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peeling FRESH eggs

So I have a source for really fresh eggs (1-2 days) they are incredible and I can't see going back. They make the BEST egg salad. The problem is peeling them. Because they are fresh the membrane between the shell and egg is really strong. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Not really. I have layer chickens. I also love egg salad. I have the best luck with peeling eggs when I boil them and cool them in an ICE water bath until completely cold. They are going to be harder to peel than old eggs. They just are.

    I think ice is the key, though.

    1. Here's an article by Julia Child about cooking and peeling hard boiled eggs:

      Parade magazine St. Joseph News-Press - Mar 21, 1982

      1. Since you want them for egg salad, why must they be peeled? Once cooled, just cut them in half and scoop out the egg with a spoon. If you're careful you'll end up with mostly intact halves that you can then chop for egg salad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: janniecooks

          Brilliant-----just cut in 1/2 and scoop out!! Gotta' try this trick.

        2. Get the water boiling before you add the eggs.

          1. Theoretically, eggs are more acidic when fresh so the shell sticks. Older eggs lose the acidity so the shell doesn't. If you add baking soda to the water, it'll help with the acidity. I've never tried it in practice, though. It also helps to shock the eggs after cooking by plunging them in ice water immediately.

            1 Reply
            1. I have chickens. When I want boiled eggs, I have to plan ahead. I wash the eggs, put them in the fridge for 2 or 3 WEEKS, and then cook them. They peel like a dream, and taste great.

              The trick is to let the contents of the egg dehydrate a little. Fresh eggs have a 'bloom'--a coating deposited by the hen as the egg is laid that keeps the contents from dehydrating--important for making chicks, but not so good for making boiled eggs.

              Wash them in water just little warmer than the egg, with just a drop of unscented detergent or soap, to remove that bloom. Cool water might cause the egg to c toontract, drawing surface dirt into the egg. Put them in the fridge, preferably in a cardboard egg carton, or loosely covered in a bowl, for a couple weeks.

              No need to refrigerate fresh, unwashed eggs--just keep them in a cool place. Eggs are designed by mother nature to remain fresh for at least 3 weeks--that is how long incubation takes. Unfertilized eggs in the nest HAVE to remain fresh-a rotten egg would attract predators or burst, spreading bacteria everywhere. I have incubated eggs. Eggs that do not hatch after 21 days mostly look and smell just fine.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sparrowgrass

                Thanks for the washing tip. I have been buying fresh eggs from a lady that raises chickens and have had a hard time peeling them. I usually let them sit in the refrigertor for two to tree weeks and still have difficulty peeling them - I'll have to try washing the next bunch I get from her.

                I made the last batch in my food steamer and they did peel a bit easier and cooked perfectly.

                1. re: sparrowgrass

                  We also get eggs from our own chickens. I take out the oldest eggs from the frig (that were washed with water only on day of lay) and leave them in the carton on the counter for 4-7 days depending on how long the eggs were in the frig-usually 1-2 wks old. They peel fine then when boiled. I don't worry too much about eggs not being refrigerated unless the shell is cracked because I know how old they are.

                2. We have chickens and I always poke a hole in the fat end of the egg with a tack before hard boiling. Works like a charm.

                  1. I agree with either "aging" the eggs, or not being too picky about how neatly you peel for egg salad.

                    But sometimes I'll try to crack the egg all over, and kind of gently pick off the membrane along with the pieces of shell, then give the egg a quick rinse to make sure all the bits of shell get off of it.

                    1. Just once, try lowering the (very fresh) egg into boiling water. After it is cooked to your preference cool in cold tap water before peeling. Doesn't it kind of defeat the purpose of "fresh" eggs to let them sit in the refrigerator three weeks before cooking?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kengk

                        with very fresh eggs, the membrane is very tough, and it is very, very difficult to peel them without destroying the egg.

