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How to Peel Hard-boiled Eggs without Peeling
July 3, 2011 12:22 PM   Subscribe

How to Peel Hard-boiled Eggs without Peeling by Tim Ferriss.
posted by nickyskye (115 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow! Blew my mind. Now I want to try that.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:27 PM on July 3, 2011


Someday I'll stop getting Tim Ferriss confused with Timothy Ferris. Today is not that day.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:28 PM on July 3, 2011


See, I find that if I rapidly cool my hardboiled eggs (without baking soda), all I have to do is just roll the egg on the counter and the shell peels right off, easy peasy mac-and-cheesy. This works for super-fresh farm eggs as well as dubious grocery store eggs.
posted by KathrynT at 12:34 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Boiling eggs now.

Must attempt!
posted by 26.2 at 12:34 PM on July 3, 2011


Oh, go blow an egg.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:34 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I started boiling eggs before I saw this post. Now I'm cursing the lack of baking soda in the house.
posted by dabitch at 12:35 PM on July 3, 2011


I've seen this method in videos before, but I've never gotten it to work. I guess I just suck at blowing.

Also, you get mouth germs all over the eggs. Fine if you're eating them, but if you're serving others...maybe not so much.
posted by phunniemee at 12:36 PM on July 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


I prefer the suck it out method. Goes right down your throat. Skip out the middle man!
posted by dobbs at 12:37 PM on July 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


holy fuck I literally, no less than 20 minutes ago, while making deviled eggs and bemoaning the fact that I HATE PEELING hard boiled eggs because I am TERRIBLE at it, decided that later today I would post an Ask.me to figure it out once and for all
posted by nathancaswell at 12:38 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I HATE PEELING hard boiled eggs because I am TERRIBLE at it

AskMetafilter is your friend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:41 PM on July 3, 2011


holy fuck I literally, no less than 20 minutes ago, while making deviled eggs and bemoaning the fact that I HATE PEELING hard boiled eggs because I am TERRIBLE at it,

Wow! I did too!

I buy my eggs already hard boiled and shelled.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:43 PM on July 3, 2011


This is rad, but he doesn't say how long to leave the egg in the water with the baking soda.

And I'm lazy.
posted by device55 at 12:43 PM on July 3, 2011


My boy can eat fiddy of them aigs.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


I am not sure if there was something different about the shells, but in Dakar when I would get an egg sandwich, they would crack the egg, roll it between their palms a few times, and then just peel off the entire shell at once like a blanket.
posted by Nothing at 12:48 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there anything Tim Ferris can't do better.
posted by stbalbach at 12:48 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's another tip (there's some science behind it, apparently...something about the membrane pulling away from the shell): don't boil new eggs. Use ones that have been in the fridge for at least a week.
posted by kozad at 12:51 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have found that immediately cooling the eggs in ice water makes the peeling process pretty straightforward. The eggs themselves remain warm, especially on the interior, too.
posted by kenko at 12:51 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What nothing said.

Rolling the egg palm down along the bench is even faster.
posted by fire&wings at 12:53 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



I never bother to boil eggs anymore. Stolen from a website that clipped it from one of Alton Brown's books:

1. Position the oven racks in the center of the oven.
2. Place the eggs on the racks.
3. Place a baking sheet pan in the bottom of the oven (just in case an egg breaks).
4. Set the oven to 325F, and bake for 30 minutes.
5. When the eggs are done, fill a large bowl with ice water and move the eggs into the bowl.
6. Peel the eggs as soon as they're cool enough to handle, then return them to the ice water to thoroughly chill.

As kozad says, use eggs that are a week old or so for best results.
posted by curious nu at 12:53 PM on July 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Am I the only person who likes peeling eggs? I mean, first you get to smash it all around and then you pick and peel; humans love to pick at things! It's like picking a scab but you end up with a snack instead of a bloody knee.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:54 PM on July 3, 2011 [53 favorites]


1. Position the oven racks in the center of the oven.
2. Place the eggs on the racks.
3. Place a baking sheet pan in the bottom of the oven (just in case an egg breaks).
4. Set the oven to 325F, and bake for 30 minutes.


