Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

January 8, 2009

The hardboiling dilemma

I learned something kind of surprising over the holidays. Although fresh eggs are tastier, healthier and just generally all around better eggs, they do have one shortcoming. They don't hard boil worth a D***!

A couple of days before Thanksgiving A~ and I began trying some different methods of hard boiling them so we could have some deviled eggs with some semblance of a decent appearance. It wasn't happening. You may know what I'm talking about. That incredible stick to the shell power of fresh hard cooked eggs is more that my usually nimble fingers could work around.

So I consulted one of my go to people for all things chicken, or egg.. or whichever came first.? Anyway, Laura over at (not so) Urban Hennery comforted me with the knowledge that her eggs do the same thing. and her most consistent solution; old eggs. That's right, old eggs. It seems that as the eggs age, the proteins in the egg kind of mellow out and let the shell go. Huh? Maybe that's the reason eggs bought from store shelves average 30 days old already? Anyway, we decided to start saving a bunch of eggs separate from the rest so we had them available when we wanted hard boil some for whatever reason.
As you can see, we came up with a really technical way of coding them as well. 1-1 in our code means the eggs were set apart during the first week of January. It's rudimentary I admit, but it works well. I now have a bag of hard boileds in the fridge at work to eat for breakfast and they slide right out of the shell!

So, if your new to raising your own eggs, save yourself the frustration of sticky shelled eggs and let them chill out for a week or two in the fridge. You'll be much happier with the results. I promise. Have any other ideas for ways to hard cook fresh eggs that works well for you? Leave a comment share it with the rest of us would ya?
Catch you tomorrow.


Shell said...

I've been told by several people that adding 1/3 cup of salt to your boiling water will make the shells peel right off.

I haven't tried it yet. Our pullets are on strike due to weather.

Anonymous said...

Glad it worked. My new trick is to poach them hard in a couple of silicone cups I picked up. But that only works if you're going to chop them for egg salad or something else where looks don't matter.

Phelan said...

Sonce you are asking, everything about eggs and Deviled Eggs are two articles I wrote a few years back on the sticky whites subject

Anonymous said...

ahahaha, yes. Great system, p&a and it really is a bugger if you try to do it with fresh isn't it? I love how you're not afraid to talk about the things the rest of us chicken people forget to mention to you newbies. Like pasty butts and stuck on shells. I'm sending my friend who wants to get chicks next year your way! :)

Annodear said...

I saw your hard boiled eggs and was amazed... I thought *I* was the only one who wrote "H" on "H"ard boiled eggs to differentiate them from the raw ones in the egg carton :-)

But then I saw the one that looked more like 1/1 and thought, hmmm... what's going on here?

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

If you must hardboil fresh eggs for an egg salad, I have found the best way to get them out of the shell is with a spoon. crack the eggshell on a bowl, then split the egg in half, the yolk remains whole in one side, then scoop the egg white out with a spoon. You can scrape all of it out that way.

Great post, never thought to mention tips like these.

Sadge said...

I haven't tried it with my fresh eggs, but YouTube has lots of people breaking a little piece off each end and then blowing the egg out of the shell. I've also heard to start the eggs cooking in cold water, bring to boil to desired state, and then plunge immediately into cold water.

Anonymous said...

What I do is shake the pan gently after draining the hot water, then add cold water and let sit til cool. What this does is breaks up the shell while hot then the white shrinks when you add the cold. It's not perfect but it helps.


Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Leaving them out at room temperature for several days too "ages" them, enough to boil and get the shells to release. Eggs are incredibly stable, and most of the rules for washing, refrigeration, etc are for industrial produced eggs.

Your fresh eggs would last several months at room temperature before spoiling. Of course, I'm not recommending no refrigeration but in a pinch, and cooler weather, eggs keep incredibly well.

goingferal(ish) said...

This is really handy to know - w have our own chooks and I had notice the same problem. Will try it out, thanks for sharing!

Alilcrunchi (Sara) said...