                        I haven't tried it with chicken eggs, but I peel quail eggs by rolling them gently to crack the shells all over, then putting them into cool tap water (doesn't even need to be cold) Let them sit for a few minutes -- the water gets into the cracks and works its way between the membrane and the white-- it's not 100% failsafe, but it helps a lot.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I use that method with chicken eggs.

                          For quail eggs I had read that adding vinegar to the water used for hard boiling helped soften the shells - seemed to work! Perhaps it would help with super fresh chicken eggs?

                          1. re: meatn3

                            I tried vinegar -- no noticeable difference.

                            The dog is peeved, though -- he doesn't get nearly as many wrecked quail eggs as he used to.

                        2. re: kengk

                          Over easies or scrambled--the fresher the better. But I cannot stand bits of membrane on my hard boiled eggs, and I hate having half the white peel off with the shell, so I will continue to 'age' my fresh eggs. My deviled eggs, made with 'real' eggs, are way superior to grocery store eggs of any age!

                          1. re: sparrowgrass

                            I agree. I had to resort to "store" purchased eggs a few weeks ago, and though they peeled easily, they were so gross and tasteless I ended up making spicy egg salad with them.

                        3. I thought the trick was to peel them under a tiny stream of water from the tap. The water gets under the membrane, making peeling a breeze.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: chocolatetartguy

                            putting them in a bowl of water accomplishes the same thing without using so much water.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              just saw this, and thanks for the tip - i always did the running water trick as well, but this way there's less guilt over wasting so much water!

                          2. If you happen to have a pressure cooker, that is purported to make them much easier to peel. If they're for egg salad, you can also cut the egg in half and scoop with a spoon.

                            1. Have you ever tried the Jacques Pepin method, as I call it? Start your eggs in cold water, bring to boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit for about 15 min. Drain off the water, return eggs to the pan, and toss and swirl to crack the shells as much as you can without beating them up. Add cool, not cold, water to cover, and let them sit awhile. The shells usually slip off pretty easily, regardless of the freshness.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                This is what I do - which I discovered by happy accident. (I dropped a pot in the sink after a too-warm handle got the best of me & thought I was the cleverest girl in the world afterward.)

                              2. How time consuming is it?

                                I have an answer.

                                I made six hard boiled eggs for Mr Shallots from eggs that were just out of the chickens down the road. He took them with him to our boat in another state. A wreck on the interstate left he and thousands of other people sitting by the road for three hours.

                                He reported that it took him two hours to peal and eat the eggs with no untensils other than his pocket knife.

                                1. try steaming them. set them in a steamer basket over boiling water (be sure to leave enough space between the eggs so the steam can circulate), cover the pot, and follow the same timetable as you would for water-cooked eggs.

                                  use the cold-shock method to chill them quickly as soon as the timer goes off. they should be easier to peel.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Fresh eggs simply aren't going to peel cleanly, regardless of the "secret method." It's all basic chemistry. Harold McGee has a firly massive chapter on eggs in "On Food and Cooking." As noted above it has everything to do with the low pH of the albumen in fresh eggs which causes the albumen to stick to the membrane. As the albumen pH increases it sticks to itself more tightly than it does to the membrane, allowing for easy peeling. McGee says a pH in the albumen of 9.2 is ideal and can usually be reached several days after laying.

                                  2. Combining and disregarding several ideas-- my experience is based upon the 10+ years when we had hens, and the eggs were never more than a week old when we wanted to do "presentation deviled eggs."

                                    We did eggs from the fridge, cold water to boil, sit covered 15, run very cold [from the well] water in pot for 5-6 minutes [I shudder now at how much water that was].
                                    I'm not sure if any of that mattered, but I want to give the process.

                                    ~I~ was always the person who got to stand around and peel the eggs since I "did the best job" [as I would have been in the way of everyone else in the kitchen without A JOB].

                                    My technique-- make one abrupt crack in the shell and then softly roll the egg until the shell was in as many tiny tiny tiiiiiiny particles as possible.
                                    Return each egg to the pot of cold water.
                                    When the 12-18 eggs were all back into the pot, "Massage" the eggs underwater and the membrane and the shell will come off.
                                    You can't be in a hurry.