HOT TIP

When you do this, put the eggs in water; it helps maintain a constant temperature. Also, instead of doing it for 30 minutes, do it for about 300.
posted by kenko at 12:55 PM on July 3, 2011 [28 favorites]


If the cook has the flu or a cold incubating but asymptomatic as yet, wouldn't this little trick coat the eggs with virus?
posted by longsleeves at 12:56 PM on July 3, 2011


I don't even like eggs but that video was pretty neat! I once dated a guy who would make large batches of pickled eggs on a regular basis and he hated peeling the hard boiled eggs. I bought him this contraption and it worked great.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:02 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The soda thing smells like bullshit to me. How does the pH of water outside of the shell affect anything inside of the shell?
posted by middleclasstool at 1:06 PM on July 3, 2011


It's like picking a scab but you end up with a snack instead of a bloody knee.

I'll never eat boiled eggs again.
posted by vidur at 1:06 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


kenko, this week I am making 5-hour eggs.
posted by curious nu at 1:08 PM on July 3, 2011


Wait, peeling an egg is difficult now?
posted by ciderwoman at 1:18 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is rad, but he doesn't say how long to leave the egg in the water with the baking soda.

He says, "This is key, when you put the water in, throw in a few teaspoons of baking soda."
Um...put the water in? The water in the pot to boil the eggs? Or the cold water to cool the eggs in? I'm konfoosed.
posted by NoMich at 1:19 PM on July 3, 2011


Wait, peeling an egg is difficult now?

Yes. It always has been for me. When I peel the eggs, it seems that most of the egg sticks to the bits of shell that I'm picking off. It's very frustrating.
posted by NoMich at 1:20 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I peel the eggs, it seems that most of the egg sticks to the bits of shell that I'm picking off

I guess I've just been lucky. I tap it on the base, then pick the shell of under the cold tap, never had a problem. Or maybe it's just my ninja like eggspertise.
posted by ciderwoman at 1:24 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, peeling an egg is difficult now?

Not just that, a whole range of tasks previously considered simple are now impossible to do without the aid of an instructional video. Allow me to introduce you to a popular "productivity" website - lifehacker.com - that teaches you to get more out of your life with the aid of simple "life hacks" like "Pit Cherries in a Pinch with Chopsticks" and "Estimate the Temperature from a Cricket’s Chirp". Feeling better already, aren't you? It's a brave new productive world out there!
posted by vidur at 1:26 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


4. Set the oven to 325F, and bake for 30 minutes.

I suppose one should do the math, but it seems to me that bringing a litre of water to boil (212F) and immersing eggs in it for a few minutes seems far more energy efficient than warming an oven to 325F and then running it for 30 minutes.
posted by three blind mice at 1:39 PM on July 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


"I understand the technique of eccentricity; it would be futile for a man to labor at establishing a reputation for oddity if he were ready at the slightest provocation to revert to normal action."

— Nero Wolfe.
posted by clavdivs at 1:40 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Putting the hot boiled eggs into cold water once they're finished cooking will also loosen the shells without the baking soda. Salt in the water also helps.

But mostly, it's cooling the eggs right down that does it; stick the eggs in ice water and leave them there for a while.
posted by jrochest at 1:41 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The real challenge is peeling soft-boiled eggs. I have ruined countless grade-A larges in the quest for a foolproof system of doing it.
posted by polymodus at 1:41 PM on July 3, 2011


Yes, peeling an egg is apparently SO DIFFICULT that someone invented Eggies (warning, autoplaying video), which cook a raw, cracked egg in the shape of a hard-boiled egg.
posted by so_gracefully at 1:42 PM on July 3, 2011


I'll never eat boiled eggs again.

