We’ve all been there, all you want are some pristine hard-boiled eggs to serve whole, as a garnish, or for deviled eggs…and of course, the shells are sticking, making the job of peeling take forever, and leaving you with eggs as scarred and pitting at the surface of the moon.
Here are three beauty tips to get perfectly peelable eggs, every time!
LET THEM BREATH
The problem: When eggs are fresh, there is a membrane that adheres the whites to the interior of the shell. Typically a little air absorption takes care of this, but often eggs are sprayed with a food grade oil to block air absorption, so they’ll stay fresh longer. This can keep that membrane from releasing, and make it nearly impossible to cleanly shell a hard-boiled egg.
What to do: Several hours before you plan to boil the eggs (or the night before), give them a gentle scrub under hot running water to remove any oil coating. Dry the eggs and allow them to sit on the counter until ready to cook. A few hours should be sufficient to let them absorb enough air.
If your eggs are farm fresh, and you know they haven’t been sprayed, they probably just need a little more time to “breath” before you cook them.
LET THEM CHILL
The problem: A long, slow cool down period, after boiling, can also cause the white and shells to stick together.
What to do: As soon as you remove your eggs from the simmering water, crack them gently, in 3-4 spots around the egg (make sure to hold them with a towel so you don’t burn yourself), and then plunge them in an ice bath to cool.
Cracking the eggs allows the cold water to get between the egg and shell more quickly, and the cold water causes the egg to contract, separating it from the inner wall of the shell. As soon as the eggs feel chilled through, and no longer warm in your hand when removed from the water, peel them immediately.
GIVE ‘EM A SHOWER
The problem: Even using the steps above, peeling an egg can be a long and tedious process.
What to do: Get a little hydro-help!
First: roll the egg gently, but firmly, under your palm, on the counter (I like to lay down a towel first), until the shell is evenly cracked into small pieces, all the way around. Don’t bear down too hard, or you’ll end up with a road-kill egg!
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Second: hold the egg under cold running water in the sink, and gently begin to work away the shell. The cold of the water should help the egg continue to contract, while the water pressure should force itself between the white and the shell. When done right, the shell will virtually peel itself away from the egg.
Extra tip: You know that unappetizing grey ring that sometime occurs between the yolk and white of a hard-boiled egg? That’s a chemical reaction to being cooked at too high of heat. To resolve this, allow your water to come to just a slow simmer (the surface is disturbed, but not boiling), add your eggs, and let the water come back to just a simmer. This is plenty of heat to hard boil your eggs, but not enough to discolor them.
Enjoy those eggs!
PS – If you’re looking for something to do with those perfectly peeled eggs, here’s my mama’s amazing deviled eggs recipe…they’re the best!