                                    1. Anybody ever try my method of dropping a cold egg into boiling water? It works.

                                      1. I thought from the title that this was a thread about peeling uncooked ("fresh") eggs. Now that would be impressive. It's easy to do chemically (e.g. with vinegar) but how about doing it manually/physically?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: drongo

                                          I've done it once by hand, but from a hen who laid thin shelled eggs.

                                        2. After I read on Chowhound about steaming eggs, I haven't boiled an egg since.
                                          I peel a LOT of eggs.
                                          And I am fortunate enough in that my cheapest source of eggs is also the freshest.

                                          I have been peeling eggs for 40 years and only discovered steaming them recently.
                                          There is a similar comment upthread.
                                          I'm just here to second the steaming recommendation.

                                          Steam for the same amount of time you would boil them. Quick cold water bath and peel immediately.
                                          Tapping all the way around so the shell is cracked in many places.
                                          It seems to me that eggs peel best also when the egg itself is still a little bit warm because it still has a little softness and give to the white part.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Sparklebright

                                            I had to peel 2 dozen two day old eggs last weekend and this method peeled 23 of them perfectly.
                                            I started the eggs in cold water, brought to a boil, boiled one minute, covered and let sit 15 minutes.
                                            I rinsed them in three changes of cold water, let them sit 15 min, cracked shells by banging tham together in the pot, then easily peeled all but one.

                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                              what happened to the last one? (sorry, I have to ask)

                                            2. re: Sparklebright

                                              I recently discovered the steamer basket method too and have never looked back. They peel perfectly EVERY time. I peel them immediately after coming out of the pot. You could probably ice them down and peel them later too. I had gotten SO frustrated trying every boiling method including my mom's who ate a hard boiled egg every day of her life for 30 years and had it down pat. She now steams her eggs too.

                                              I just got two dozen fresh eggs from neighbors, so that will be the ultimate test.

                                              The beauty of this method too (aside from it working) is that it is so simple and not at all time consuming. We have egg salad a lot now!

                                            3. We purchased eggs from pastured chicken from out local farmers' market. Being not the biggest egg consumers, we hardboiled a couple of them 2 weeks later, on 2 separate occasions. The eggs were stored in the fridge.

                                              The hardboiling method was to put the eggs in cold water and let the water come to a boil, cover the pan, remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes.

                                              The eggs were then gentlhy put into an ice bath, ie water in a bowl witn a lot of ice for 10 minutes first try, 30 minutes 2nd try. The ice did not completely melt so the water should have been cold enough.

                                              The eggs, despite being aged, were almost impossible to peel for either of us.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Ianto2000

                                                Quote lanto2000. "Thoughts"

                                                Try bringing your water to a rolling boil and then dropping the eggs in.

                                              2. You could try the gadget called "Eggies"!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Main Line Tracey

                                                  Lol. Have you?
                                                  I did.
                                                  I suppose it is an option if you are only doing a few and if it's your kind of thing.

                                                  The place where I bought them had a no return policy and rather than curse someone else I pitched them in the garbage!!!
                                                  I have bought some very cool and useful gadgets.
                                                  Eggies was certainly not one of them!!

                                                2. I had to peel eggs every day as my Dad was on a very restricted diet and eggs were one of the few things he could eat. One day I just got fed up and and sliced the egg in two with a knife and I scooped it out. After that I just continued to cut and scoop.

                                                  1. I use a pressure cooker for farm fresh eggs, which is all I can get!
                                                    Put 2 inches water in the pc, bring to a simmer, add the eggs and attach the lid. Give them 6 minutes of pressure cooking after the steam comes up, and let them cool normally, or under cold water if you are in a hurry.

                                                    The extreme steam causes the lining to go to the shell, makiing for an easy peel with no green coating on the yolk.