Sorry mate, didnt mean to put you off your boiled chicken periods.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:42 PM on July 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


The soda thing smells like bullshit to me. How does the pH of water outside of the shell affect anything inside of the shell?

I'm not sure how it works, but I can vouch that putting a teaspoon or so of cooking oil in the water as the eggs cook also makes them easier to peel. Maybe the shell is more permeable than it seems.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:43 PM on July 3, 2011


Wait, peeling an egg is difficult now?

What are you, some kind of a wizard or something?
posted by ernielundquist at 1:45 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


His cooking method of "12 minutes on low boil" is unnecessarily complicated. The easy, lazy way to get perfect hard-boiled eggs every time is this:

Put cold water in a metal pot that has a lid. Put cold eggs in pot. You can add baking soda if you like, I guess. I add a splash of white vinegar.

PLace on stove, turn to high. Cover.

The second the lid rattles, remove the lid, take the pot off the heat.

Walk away.

Come back when it's cool. Your hard-boiled eggs will be perfect. None of that greenish sulfuric tinge, just lovely yellow yolk.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:45 PM on July 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


How does the pH of water outside of the shell affect anything inside of the shell?

I don't recall the specifics of what can pass through, but egg shells are extremely porous. If you seal a truffle with some fresh eggs in the fridge, you will get truffle-flavored eggs after a few days. There are many other applications of this interesting fact.
posted by polymodus at 1:46 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


ernielundquist, that is awesome.

The only eggs I ever had difficulty peeling (wtf? I really have to stop going on the internet) are quails eggs, which I do love to eat with smoked salmon. Now they're tricky little blighters.
posted by ciderwoman at 1:48 PM on July 3, 2011


I suppose one should do the math, but it seems to me that bringing a litre of water to boil (212F) and immersing eggs in it for a few minutes seems far more energy efficient than warming an oven to 325F and then running it for 30 minutes.

Back of the envelope calculation without accounting for time/heat loss shows water being about 3.5 time worse, actually. My guess is that heat loss is roughly comparable, and the extra time probably doesn't offset the difference.

This is definitely true if doing very large batches of eggs, as the water method doesn't scale as well.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 1:49 PM on July 3, 2011


The second the lid rattles, remove the lid, take the pot off the heat.

And if my lid is heavier or tighter-fitting than yours?
posted by kenko at 1:52 PM on July 3, 2011


Delicious on any cold day:

2 soft boiled eggs (peeled of course)
1 piece of wheat bread cut or torn into little pieces
salt
pepper

Recipe: Mash all of that stuff together. Mmmm.
posted by notion at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Delicious on any cold day:

I'll see you and raise you:

1 small bowl of cooked pasta drizzeled with olive oil.
1 poached egg on top
salt and pepper.
posted by device55 at 1:57 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


What the what?

You use a thumbtack to prick the end of the egg before you put them in the pan. Just poke a little hole, just breaking the shell, don't go drilling for oil or anything. When you do this the boiling water can get between the shell and the membrane and after the eggs cool down the shell just falls off once you crack it.

No chemicals, no fancy cooking.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:01 PM on July 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


Not just that, a whole range of tasks previously considered simple are now impossible to do without the aid of an instructional video.

It wasn't until late in the 21st century that mankind understood the horrible ramifications of cutting funding for Home Economics classes.
posted by device55 at 2:02 PM on July 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Boil eggs like you normally would.

As soon as they are done (I usually do 8-10 minutes at a good boil), put them into an ice water batch immediately, and then peel them after they've sat for 5 minutes.

The ice water will stop the cooking (keep the grey yolk syndrome from happening), and will cause the solid egg to shrink inside the shell and pull away to make easy peeling.

Pretty simple, really.

Also --

MetaFilter: you get mouth germs all over
posted by hippybear at 2:02 PM on July 3, 2011


The real challenge is peeling soft-boiled eggs. I have ruined countless grade-A larges in the quest for a foolproof system of doing it.

