Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Boil Easy-to-Peel Eggs

OK, I made a batch of hard-boiled eggs for ready high-protein snacks and now have them sitting in my refrigerator, ready to go. So, for absolutely no reason, I'm going to give my recipe for the perfectly peelable hard-boiled egg.

Now, don't run away yet. Sure, you know how to boil an egg, but do you know how to prepare it so that the shell peels off in nearly one piece? How to make it so that you don't have to spend precious time picking off all the pieces, often losing some delicious egg meat in the process, and certainly making you think twice about gnoshing on hard-cooked eggs? If you do know, then you're excused and may run off to, perhaps, read the free online copy of Cycle California! Magazine (click the picture of the magazine). If you don't, though, stick around. It's worth it.

First, take out your eggs and let them warm up a bit to room temperature. Poke a hole in the wide end with a safety pin.

Next, get your pot of water boiling. Of course, you want enough water so that the eggs will be submerged when you put them in. I always salt my water, but this probably is inconsequential.

When your water is at a rolling boil, gently add the eggs. (Use a spoon or something so that you can put the eggs in without breaking the shell.) I use the ridiculous double wire whisk/tongs that they sold on late night tv. In fact, that's the only use I've found for those things.

Boil the eggs for 16-20 minutes, depending on how hard you like your hard-boiled eggs. You might get away with boiling for a shorter time, but I've never tried.

Now, this is where the important part begins. A couple of minutes before time is up, prepare a bowl of ice water. I mean ice water. Use half a dozen ice cubes and fill with the coldest water you can get.

When time is up, gently take the eggs from the pot and place in the bowl of ice water. Let sit until cool. Move the eggs to the refrigerator.

What you have now are eggs with shells that you can gently break on a couple of sides, then peel off the shell. (I typically start the process on the big end.) Kind of push sideways as you peel off the shell and membrane so that they sort of slide off and you can get it all off in maybe one or two big pieces. It's seriously wonderful.

How do I think it works? Here's my pseudo-scientific (and probably wrong) explanation: On top of letting air and pressure out of the eggs while boiling, the pinpricks allow water in when the eggs are submerged in the ice cold water. So when you move the eggs from the hot pot to the cold bowl, they suck in just a little bit of water. This water provides a layer of moisture which makes the peel and membrane separate just a bit from the egg. When you peel the egg, there's no picking off the shell piece by piece; it almost wants to come off easily.

Voila! Enjoy your easy to peel hard-boiled eggs as nummy snacks! If you don't eat all (or any of) your yolks, be sure to save some for your doggies or ratties or most other fuzzy animals. They don't have to worry nearly as much about the 9 calories per gram of fat.

(Oh, and sorry for the awfully fuzzy picture. I took it with my iphone and then gobbled up the eggs before I saw the quality online. My bad.)

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