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May 31, 2014 02:04 PM

Chicken owners- a question

Do you "age" your eggs to make them easier to peel when hard boiling? If so how long do you age them? and where-the fridge? The counter? The..?

I am curious because a friend has back yard chickens and has tried all the tricks to make peeling the eggs easier. Steaming, baking, etc to no avail. She swears nothing works so she is going to try "aging" them but had no idea of the best way. Any advice?

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  1. If you never refrigerate them, and just keep them on the counter, they will age faster.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Kari-you have chickens?

      By "faster", faster than what? Any real time advice?

      1. re: foodieX2

        No, but my brother has raised them for a few years. Your question, while addressed to chicken owners, would equally apply to folks who get their eggs directly from the farm without commercial washing.

        There are variables in each home and situation. Just for example: I keep my house cook (58F in the winter), not 72F. My fridge is cold, not moderate. Results vary according to the situation. I don't offer any formulas, because they promise more than they deliver. Experiment with one's own situation and stick to those results.

      2. re: Karl S

        Eggs at room temperature age 1 week for every 24 hours they stay at room temp.

      3. Steam. Even fresh eggs peel near perfectly. Here's a current thread Also

        For better results, I leave the eggs on the counter for a few days.

        16 Replies
        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Thanks Fldhk! Had no idea you had chickens. I want them but right now I live vicariously thru my friend, LOL

          I have sent lots of links to her a while back but as I noted in the OP she has tried steaming. She has tried Alton's baking method. She has tried all the various different methods of boiling and even tried an egg cooker to no avail. All the research goes back to letting your eggs age so was hoping the folks here who raise chickens might have some experience in aging freshly laid eggs. Right now she is leaving them on the counter and is going to try boiling after a week.

          1. re: foodieX2

            I don't have chickens I wish. I do have two coworkers who bring me fresh eggs from their chickens. I've steamed eggs they claimed were laid the day before and peeled them without hassle. Do you know if she added the eggs after the water was boiling? Interesting...

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              The method that seemed to result in more eggs peeling easily was to cover the eggs with cold water and put pan over med high heat and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to slow simmer and let it simmer for a minute. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10-12 minutes depending on the number of eggs. Remove from pan and plunge into ice water. Her track record with this method is about a third of the eggs will be easy to peel or at least easier to peel.

              BTW, they are lovers of deviled eggs which is why she is trying so hard. And I am too so selfishly I want to help out!

              1. re: foodieX2

                If you read the Serious Eats link, you'll see that what you describe is contradicted by Kenji's extensive testing. What his piece boils down to (intended) is that the eggs need to be shocked by starting with sudden heat and ending with immediate chilling. Doesn't matter if you boil, bake, or steam. Doesn't matter if the eggs are just-bought or old, with the caveat that ones you get from a local raiser, that may be no more than a couple of days old, are better off held for a couple of weeks before hard-cooking.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Yes, this is why I asked if the eggs were added after the water was boiling. My method: boil water, add eggs, cover and steam, douse in chilled water.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    I think the most important part for peeling, is shocking the cooked eggs in cold water. I think it looseness the membrane from the shell and makes for easy peeling. There is no difference in the age of the egg for me.

                  2. re: greygarious

                    +1. Chicken owner here and that is the most fool proof method I've tried.

                  3. re: foodieX2

                    If egg are added to water and cooked, that's simmering, not steaming. Steaming eggs will result in cooked eggs that are easy to peel. They need to be above the water and actually steamed.

                    1. re: John E.

                      Yes, once again, the steam method! I wish I could gather some more believers

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        I have success with steaming, too, but not more than adding to a pot of boiling water and steeping off-heat.
                        If I'm cooking pasta (also by the steeping method, to which *I* wish I could gather more converts!), I'll add a few eggs to simultaneously hard-cook, while I'm at it.
                        If I'm steaming vegetables, I do the eggs *that* way.

                      2. re: John E.

                        Repeating myself. She tried the steaming method using a bamboo steamer over a wok. The results wre no better and often worse.

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Yea, it's interesting. Are there any other chickens down the street? Try with those eggs :)

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            Still picking the nit here: if she put refrigerated eggs into a steamer over already-boiling water, kept them there for 11 minutes, then plunged them into ice water, that would be the steaming method being recommended here. If she used room temp eggs there MIGHT have been more problems. If the burner was cold when she put the pot containing the steamer, water, and eggs onto it, that's a BIG difference. The slow heating that would result from such a method would encourage the shells to stick. Ditto if after steaming she just left them to cool at room temp.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              To be honest she is done "wasting" eggs experimenting with methods she has already experimented with a number of times. She wants deviled eggs, not egg salad which is one of the few things badly peeled eggs are good for.

                              I was trying to be a good friend and was hoping to give her some advice on whether to a) age on counter or in fridge and b) aprox aging time.

                              Thanks to all who have contributed, even if the questions never got answered, LOL. It's been a trip.

                              1. re: foodieX2

                                Did you read the egg steaming thread? I have never used a bamboo steamer, but a pasta kettle with the insert and an inch of simmering water works perfectly every time. Steam the cold eggs for 13 minutes then plunge them into a sink with ice water for 5 minutes. Then place them on the counter on a towel. I have done this with egvs that are a few days old with good results. The other option is to keep the eggs in the refrigerator for two or three weeks and then steam, don't simmer, the eggs.

                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  Okay, I'll try again - maybe you don't know the answers to the points I, and others, made, and maybe your friend should sign up and post directly. But you say she is only having success with a third of her eggs and if that is the case, she is currently "wasting" - your words - plenty of eggs. Since so many of us rarely encounter a problem egg when using the procedures summarized in the Serious Eats piece, I am reasonably sure your friend is doing *something* divergent in her steaming/boiling methods. That said, I'm outta here.

                  4. Mom keeps chickens, and her boyfriend uses the "boil in heavily salted water" technique. Works every time, even on eggs we've just brought in.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tacosandbeer

                      I am now getting the idea she must have very unique chickens and/or eggs, LOL. The salted method combined with the shaking the pan to slightly crack the egg, allowing the water to help with the membrane separation just made salty eggs (which turned into really good egg salad)

                    2. I have raised chickens in the past ... but I am not an expert.

                      AGING an egg is easiest understood as "drying an egg out". If you leave an egg in your refrigerator for a very long time (several years), that egg will have a shell perfectly intact, be completely hollow, and have NO liquid contents. When an egg "ages", it essentially dries out. As it ages, the albumin and the yolk begin to dry out and draw the inner membrane away from the shell and create this big (or bigger) air cell. You'll find that eggs with big air cells are those easiest to peel. FRESH eggs have a small air cell, they're jam packed with albumin, and can be problematic to peel for just this reason.

                      Eggs have a porous shell, and they need to "dry" in order to be easiest to peel. Your eggs will age just fine in the fridge, but you'll need to be patient. If you're a stickler with expiration dates, then aging eggs isn't for you.

                      1. I have chickens. I hard boil eggs weekly. I steam them 14 minutes, then toss them in ice water, cracking the shells a bit.
                        I never have any problem peeling them. They turn out perfect, even on eggs that are laid the same morning. The shells almost fall off.