Polymodus, what works for me is to carefully peel a bit off both ends, then slide the tip of a spoon around inside between the egg and the peel. Soft-boiled eggs are usually still kind of flexible, and once you've gotten the spoon inside a bit you break the vacuum and the egg slips out.

Then you put the perfect, unbroken egg on top of some toast, take it to the table, and attack it gleefully with a fork all Sweeney Todd style, spattering runny yolk all over the place. Good times.
posted by amy lecteur at 2:04 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've never had a huge problem peeling eggs, either. I've mucked them up from time to time, but not frequently enough to seek remedial solutions or anything.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, is exactly like those people in the Eggstractor infomercial. All I can think is that he's just smashing them on his forehead or something. I'll hear all these explosions and car wrecks in the kitchen, then I find him, standing haplessly in front of the compost bin, all covered in egg guts.

That's pretty much why we decided to move in together. He can't peel eggs, and I can't grate cheese, so we're sort of mutual, limited purpose service animals.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:17 PM on July 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


And if my lid is heavier or tighter-fitting than yours?

Then when the pot hits a rolling boil remove the eggs from the heat.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:17 PM on July 3, 2011


Hard boil them, throw them in cold water to cool, grab still warm batch and put in bowl. Sit down in front of book or whatever, grab one, smash base against a knuckle and peel. Check for random bits of shell that may have been missed and enjoy in two or three bite goodness.
Smashing the base is the pertinent part. You can use your base middle knuckle, or one of the 2nd segment knuckles, so it actually displaces some shell from itself by making an indented hole. You then have an edge you can strip large pieces of the shell from egg.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:21 PM on July 3, 2011


All I can think is that he's just smashing them on his forehead or something.

TROY MCCLURE: Until now, this was the only way to get juice from an orange!

HOMER (smashing an orange against his head): You mean there's a better way?
posted by kenko at 2:26 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Next question: how do you boil an emu egg?
posted by kozad at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2011


His solution is to outsource it, right?
posted by knile at 2:29 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Metafilter's own GregNog already covered this without all the pesky talking.
posted by Maaik at 2:39 PM on July 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


This is silly. The absolute easiest way to get a boiled egg out of its shell is to cook it in the microwave on high for five minutes. It peels itself!
posted by orme at 2:39 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


i had read that boiling eggs in an amount of vinegar (dont know the amount) causes the egg shell to be easily removed
posted by robbyrobs at 2:43 PM on July 3, 2011


Moar egg science.
posted by warbaby at 2:44 PM on July 3, 2011


My favorite way to handle soft boiled eggs is with an eleven foot pole. Gross things.
posted by Splunge at 2:44 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: oven energy: yes, I left out a half-sentence or so. I never bother to boil eggs anymore because I can just cook a dozen or three at a time in the oven in one batch.
posted by curious nu at 2:48 PM on July 3, 2011


I take a cold hard boiled egg and run it under hot water for a few seconds which makes the shell expand (in theory, anyway) and they are a lot easier to peel.
posted by bz at 2:50 PM on July 3, 2011


Lotsa salt in the boiling water, cool 'em quickly, peel while still warm. Shell always comes of in 2 pieces for me that way, though I may try the blowing trick to impress the kids.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:52 PM on July 3, 2011


I use a belt sander.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:55 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just order a catamite to do it for me.
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:01 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Warning, food science follows:

Boiling eggs at high temperature causes the proteins to coagulate faster, causing the egg whites to become rubbery. Further, it makes it more likely to overcook the egg, which is what causes the discolored and dry yolks. The greening happens when the alkaline conditions of the white strip sulfur from the albumen proteins (the albumen is the layer of stuff between the hard shell and the egg white) react with the iron in the surface of the yolk to create ferrous sulfide. If this is what a hard-boiled egg is to you, you haven't lived.

Optimally, they should be cooked at a simmer between 80 and 85˚C. You will instead have a tender, but firm, white and a soft, but still slightly moist (and delicately flavored) egg that will change how you think about eggs. Alternatively, you can also steam them at a gently bubble to produce an even tenderer egg white, this technique also requires less water and energy than straight up boiling (and keeps them from cracking).

