“How do you boil an egg?” Since Amazon Echo was released in 2015, this is one of the most frequent cooking-related questions people have asked Alexa.
If your goal is to get perfect, pristine hard-boiled eggs for deviled eggs,, the only sure-fire trick I know is to use old eggs. As eggs age, the pH of the whites changes, going from a low pH to a relatively high pH, which makes them adhere less strongly to the shell. Also,with time, they gradually lose moisture through the pores in their shell and the air pocket at the tip expands. Ideally, buy your eggs a week or two before you plan to boil them and let them age in the fridge. Farm-fresh eggs will always be tricky to guess the age.
I have also found that cracking eggs (gently, gently!) just after boiling and then submerging them in ice water also helps make them easier to peel. It’s not always a guarantee, especially if your eggs are still fairly fresh, but it helps.
Some people swear by poking a hole in the shell, adding vinegar to the water, or even to the extreme of rigging a thermometer and timer to inform you when the water’s about to boil so you can cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Truly, boiled egg recipes are opinions – and everyone’s got one.
Now in my later 60s (with years of cooking experience), while I am NOT as glib as Alexa, this is how I consistently get great boiled eggs:
The Perfect Boiled Egg For You – 90% of the Time
In my Home Ec class in the 60s, I was taught to only use older eggs (10-14 days old) when making hard-boiled eggs. Mrs. Scherger said ‘the fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel cleanly’. I have found that to be true. It works beautifully for older eggs, but I can’t guarantee it will with eggs fresher than 10 days old!
Here’s what you need:
- 6-8 large eggs, right from the fridge
- water in a medium saucepan with it’s lid
- salt – I add a shake or two to the water
- slotted spoon
- stove timer or an egg timer
1. Place 6-8 cold eggs in a medium saucepan and fill with cold water. Cover the eggs with an inch of water.
2. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil, uncovered. The water should come to a rolling boil.
3. During this time, fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes.
4. As soon as the water comes to a boil, REMOVE the pan from heat and cover the pan. Don’t forget and let the eggs boil for too long or they will over cook!
5. Immediately after removing the pan from the burner, set your timer for the desired time depending on whether you want soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs or in the middle.
Time the eggs in the covered pan for the chosen doneness:
- For runny soft-boiled eggs (loosely set whites): 3 minutes
- For slightly runny soft-boiled eggs: 4 minutes
- For slightly firmer ‘yogurt-set’ soft-boiled eggs: 6 minutes
- For slightly firmer yet still creamy hard-boiled eggs: 10 minutes
- For very firm hard-boiled eggs: 15 minutes
4. Once your timer goes off, pour out the hot water, and replace with very cold running water. Cool it off for a moment to get the major heat out.
5. After your selected time is up, remove the cooked eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and tap each (gently!) on hard surface to crack the shell in a few places. Skip this step if you’re planning to dye your eggs for Easter or your eggs are very soft-boiled with runny yolks.
6. Cover with iced water and set aside for about 15 minutes.
I had the camera in my right hand and found I could actually peel the hard-boiled eggs with one hand (my thumb) once I got the shell cracked! They are that easy!
Why We Eat A Lot Of Eggs
I believe we have been given bad (erroneous, poor, faulty) information about eggs!
“Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, good fat, and other nutrients, including choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They are so good for you that you can easily eat one dozen eggs per week, which is actually a simple and cost-effective way to add valuable nutrition to your diet,” according to Dr. Joe Mercola.
Scientific Evidence Of Many Benefits
The evidence clearly shows that eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and can actually help prevent disease, including heart disease. Studies have found that:
- Consumption of more than six eggs per week does not increase the risk of stroke and ischemic stroke.5
- Eating two eggs a day does not adversely affect endothelial function (an aggregate measure of cardiac risk) in healthy adults, supporting the view that dietary cholesterol may be less detrimental to cardiovascular health than previously thought.6
- Proteins in cooked eggs are converted by gastrointestinal enzymes, producing peptides that act as ACE inhibitors (common prescription medications for lowering blood pressure). 7
Now off to ask Alexa ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’.
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