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boiled eggs

A week or so ago I had to make hard boiled eggs. The market didn't have any local eggs, so i had to buy "mainland" eggs (I live in Honolulu). I boiled them over moderate to high heat, and then, since I was in a hurry, cooled them in tap water.

When it came time to peel them, the shells stuck to the egg white like nothing I have ever seen before. about half of the thickness of the egg white peeled off with the eggs, leaving just a thin coating of white over the yolk.

Did I do something wrong cooking them or cooling them, or is it likely they were just "old" eggs.

I ended up making egg salad rather than deviled eggs, fortunately I had bought a loaf of bread when i bought the eggs.

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  1. From personal experience...the fresher the egg the harder it is to peel clean.

    1. Did you let them cool a long time? I find that the sooner I can peel them the easier it goes. Also, did you crack them as soon as you drained them from their boiling water?

        1. Older eggs peel easier than fresh ones as referenced by Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking".

          1. Agree that fresher eggs are often hard to peel.
            That said I am lucky to have a consistent supply of fresh eggs and a few things I do which seem to work:
            Cook 9 min, this gives you a nice yolk, no green here for sure.
            Drain and chill in cold running water, ice if I feel like taking the time.
            Crack each egg all over against the side of my sink, returning to cold water until all are done.
            Roll the cracked egg between your palms and, if you're lucky, you'll feel the shell come away from the egg. -the rolling here is key. Roll gently but with determination.
            Rinse peeled eggs well and lay out to dry briefly.
            Nothing worse than shells in your eggs, for me that = game over.
            Hope this helps!

            1 Reply
            1. re: rabaja

              I'm with you rabaja - I never have a problem EVER if I crack them as I'm running them under cold water, once cracked they can sit in the cold bath until I'm ready for them. If I don't crack them, even if sitting in a cold bath - they are miserable to peel.

            2. thank you all for the input.

              i probably let them cool too long before cracking/peeling.

              i thought id searched for older threads, but i guess typing
              "boiled egg" didn't do it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                yeah, i discovered that "peel" is a better keyword for this search. besides, you should be hard-cooking instead of "boiling" your eggs anyway ;)

                seriously though, super-fresh eggs are always darn near impossible to peel. i stock up in advance and wait until they're near (or even past) the date on the carton before hard-cooking. the shells practically slip off!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I was wondering why mainland eggs would be fresher... but then if I were shipping eggs to Hawaii I'd probably send the freshest I had, whereas the local eggs might well have been in cold storage a week or more.

                  Old eggs peel better because they've lost moisture from evaporation through the shell. Self-defrosting refrigerators also accelerate the process.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Good tip, GHG, hadn't thought of it that way before. But since the eggs are good for a while after the date, maybe that's why I usually don't have much of a hard time peeling them.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      yep, i've learned not to torture myself by using fresh eggs. now they have to be at least *at* or past the date before i'll hard-cook them. the trick is remembering to stock up far enough in advance so i have old ones on hand when i need them!

                2. The mainland eggs are all labeled as being "mainland shell protected" or some such. something they do to treat the shells presumably to prevent evaporation and contamination to keep them fresh longer. No doubt that has some effect on the cooking properties.

                  I'm still gonna buy local eggs whenever I can.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    "shell-protected" just means the eggs have been coated with a thin layer of food-grade mineral oil to replace the egg's natural protective layer ("bloom") that wears away as the egg ages. it shouldn't affect peeling.