The reason many fresh eggs are hard to peel is because they have a relatively low albumen pH, which causes them to adhere to the inner shell membrane than itself. After a few days in the refrigerator, the pH rises to around 9.2, which will peel easily. What you can also do is is let the eggs cool in the refrigerator, before peeling. As far as I know (though I'm not a food scientists, merely an enthusiastic amateur) the rate of temperature drop does not affect how easily it is to peel, it merely lowers the inside temperature to stop the cooking processes within the egg faster (thus preventing it from overcooking).

Cooking in alkaline water raises the pH inside the egg as water enters the shell (note, the egg shell is permeable), however, it also intensifies the sulfury flavors (which I don't like).

All information was from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, pages 87-89.
posted by thebestsophist at 3:16 PM on July 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


Seriously, is anyone going to do this? Because I am not going to do this. Not only do I already have a perfectly good method for boiling and peeling eggs, but that's gross!
posted by trip and a half at 3:37 PM on July 3, 2011


You guys don't remember this from the Ramona Quimbey books??
posted by jschu at 3:46 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look out for the new albumen!

...It's out now.

posted by subbes at 4:05 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kenji Alt-Lopez over at Serious Eats conducted a Perfect Boiled Egg Food Lab experiment including soft and hard boiled eggs.

As far as the pH level of the water goes, he concludes:
It's true that over time, acidic liquid can dissolve the shell of an egg, and that alkaline liquid can both make the egg easier to peel, as well as boost that "rotten egg" aroma, but in the short period that an egg spends boiling, pH has little to nothing to do with how the egg cooks. Just use plain tap water; don't bother with vinegar or baking soda.

polymodus: "The real challenge is peeling soft-boiled eggs."

Have you tried double-ended egg cups? Seat the egg narrow side down, then just tap the shell with the back of a spoon and start peeling away from the air pocket.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:05 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why do you peel soft boiled eggs? Don't you just cut off one end and then eat them out of the shell with a spoon?
posted by hippybear at 4:12 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


My father, in his bad ass days, showed us kids hos to peel hard boiled eggs.

Crack it against your forehead. Then peel it.

We were awestruck.

He could also change the traffic lights by snapping his fingers and pointing at them.
posted by SLC Mom at 4:22 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


hippybear! How do you slice off the top of a soft-boiled egg? I'm always hearing and reading about this wonderment but I just can't imagine eggshells being knifed or scissored off.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:24 PM on July 3, 2011


How do you slice off the top of a soft-boiled egg

It's easy. With the egg seated in an egg cup, place one finger against the side of the egg. From the opposite side tap once with a spoon. Take a deep breath. Think of England. Push the spoon through to your finger.

Pops right off.
posted by device55 at 4:26 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why do you peel soft boiled eggs?

When I was a little kid I sometimes did it as a game. (Soft boiled eggs were a big thing at my house. Also, only child.)
posted by Room 641-A at 4:31 PM on July 3, 2011


It's easy. With the egg seated in an egg cup, place one finger against the side of the egg. From the opposite side tap once with a spoon. Take a deep breath. Think of England. Push the spoon through to your finger.

Pops right off.


Doesn't it leave little shell bits behind? Biting down on a bit of eggshell in my food gives me the shudders.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:31 PM on July 3, 2011


I said "tell me what I want"
she said "you probably want... hard boiled eggs"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:31 PM on July 3, 2011


Doesn't it leave little shell bits behind? Biting down on a bit of eggshell in my food gives me the shudders.

Thinking of England assures a clean cut. A near perfect circular opening from which you can scoop out molten egg and smear on toast.
posted by device55 at 4:33 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, it works! Nice.
posted by homunculus at 4:39 PM on July 3, 2011


Um... well, when I was living in Germany (the only time I've ever actually had soft boiled eggs), we'd be served the egg in an egg cup. The way they were opened was you tapped the side of the egg about 1/2" down from the top once with the knife, and then do a quick slice through which would remove the top 1/2" of the egg, shell and all, in one clean cut. This was accomplished while holding onto the egg with your other hand, obviously.