Just a little side note. Writing on eggs should be done with something other than sharpie. The eggs are porous which means sharpie goes right through and into the egg. I would suggest using a crayon or maybe even a pencil.

P~ said...

Hi all,
First off, I'm really glad to see so much interest in this, I thought it a bit of a silly post, but it was a question that I had, so I thought others may have had the same issues.

Shellie~ That's an interesting idea, but I'm hesitant to use up a commodity like salt just to ease the shells off. Best of luck getting those girls to lay :-)

Laura~ It did and wonderfully. Thanks!

Phelan~ Thanks for addign to the dialogue.

FM~ yeah... my mistakes are out there for the whole world to enjoy!!

Frogtailrae~ Too funny! Great minds huh?

Fritillarys~ Now that's a good idea in a pinch...never thought about it, Thanks.

Sadge~ you know it could work...but I'm just not that motivated. :(

Anonymous~ Whoever you are...You win the big non-prize for the trick That I just gotta try. Sounds like it could work!

Throwback~ You're absolutely right of course. We do keep our eggs at room temp by and large. It's only the eggs that we have set apart for hardboiling that we mark and put in the fridge. Not so much for their freshness as because we don't want multiple piles off eggs allover the counters.

GoingFeral(ish)~ Good luck to you.

Harvest moon~ That's a really good point. We've not had any leach through yet, but it is definitely possible.

Thanks again everyone for the great dialogue. I always enjoy your input!

Anonymous said...

I have backyard chickens and over the Christmas break tried saving a dozen back for hard boiled eggs. I set aside a dozen for two weeks and they made fine deviled eggs. So I'm giving two thumbs up to your suggestion.

BTW my "girls" are still laying about half of what they were during the nice fall weather. I'm very happy with them, I expected them quit entirely, but they haven't.

Anonymous said...

I too was having the same problem with my eggs. I mentioned it to "Grandma" and "Grandpa". They both nodded their heads and "Mm-hmm"ed at the same time. Then they both said, "You've gotta add vinegar when the eggs are fresh." (They've been married for over fifty years and often speak syncronized). But they were right. I just add a few table spoons of vinegar (I think I use apple cider) to the water when I boil. Works like a charm.

Anonymous said...

@Throwback at Trapper Creek,

You're right about the "room temperature" comment, but keep in mind, that's only for unwashed eggs.

As soon as you wash your eggs you remove the protective coating from the outside of the shell. Commercial eggs come pre-washed, hence why you "have to refrigerate eggs."

As long as you don't wash your eggs until you're ready to crack them, they'll keep for weeks and weeks at room temperature. But, as soon as you wash them, it's best to pop 'em in the fridge.

- www.JoeLevi.com

Kory said...

sadge is right on, cold water does the trick.

Here's how I do it.

put the eggs in a pan of water at room temp with the water just covering the eggs bring it to a boil.

When it boils turn off the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes the eggs are still cooking from the heat left in the water. At this point they're done, so put them in a pot of icewater and dump out the first pan, rinse it with cold water to cool that pan down while the eggs get chilly.

take the eggs and put them in the empty pan, then rock the pan back and forth until the shells are pulverized. then grab an egg with a good broken up shell and give it a dunk back in the ice water, the shells should slide right off.

lather, rinse repeat.

Frank Dellario said...

Great comments! I've found that 15 minutes vs 10 works just right for me. Some people go as far as 20 min.

Another variation is to pop a pin hole with a push pin in the rounded part of the egg (where the air sack is). Put the egg in boiling water for 10 minutes, then do everything else same (ie crack in pot etc). Gives you great yellow yolks for develed eggs and salads. The boiling water pushes the sulfer gas out that can give your yolks that green band. (thanks to Jacque Papin)

Why these methods work have to do with temp and not time. Ends up you can put an egg in an oven for an hour at the right temp and not overcook it, and very specific temp's create very distinct yolks. From Discovery Magazine article.

Now question is, why do farm fresh eggs stick and store bought don't?