How To Properly Peel A Hard Boiled Egg
By Dr. Renae Norton
There are several critical things when it comes to peeling a hard boiled egg. I honestly don’t think it starts with how fresh the egg is, but I don’t know that for sure because the eggs I use are very fresh as I get them directly from the farm. They are pastured chickens.
There is also an old wives tale that the eggs need to be at room temperature. I don’t think so. I have tried it both ways and it does not appear to make a difference. I do take the eggs out for about five minutes before putting them in the boiling water.
The other thing that you need to know is a little about the anatomy of the hard boiled egg. Just beneath the shell there is a very thin membrane that you have to get under without digging into the skin of the egg itself. If you don’t get under the membrane it’s very difficult to get the shell off of the egg without messing up your egg. If you do get under the membrane, the shell practically removes itself.
- My first recommendation is that you have the water at a high boil when you add the eggs to the water. I use a slotted spoon to drop the eggs in one at a time as quickly as possible so they’re all in there for the same amount of time.
- Turn the heat down a little bit once the water is boiling again after the all the eggs have been added but make sure that it is still at a boil.
- Boil the eggs for 13 minutes. This is a hard boil.
- Take the pan off the stove and put it next to the faucet in the sink without dumping the water. In other words, leave the eggs in the hot water until you peel them. I believe the hotter they stay until the moment they are peeled the easier they are to peel.
- I run warm water continuously while I’m peeling the eggs partly to keep from burning my fingers but also because it helps to separate the shell. This is Key. I believe this is the make or break issue. Because while I am peeling the egg the water is instrumental in separating the shell and the membrane that is right beneath the shell from the egg itself. Once you get under that membrane it’s usually very easy to remove the entire shell with no gouges. If you don’t get beneath that membrane you are more likely to accidentally take a chunk out of the egg itself.
- I begin by gently banging the egg on the side of the sink to crack it all over. I usually start with one end or the other as there is often an air pocket on one end which makes it even easier to get beneath the membrane attached to the shell of the egg. You can’t count on the air pocket though as it isn’t always there.
- When the eggs are still hot, which again is the best time to peel them, and you thump them on the side of the sink to crack the shell you may actually remove half of the shell at one time if you hit it just right! That’s a great joyous event when it happens.
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