The result was a little tiny bit of egg in the cut-off part, and the rest of the egg in the shell. Salt and pepper were added, and the egg was eaten out of the shell with a spoon.

This would be the classic "three minute egg", I believe. Although in the households in which I lived, they were not done in boiling water but in this little egg cooker device which more steamed them than boiled them. Or something.

It's been 25 years since I had one at this point.
posted by hippybear at 4:45 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


These videos from England show two different methods to open soft boiled eggs.
posted by hippybear at 4:48 PM on July 3, 2011


I use the Force. But only when nobody else is watching.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:49 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Soft-boiled eggs are usually still kind of flexible, and once you've gotten the spoon inside a bit you break the vacuum and the egg slips out.

Have you tried double-ended egg cups? Seat the egg narrow side down, then just tap the shell with the back of a spoon and start peeling away from the air pocket.

Thank you, and thank you. I shall try these methods next time.

Why do you peel soft boiled eggs?

For the wow factor. It tugs on people's heartstrings or something, seeing one plopped in the middle of a salad or on top of a plate of beans or noodles.
posted by polymodus at 4:53 PM on July 3, 2011


I have no recipe for deviled eggs that require saliva, so I shan't be doing this trick.
posted by xingcat at 4:53 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am boiling eggs right now in order to make a potato (poh tay toe) salad for tomorrow's festivities.

Instead of slobbering on my eggs like a cave man, I shall attempt to push the egg from it's shell with a well washed thumb.

I shall report back in 20 minutes.
posted by device55 at 4:56 PM on July 3, 2011


When I peel boiled eggs I usually give them a rinse off with running water to get any shell residue off. So, after blowing them out of their shell, I would naturally give them a rinse too for the same reason.
posted by nickyskye at 5:02 PM on July 3, 2011


Perfection through laziness:

1) Put eggs in a pot of plain cold water.
2) Cover the pot, turn heat to high and let it come to a boil.
3) Once at a boil, turn completely off and leave covered pot on the burner for ___ minutes.

==> Mellow types may wander off for a walk, while somewhat more compulsive types can turn on a timer: 10 minutes for fully hardboiled, 7-9 minutes for a little more give, 3 minutes for something suitable for Anglo decapitation.

4) At the appointed time, pour off the hot water, run cold into the pot (no need to fuss with ice, seriously), and CRACK THE EGGS NOW. Leave them in the water for a few more minutes until they're cool enough to handle.

The gentle cooking gives you a yellow yolk with no grey-green ring, and the pre-cracking at the start of cooling lets the water seep in between shell and egg, making it very easy to peel.

No vinegar, ice, salt or baking soda required. If you really want to blow into something for dramatic results, take up duck-calling.
posted by maudlin at 5:12 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I just tried it and maybe I'm old and don't have any lung power anymore, but I couldn't get the egg to blow out of the shell. Might have to work on my technique. Did end up with a mighty tasty potato salad, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:13 PM on July 3, 2011


ATTENTION:

Operation "push the damn egg out with your thumb" is a complete success!

(it does help to roll said egg between palms before pushing)
posted by device55 at 5:21 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


More than once I've made perfect medium-boiled eggs by the following method:

1. Put several eggs in cold water in pot; set on stove; turn on.
2. Take a shower.
3. While drying off remember about the eggs.
4. Hastily remove them from the stove and put in cold water.

Perfect!
posted by kenko at 6:14 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I've heard quite un oeuf on this subject.
posted by unliteral at 6:41 PM on July 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Am I the only person who likes peeling eggs?... It's like picking a scab but you end up with a snack instead of a bloody knee.

