Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hard Boiled Egg Hell, Part 1

....or why you'll never be offered a deviled egg at our house.

We're averaging at least a dozen eggs a day and yesterday I got sixteen.  I love my chickens!

And one would think, that in a household that has the potential to accumulate close to a hundred eggs in a week, that we would be making egg dishes every single day.  Well, we are.  Except for a few.  Namely those that require the hard, medium or soft boiling of the eggs.  You know, like Deviled Eggs, or Egg in a Cup, or my very favorite:

Egg Salad Sandwiches!

This is only the second time in about a year that I've made egg salad.  Because no matter what I do, I cannot get my eggs to peel without them looking like they were chewed on by a rat:

Not only that, but it took me no less than fifteen minutes to peel those few eggs.  Before I've finished attempting to peel the second egg, I have muttered at least six dozen cuss words and my blood pressure has gone up 50%.  At about egg number six, I am shaking and sweating and lucky to get two millimeters of egg white still surrounding the egg yolk.  

I've tried everything.  Using "older" eggs; anywhere from four days old up to two weeks old.  I've tried boiling eggs right from the refrigerator and eggs that were left on the counter so they'd be at room temperature.  Putting salt in the water.  Putting vinegar in the water.  Putting the eggs in the water and then start them boiling.  Boiling the water first, then putting the eggs in.  Boiling the eggs for fifteen minutes.  Bringing the water to a boil (with the eggs in the pan), the immediately taking them off the heat, covering the pot and letting them sit in the hot water for fifteen minutes.  Cooling them off in ice water or even peeling them under running water.  I've even consulted the Necronomicon for egg-boiling incantations.  Occasionally (say, like maybe three times since we've had chickens, you know, in the last six years) I'll get a good batch that will peel easier, but it's still maddening.

So I'm asking my dear readers for some help.  Specifically those that have laying hens and have successfully boiled AND peeled their eggs.

I miss having egg salad sandwiches.  I miss deviled eggs.  I miss my Egg in a Cup in the morning, still steaming and the little pat of butter slowly melting over it before I chop it up with my spoon.

Can anyone help me?  Please!?!


  1. Usually they peel easier when they are older, but I see you've tried that. I peel our eggs as soon as they are cool enough to handle after cooking, and I peel them under the faucet while the cold water is running over them. If I peel fresher eggs (like less than a week old) I prick them with a pin first. Just carefully stick a clean pin or needle in the larger end to make a tiny hole and then boil them as usual. It does help them peel cleanly, in my experience. That's another idea for you to try.... you have sure given a good go of it already!

    Have a good day, Carolyn. :o)

  2. I feel your pain. I have had 'some' success with putting them (room temp) in a pan of water, bringing the water to a boil, letting it boil for 3 mins, turning the heat off, putting a lid on the pan and leaving them for 10 mins. Then I drain them, clamp the lid back on and shake the hell out of them until they're cracked all over. Then I peel them. Hopefully. Or stick them with my voodoo pins (the black ones....)

  3. This works!

  4. Well... I don't have chickens, but sometimes buy my eggs from a fellow down the road who does. And the trick is to use old eggs... as in really old. Rather than trying to time how old they are, it's easier to test them by putting them in cold water before you cook them to see if they're old enough. If the egg sinks to the bottom of the water it's still too fresh to use for boiling. The best boiled eggs are made from eggs that sink part way and then stop. If it floats, it's too old and you don't want to use it.

    The other trick is to cool quickly... as in take the eggs directly from the boiling water to the cold water. Let them cool thoroughly before attempting to peel. I usually just take the pot from the stove to the sink, turn on the cold water and let it run for a few minutes. Then I run it again as the water starts to warm up. If the water doesn't feel cold to the touch it's too warm. Keep this up until the eggs are cool to the touch... then peel.

    Good Luck!

  5. What EcoCatLady said...that ALWAYS works for me. I have NEVER had luck with any of the other methods.
    It's funny, when I was a suburbanite and I would have trouble peeling eggs, I always figured it was because they were old, now I know that they were actually fresh! LOL!!

