Friday, August 13, 2010

Peeling Boiled Eggs

Yesterday I posted about pickling those pullet eggs and was asked how I peeled those fresh eggs. Well the fresher the egg the harder it is to peel and I did give a couple to the dogs that I messed up but for the most part I didn't have a problem.  To get perfectly peeled hard-cooked eggs, use eggs that are at least 3 to 5 days:

Eggs that are too fresh are difficult to peel. The fresher the eggs, the harder it will be to peel them because the white membrane is just not mature enough. Hard boiling farm fresh eggs will invariably lead to eggs that are difficult to peel. Eggs need to be at least three days old to peel well.

First, figure out if your eggs are fresh, because looking at the date on the carton is not always the best indicator of freshness, as eggs within the same carton with the same sell-by-date could have been laid on different days. Check out Sell Date of Eggs.

In a fresh egg, the yolk stand tall and the white is thick and cloudy. In an older egg, the yolk looks flatter and breaks easily, and the white is thin and watery.

A simple test in water will answer the freshness question for you. Place the egg in a bowl of water; if it lies on its side, it is very fresh. As it ages, the air pocket inside the egg grows, which buoys the egg up so it stands on one end. If the egg floats to the top, it is ready for the trash.

The best eggs for boiling are the ones on their way to standing up because that extra air makes peeling easier. That's why you should buy eggs for hard-cooking at least a week ahead of time.

When making deviled eggs, place carton of eggs on its side for a day. The yolk will then center itself so you have it directly in the middle of the white. No more off centered deviled eggs.

Bring your eggs to room temperature before cooking:

If the egg has been stored in the refrigerator, it can be warmed gently under a flowing hot tap water or sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

By bringing the eggs to room temperature, they're much less likely to crack in the hot water. Also the temperature of the egg at the start of the cooking process will affect the cooking time.

An egg that is at room temperature at the start of the cooking process will require about 1 minute less cooking time than eggs taken directly from the refrigerator.

Technique for hard-cooking (boiled) eggs:

Choose the right size pot to cook your eggs in. The eggs must not be stacked but be in one (1) layer only. Gently place the eggs in a single layer in a pan with enough cold water to cover eggs completely.(approximately by 1 inch). Add 1 teaspoon salt !!

Too much water will take too long for things to get boiling, which can throw off the timing and give you overcooked eggs. Too little water causes parts of the eggs to be exposed and end up undercooked.

If you have 2 or 3 layers of eggs stacked up in a small pot, they may cook unevenly. Use a tall pan, and limit cooking to 2 dozen eggs at a time.

Over high heat, bring water JUST to a rapid boil.

As soon as the water reaches a rapid boil, remove pan from heat and cover egg pan tightly with a lid.

Set timer for 17 minutes for large eggs or 20 minutes for jumbo eggs.

After 17 or 20 minutes (depending on size of your eggs), remove lid and drain off water from the eggs.

Watch the time when cooking the eggs carefully. Overcook causes a green layer to form around the yolk. This layer is caused by a reaction between the iron in the yolk and the sulfur in the white. Heat speeds up this reaction, so the longer your eggs cook, the greater the chance of discoloration.

Stop the cooking process: Transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice cubes and/or cold water. NOTE: While they're in the cold water, a layer of steam develops between the shell and the egg white. The steam helps make peeling an egg much easier.

Let eggs cool at least 10 minutes in cold water, then drain. Either store in refrigerator or peel the eggs

A quick test to ensure that your eggs are hardboiled: When eggs have cooled, spin them on a hard surface (just like you would spin a top). If the eggs spins quickly without taking off or flying off in one direction, the egg is hard boiled and finished. Undercooked eggs (or uncooked eggs) will have a wobbly and unsteady spin.

I then bring a bowl of water to boil in the microwave and set any underdone eggs back in boiling water for a couple minutes and then back in ice water.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Thank you for this! :-D
    I am going to save it to my recipes file. I definitely need more practice at hard boiled eggs. :)

    Have a blessed weekend! :)

  2. Thank you for this wonderful information! Who knew that something that seems so simple as boiling an egg ... is actually very complex. You sure know your eggs!

    I have lots of eggs produced here on the farm, but gave up boiling them because they were always so hard to peel smoothly. Now I know .... I'll have to let them age for a few days before boiling them. Thanks so much!

  3. I learned a new trick recently that allows me to peel eggs laid TODAY. Bring the water to a boil first, then add room temp or slightly warmed eggs, boil 10-12 minutes depending on how hard you prefer your eggs. Plunge immediately into ice water. Works like a charm!


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