled Green Beans

Delicious, crunchy, and perfect alongside a Bloody Mary (or a sandwich).

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds green beans, stems intact, washed and dried
  • 9 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • 6 tablespoons dill seeds
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 9 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
  • a handful of washed fresh grape leaves (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pack green beans evenly into quart-sized jars, along with garlic, salt, spices, and grape leaves if using.
  2. Fill jars halfway with white vinegar, then top off with cool filtered water.
  3. Put lids on jars and flip upside down for a few minutes to distribute the spices.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3 days to develop flavors. Pickles will be at their prime in 2 weeks, and will last up to a month.
  5. To can:
  6. Heat vinegar, water, and salt to a boil first, and pour over beans and spices in sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, adding time for altitude (I process for 15 minutes here at 6,000 feet).

Notes

Adapted from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.

http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/quick-pickled-green-beans/

Pisco Lemonade

pisco_lemonade_with_tarragon

Sorry for the lack of recipe posts, you guys. I haven’t actually been cooking a lot of new things lately, which is funny because we’re totally overrun with fresh produce. Instead, I’ve spent late nights canning, freezing, and making pickles, and most of my meals are some variation on this. Not that I mind much.

Look at all the beans I’ve been putting away:green_beans_and_yellow_and_purple

This book is my favorite reference for canning and freezing (I have the 1970s burnt orange hardcover edition, a family heirloom). I’ll do an in-depth post on canning a little later this month, once the tomatoes get going.

edamame_to_be_frozen

And I just started a batch of long-fermented dill pickles from this book, in my new crock from The Savvy Hen. I’ll let you know how those turn out in a few weeks.

making_pickles

And tonight, we’ll be putting incubator #1 into “lockdown,” meaning we take the eggs out of the automatic turner, increase the humidity, and try our best not to touch the incubator until all the chicks hatch. They’re due Wednesday, but we’ll be starting the live stream whenever we see movement from the eggs, which could be a few days before. (Disclaimer: Last time they hatched a day early)

We’re also doing the first candling on incubator #2 tonight, which has eggs from our neighbor, a few from our hens (in case they’re fertile this time) and also a dozen free-range eggs from the grocery store. So again, we might have a lot that aren’t developing (but I’m excited to find out).

Oh right, I promised you a drink.

pisco

After a day of harvesting and selling flowers and veggies at a pop-up neighborhood farmer’s market, I was ready for a cocktail. My sister, who taught me the joy of a good Pisco Sour years ago, came up with this little gem — it’s similar, but doesn’t involve powdered sugar, or egg whites. It’s simple, refreshing, and easily to make for a crowd. Cheers!

Pisco Lemonade

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cocktail

Pisco Lemonade

Simple, refreshing, and great for a crowd.

Ingredients

  • (for each cocktail)
  • 1 shot (1.75 oz) Pisco
  • 3.5 shots (6.25 oz) lemonade, ideally fresh-squeezed (and please not the powdered kind)
  • 1 sprig tarragon, mint, or your favorite herb

Instructions

  1. Combine pisco and lemonade in a shaker with ice. A standard shaker will hold two drinks' worth.
  2. Shake and strain into glasses.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs (tarragon works well).
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/pisco-lemonade/

Day 14: Candling

red_star_day_14_candling

Last night the eggs reached 2/3 of the way through incubation, and we candled them again to see how they’re developing.

The second batch of eggs, which we started after discovering that most of the original eggs were infertile, will be ready for their first candling this weekend (and we’ll be putting incubator #1 on lockdown this weekend, too).

ee_day_14_candling

This is a developing Easter Egger, the green pigment in the shell makes it difficult to see inside.

alive_and_welsummer_day_14_candling

A Welsummer egg, also very hard to see through but definitely developing.

leghorn_day_14_candling

White eggs are very easy to candle.

light_brown_egg_day_14_candling

By day 14 the claws are forming, and the chick is moving into position for hatch. It’s also taking up so much space in the shell that it’s difficult to see anything inside, much less photograph it.

welsummer_egg_day_14_candling

I pulled 5 eggs that weren’t developing, including the Welsummer egg I tried to patch with wax. No big surprise there. But interestingly enough, they were all from the same flock — so it probably has more to do with their diet or the age of the hens than the incubation.

dead_welsummer_egg_day_14_candling

Wax patch gone wrong

welsummer_egg_blood_ring_day_14_candling

Another Welsummer egg that didn’t make it.

dead_leghorn_day_14_candling

A dead Leghorn egg (we’d be seeing a lot more veins otherwise)

The other 13 looked really good, and we could see a lot of movement in some of the eggs. I also weighed each egg (ideally they should lose about 13% of their weight by the end of incubation) and most were right on track, at around 11%. In a few more days we’ll increase humidity, so the weight loss will slow down a bit then.

The chicks are due to hatch in about a week, and I’ll be starting a live video stream from the incubator once the eggs start rocking and rolling – so check back often! I’ll also be posting frequent updates to the Facebook page as we get closer to hatch day.

easter_egger_day_14_candling

Day 8: Candling

candling_day_8-2

It’s hard to believe the eggs are 8 days along already (they turn 9 this evening)! By now the embryos are far enough along that they’re starting to look like birds, and they’ll be sprouting feathers in the next few days.

Well, some of them are, anyway.

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