Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hard-boiled Eggs: What Works for Me

If your chickens are like our chickens, their laying has taken off with the longer days and warmer weather. We're collecting around ten eggs a day and that's enough to keep us and our egg-buying friends plenty satisfied.  Over Easter weekend, we enjoyed many an egg- pickled, in breakfast dishes, casseroles and even my sister-in-law's delectable chocolate mousse!

Years ago, when I first started this blog I remember asking for advice on how to hard-boil eggs in such a way that I wouldn't lose half the egg when I peeled it.  Over time and after trying several different methods, I've found a way that works really well- as in, about 90% of the time the eggs are nicely peeled. That's a rate I am very pleased with after all my failed attempts and frustrations.

Here's what works well for us:

1) If your eggs are store bought, you're set to go.  If they are fresh, they won't peel as well so I pull from the bottom of my full-egg-carton-stack in the fridge to make sure they are a week or two old at least.  For our Pickled Easter eggs, I even labeled some a couple weeks in advance to be sure we didn't use them for other things by mistake.

2) Fill a large pot with water (more than enough to cover the number of eggs you want to hard-boil), cover it and bring it to a boil.  Once it's at a rolling boil, gently add the eggs.  I use a pasta spoon to lower them into the pot, setting them gently on the bottom.  If they crack slightly, it's not the end of the world, but it's nicer if they don't.  Adding the eggs will slow down the boil.  Watch the water and cut back the heat until you see a steady stream of small bubbles coming up from bottom of the pot.  A full boil may bounce and crack eggs that aren't firmed up yet, causing leakage.  Set the timer for 15 minutes.

3) Once the timer goes off, turn off the heat and remove the eggs from the heat.  In the next 5 minutes or so, carefully pour off the hot water and replace it with cold water, setting the cooled pot in your sink.  When the eggs are cool enough to handle (and still covered in cold water), take one at a time and crack them gently on a flat surface (the counter works well).  Crack the eggs gently all over and return them to the cold water. This allows the cold water to seep in between the eggs and egg shells. I'm only mid-way through cracking these below.

4) After all the eggs are cracked and in the cold water, let them sit there until the pot and the eggs have completely cooled.  Drain out the water and place the eggs in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Leave the shells on until just before you want to use them.  Gently tap the shells all over again to loosen the shells and then peel the eggs, using the side of your thumb instead of finger nails which can gouge the soft eggs. Don't forget to get under that thin, transparent layer between the egg and the shell- it will make for an easier time of peeling if you're peeling that layer off with the shell. Rinse with clean water and prepare or eat as you wish!

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  1. Wow...thanks...I will be trying this!

  2. I too have tried several methods, but not this one. Will try it next:)
    Thank you.

  3. Hi, thanks for the post on peeling fresh eggs. I am new to having chickens, and I want to use all those lovely fresh eggs, and it's not always convenient to wait for them to age. I came across a method on the internet that involved cracking a piece of the shell off the pointed end of the egg but not breaking the inner membrane. After a little trial and error, it actually worked great! Here's the link:
    http://queenofthereddoublewide.com/how-to-easily-peel-farm-fresh-eggs/ Hope it helps!

    1. Fascinating! Thanks- I had never heard of this. I'll have to give a try sometime:-).

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Never heard of waiting that long to peel the eggs - might try that. When I have fresh eggs that I want to hardboil, I use a thumbtack to poke a hole in one end before I boil them. That works pretty well, but I've learned that peeling hardboiled eggs is not a good job for kids because it's not easy to peel off the shell only ;)

  5. Sometimes we don't label our eggs (by date) well, or at all. I test which eggs are good for hard boiling by putting the whole lot into a sink of water. The ones that lie flat are too fresh. The ones that tilt up quite a bit we use for hard boiling: the air bubble that forms makes the peeling easier. Obviously any egg that floats should be thrown out -- carefully, and not indoors!

  6. I've started adding a bit of baking soda to the water as its boiling. Put the eggs, water, and baking soda in the pan all together and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, I set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off I put the pan in the sink and run cold water over the eggs and let them set about 15 more minutes. The shells come off beautifully!

  7. Just ordered your e-book. Thanks for the discount. Great post on peeling fresh eggs. Going to give your method a try.

  8. I put eggs in cold water with 1 tsp. of baking soda bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Then I take them off and drain them, cover in cold water and peel about 5 minutes later. Shells come off easy. Before I started using the baking soda it was terrible to get the shell off.

  9. I just saw a blogger with fresh chicken eggs say that she steams the eggs. We get fresh eggs from a friend so I'm anxious to try it out.


  10. The way I was taught to boil eggs is after the water boils you add the eggs and then pour salt probably a teaspoon or two or three(I've never measured) into the water on top of the eggs and then let them boil 15 to 20 minutes.Dump the boiled water and replace with cold and take one out and crack all the way around it and then start peeling away it should come off clean. Works good with eggs just bought from the store but might add a little more salt. It does not make the eggs salty.


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