  6. I guess I will let you in on my secret-only because I've learned so much from you :). The key is to STEAM them. Put your eggs in a steamer basket and place over water. When the water starts to boil, turn it down to a simmer, cover and steam for 20 minutes. Peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Consider that little tip a partial payment on what I owe ya!

  7. I was at Wally World the other day and I saw plastic bags full of whole hard boiled eggs already peeled - just sayin'. Think I'll remain anonymous on this one. Tee hee

  8. I found that putting a couple of TBL spoons of baking soda in the ice water helps the shells cling less to the eggs. I finally can hard boil my own fresh eggs, BUT I do wait 1 week! I made some pickled eggs today...

  9. Methinks you've got enough new methods to keep you trying for a while now.

    I always use eggs that are at least a week old for hard-boiled ones.

    I take them right from the refrigerator, put in cold water and bring to a boil. Set the timer for 5 minutes (no cover on pan) and let them do an easy boil for the full 5 minutes. Then turn off heat, cover pan and let sit for 15 minutes. After that, dump out hot water and run eggs in pan under cold water, dump out water, run under more cold water. I do this about three times then let the eggs sit in cold water for about 10 minutes. Take them out of water and cool on the counter usually until they're thoroughly cooled and then peel.

    It's amazing all the different methods there are to boil an egg. (I think you must have a curse upon thee, Lovely Lady, to have so much trouble with yours!)

  10. Read the comments we got for this post on "How to peel hard boiled eggs?" - there are many variations.

    I boil the water after adding 1/4 cup of vinegar and a TBS of salt. I boil the eggs for 25 minutes and have no issues.

  11. I heard on the Rachael Ray show that you should drain the eggs, then roll them around vigorously in the pan to crack the eggs. Immediately add cold water to cool the eggs down (you can add ice cubes also if you want) The water gets in between the egg and the shell and makes it much easier to peel. I have tried this method and it works every time. Here is a video that explains it, but this lady doesn't let the eggs sit in the water long enough as far as I'm concerned. Hope this helps.

  12. Well I don't have anything different to offer...because I'm in the same boat as you. Cursed at peeling our home grown eggs. I have been known to send one flying across the kitchen when my attempt to peel it gets it looking too much like a rat chewed on it. So I'll be trying some of these suggestions your fine readers suggested.

  13. I've had luck dropping by placing them into already boiling, salted water, cooking them for 15 minutes and moving them from the boiling water immediately into a bowl of ice water. I've used even day old eggs this way and they have worked.

  14. I only have one tiny thing to add. WASH the eggs before you let them age in the fridge for at least a week (more is better). It removes the protective coating to allow some of the white to evaporate which makes it easier to peel. I also use salted water, and the pin hole helps. I boil them for 5 minutes and immediately cool them under running water while shaking them hard in the pan to break the shells...and usually all of this works. ;)

  15. I agree on the older eggs. I keep a dozen tucked away, and wait it out while I use the other eggs for other dishes. They are still more difficult than store bought, but worth it.

  16. I just did a dozen a few days ago.

    I just put the eggs in a large pan and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil; lower heat and boil 15 minutes for hard boiled.

    When finished, I drain off hot water and run cold water over the eggs until the water stays cold. Then I crack each egg against the side of the pan. If the water warms up, change it again to cold. I then peel the egg under cold running water.

    Once in a while I have a difficult one but most come off in almost halves.

  17. I see you've tried older eggs, but I have the best success with eggs that are 4-6 weeks old. Yes, they are still good. We are practically the only country that refrigerates eggs. Eggs are covered in a bloom that helps preserve them, so don't wash them when you collect from the hens (unless of course they are very dirty). They will float if they are too old. I have used eggs that are 3 months old that were fine, just do the float test. Good luck!

  18. You are definitely my soul sister where hard boiled eggs are involved. Mine look hideous, zombie eggs. I've tried everything. And then my husband walks in the kitchen and peels the next one as if it were second nature. Sometimes I can't stand him!

    He hits it all over with the back of a spoon until it is cracked everywhere- while they are still hot although we do put them in cold water just after boiling. Then he runs the water, not hard but rather a nice stream, and picks off the shells keeping them beneath the stream so the water does the work. Good luck! Easter time is the worst, everyone expects deviled eggs.

  19. Fresh eggs stick to the shell through my experiance.