Actually, sometimes when picking a scab you get both!
posted by jgscott at 6:47 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


My father's method of cooking eggs dates from ca. 1950s, when he had a coffee percolator. Just put the eggs in the basket with the grounds, and when the coffee was done, so were the eggs. The flavor of the eggs remained unaffected by the coffee. No breakage of shells reported, either.
posted by datawrangler at 8:03 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


On preview: no report about the peeling of the eggs post-coffee grounds cooking method so apologies for the preceding, tasty derail.
posted by datawrangler at 8:04 PM on July 3, 2011


I eat my eggs like Gaston: raw and unpeeled.

When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs
Ev'ry morning to help me get large
And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs
So I'm roughly the size of a barge!

posted by troll at 8:27 PM on July 3, 2011


Seems like an OK method, but there's no reason to boil eggs for 12 minutes! Just put your eggs in the water as he described and bring the water to a boil (a couple minutes), then turn off the heat and put a cover over the pan. Wait 15 minutes. Done.
posted by rmmcclay at 9:15 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was stupid.

Boil 12 eggs with enough water to go 2 inches above the eggs. Toss in 1/4 cup white vinegar. Raise to boil and then turn off with pot on stove for 10 minutes.

Let eggs cool, then peel in one motion. That easy.

Same effect without some bald dude's saliva all over it.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:44 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This method is ridiculous, but the joyous squeak that the egg makes as it pops out of its shell almost makes it worthwhile.
posted by superquail at 11:23 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very impressive I need to try that, but the easiest way I know is simply to hold the egg under running water. The shell comes pretty clean off if you get the technique down.
posted by Skygazer at 11:29 PM on July 3, 2011


The fact that there are so many "NO NO NO, this is the simple way," all with varying degrees of "whatever, go take a shower, or start your timer for exactly x minutes, it doesn't matter," speaks to the relative impossibility of my ever making a decent soft or hard boiled egg except by luck.
posted by rhizome at 12:32 AM on July 4, 2011


BitterOldPunk - are you using gas or electricity to power your stove?
posted by infini at 12:39 AM on July 4, 2011


And do you have anything similar for softboiled (the kind you put in an eggcup and eat wtih buttery toast?
posted by infini at 12:40 AM on July 4, 2011


Salt and pepper were added [...]

hippybear: you're forgetting the butter. (Germans never waste a chance to double-up on protein/umami.) And the "soldiers": toasted bread cut into handy little lengths, to dip into the warm eggness. Gutezeiten...
posted by progosk at 12:57 AM on July 4, 2011


And this is how we overthink a plate of eggs. Gloriously!

On a more serious note, my husband occasionally makes batches of pickled eggs, and the peeling has been the most time consuming part, other than waiting for the pickling to do its thing. He basically makes refrigerator pickles and will throw in garlic cloves, red pepper slices, carrots, etc. Pretty and tasty. Our friends return the pint jars and ask for more. Apparently, no one has gotten ill, thank goodness.

He has spent uncountable amounts of time trying to figure out the timing for the perfect soft-, medium-, hard-boiled eggs and whatever magic is needed to peel them most easily as practice for these marathons of eggs into jars.

He once bought 5 dozen eggs and stored them in the fridge for 2 weeks to help simplify the peeling. Did everything right, we thought, and still... the sticking of the shells, the membranes that wouldn't let go, and the bits of white that came off in clumps. Not to mention the minor pains of egg shells under the fingernails. Ouch.

It all turns out perfectly in the small batches. The problem seems to be when he scales up for the big pickling. We're talking about multiple dozens in BIG stockpots in what would seem to be reasonable batch sizes. I'm going to suggest the baking alternative and see what happens.

