Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Pam dyn ni'n cadw Balwen...

Got to bottle feed this lovely little lamb yesterday at Bridget's. Her name is Neela and she is a triplet. As much as I love feeding other people's lambs, I don't want to have to get up in the middle of the night to feed my own, and this is why we keep Balwen! No lambs here yet...

My camera is still in the shop so I am unable to take a photo of the frozen hail all over the side of the mountain which looks like snow but isn't...

Bridget was asking me some questions about waterglass yesterday, and I know I've written about waterglass many times here, but I thought I'd post a quick primer for those of you who have never done it before. Waterglass is the common name for sodium silicate, a compound of sodium carbonate and silicon dioxide. Its function in egg preservation is to stop air passing through the shell (egg shells are porous, this is why eggs will eventually go bad) and thus extend their shelf life. If you are planning on preserving any of your eggs this way, I would do it NOW as this seems to be the time of year when eggs are most in abundance.

1. Find a container to store your eggs in. Ours is a large earthenware crock that Angela found for me in the antiques store in Llandeilo, but I imagine that an empty lick bucket would probably work just as well. You need a lid to keep dust and such out, but it doesn't need to be airtight.

2. You will want to fill your container about half full with waterglass solution (9 parts water, 1 part waterglass). Boil your water and then let it cool completely to room temperature before mixing with waterglass. Put it in your container and voila. You will want to site your container somewhere cool -- ie NOT in your centrally heated house. You don't want the eggs to freeze, but a barn is a good place.

3. Only put clean eggs with no cracks or chips and strong shells into the waterglass. As you get near the top, make sure that the top layer of eggs is always completely covered with at least 1 inch of waterglass.

4. When you want to use the eggs in November or something, just reach in, take out the ones you want, rinse off the waterglass under the tap, and use as normal. The consistency of the egg will be different to a fresh egg -- they are more watery -- so you won't be able to separate the white and the yolk, and I don't think you could make a very successful fried egg either, but I use them for scrambled eggs and in baking and I can't tell the difference.

Any questions?


Margaret said...

Where do you get your waterglass? I'm in the county, near Crossdands and one day we shall meet as "Dw'i mynd i'r dosbarth Cymraeg" too.


Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Well, I had originally bought a large tub from Potclays, but when I was writing this post yesterday, I was going to link to the page on their site that sold it, only to find that it wasn't listed on their web site any more. I have however just phoned them now, and they confirm that they still stock it. If you phone them, they will ask if you want the 75 or the 140 -- you want the 75. Their phone number is 01782 219816.

Dylwn i wedi gwneud hwn ddoe, ond mae noson siarad yn yr Angel Llandeilo bob nos Fawrth cyntaf y mis (neithiwr!) -- dere mis nesa!