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What causes hard to peel eggs?

DH says I overcooked the eggs, but I boiled them according to the only thing I learned in Home Ec.

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  1. Really fresh eggs are hard to peel.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Always was taught the same thing...the fresher the egg, the more difficult to peel.

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Yep. That's why people with chickens set aside eggs to age them for hard boiling. To determine if your eggs are "too fresh", chuck them in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will lay flat on the bottom, and older eggs will sit more upright/on a slant (because of the air pocket that forms as an egg ages). If they just float outright, I'd toss them.

      2. My Gran taught me to bring my eggs up to a boil with a little vinegar, turn them off and let them sit for 15 min for perfect yellow yolks. I've played with how to peal them especially since we got chickens and have found that doing the boil per Gran is good but to peel I run a little cold water in the pan just to bring them to a temperature I can handle. Tap the top and bottom of the egg and all around on the sink. Splash under temperate water and peel/rub the shell with your thumb starting by pinching off the top or bottom. Usually it all comes off clean. If the eggs get too cool run them under hot water so the egg will separate from the shell.

        1. Shock them in cold water. Heat of the eggs + cold = steam which separates the egg from the shell.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Evilbanana11

            only do a quick shock. if you leave them in the cold water too long that membrane will shrink back up, and it adheres like nobody's business!

            1. re: Evilbanana11

              When the eggs don't cooperate I go a step further. Shock them in ice water, then return to the boiling water for 10 seconds or so, then back into the ice water. Seems to make a difference.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                Good point A.

                There was one PIE (Pain in the Egg) the other night. Jfood was able to get the membrane broken on the flat end but then he encountered some resistance. He ran hot water into the opening and the membrane slowly started to release from the white.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  That's the standard technique Julia Child gives for treating boiled eggs.
                  This might be my imagination, but I also find eggs which have been pricked before cooking to be much easier to peel.

              2. although jfood has read on and on about older eggs, jfood makes 12 hard boiled eggs every weekend and he uses the eggs straight from the store. Each week (except on) all 12 came out perfect. The one week that he trouble (oh boy did little jfood let him have it) with the eggs he used those that were in the fridge for a week.

                So this may not qualify for a perfect experiment but the fresh rom the store have worked perfectly for jfood for months.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  Interestingly enough, the USDA rule is that the packing date of the eggs must be no more than 45 days before the sell by date on the egg carton. So even if that date on the eggs that you buy at the store is a week or two away, those eggs are likely at least a month old already.

                  Just an interesting fact. :-)

                  1. re: wendy8869

                    thanks W. the eggs jfood cooked yesterday had the date on the carton of dec 28th. would these be new or old eggs?

                    1. re: jfood

                      I have no idea what age would be required for easy HB peeling, whether yours are considered new or old. It would be an interesting experiment to get eggs that are different ages and see which week starts the easy peeling. I just thought it was interesting that we could all be buying month old eggs at the grocery store. The first time I heard that in my food safety class at university it stuck in my memory. Also, the packing date could depend on the packer... usda says no more than 45 days at max to the sell by but the egg packer could technically put in something less than that. Another thing is that the USDA recommends we use the eggs within 3 to 5 weeks after we buy them, regardless of that date. So having two month old eggs in the fridge is probably considered definitely old. :-)

                2. Certified Becky Home Ecky teacher here...the cooking process causes the membrane under the shell that holds the egg and yolk together to shrink away from the shell.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: rettoc

                    A trick to have nice yellow yolks, not ugly green things. Use a push pin and make a hole on the big end of the egg. Lets the gas out that makes yolks green. Works every time.

                    1. re: yakitat jack

                      A trick to have nice yellow yolks, not ugly green things. Use a push pin and make a hole on the big end of the egg

                      The green ring in the yolk is cause by cooking the egg too long and causing a chemical reaction that releases the sulfur in the yolk. That rotten egg smell is sulfur dioxide.

                    2. re: rettoc

                      McGee actually had a few paragraphs inhis book about the color of the yolk having to do with the length of cooking.

                      Likewise there was a thread a few weeks ago that related to the type of feed the chicken ate and the relationship to the yolk color. You may want to do a search on that topic if it is of interest.