I'm happy when a batch of a dozen turn out. Tuna or potato salad for the family or the event and extras as snacks. Hooray.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:58 AM on July 4, 2011


OK, this time my grandmother is going to be impressed.
posted by Segundus at 3:36 AM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Boil eggs? How quaint. Where I live, they sell them already boiled, and dyed easter-style, so you know they're cooked. Tap them all around to shatter the shell, then start the peel at the air bubble, so you get under the membrane from the beginning. Rarely any trouble at all. However, if you don't start right, at the air bubble end, you'll get the kind of results people complain about.
posted by Goofyy at 4:35 AM on July 4, 2011


Where I live, they sell them already boiled

And thus we witness the final step in the complete demise of home cooking.
posted by hippybear at 4:48 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: Could be. Except I also live where "prepared foods" mostly don't exist. I guess folks are too busy cooking real food to bother with boiling the eggs. We have people for that. ;-)
posted by Goofyy at 5:11 AM on July 4, 2011


But if you peel them, you can't turn them upside down in the eggcup when you're done and pretend you have a new egg!
posted by lucidium at 5:57 AM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


lilywing, I was in the same boat with eggs. I could make weeks old eggs hard to peel. I found out that you can crack the eggs at some point when you're cooking them and it makes them perfectly easy to peel, all the time.

You can do it any way you like, boil them for a minute, crack them with a spoon, cook them the rest of the way. Cook them normally, crack the eggs while still in the hot water, bring it back up to a boil for a second, then cool. I think someone upthread said they used a pin to poke the eggs before cooking. Putting cooked eggs in an ice bath probably accomplishes the same thing, but it's easier just to crack them.
posted by stavrogin at 6:22 AM on July 4, 2011


OK, I tried curious nu's oven method and baked 20 eggs for bedeviling today. It worked great! They all peeled easily, even though they were quite fresh organic eggs. The eggs did get little burn marks on the inside where they rested on the oven rack, and some of them had interesting divots all over like the craters of Phobos.

Even though none of the eggs cracked open, there was a stain on the aluminum foil under each egg. They must have oozed some goo out their pores while baking.

They were delicious.
posted by moonmilk at 8:47 PM on July 4, 2011


The energy efficient (and significantly faster) way to make hard/soft boiled eggs:

1) Put about 1-cm of water in a pot that has a properly sealing lid.
2) Put as many eggs as you like that will fit flatly in the pot. (You can probably put more in, but I haven't tested that.
3) Place the pot on the burner set on high with the lid on.
4) As soon as the lid rattles, set the burner on simmer (or whatever setting you have found that keeps water simmering). Make sure the lid stays on.
5) In about 5 or 6 minutes after the simmer adjustment you have soft or hard boiled eggs! This is something you have to time for yourself. Hard boiled is hard boiled, but to get a perfect soft boiled egg you'll have to work out your specific timing. Different pots, different egg sizes, and maybe your altitude will all affect the your time. Using a timer is very important. You don't want to run the pot dry.
6) A quick bath in cold water or whatever other tricks you like to use for easy peeling and you're done. All in under 7 minutes!

Here's why it works:

Eggs don't really cook until they get to boiling temperature so we use the high burner setting to get it hot fast. Once it's boiling turn the burner down. The water will stay at boiling temperature with much less energy input.

In our standard atmospheric conditions, water does not get hotter than boiling temperature. So boiling the crap out of it on the highest burner setting does not heat it up much more than a good simmer. So once boiling, why not save energy and turn the burner down?

Also, the vapor coming off the simmering/boiling water is the same temperature as the water, it's just in a different phase. As long as the lid is on the pot and vapor is being produced by simmering/boiling, the eggs are completely immersed in a medium that is boiling temperature even though only 1-cm is actually in the water. It doesn't really matter if the medium the eggs are immersed in is vapor or liquid. It's the heat that cooking the egg. As long as the lid is on, only a little bit of water is required.

Water take a lot of energy to heat up. It takes about three times more energy to heat water 1 degree than it does rocks or concrete. Given a particular burners heating capability, it's significantly faster to raise small amounts of water to boiling temperature than large amounts. The less time you are cooking, the less energy you're using.

Depending on how cooked you like your eggs, you can probably get away with even less water. You only really need as much as will last you until the eggs are cooked without running dry. Again, using a timer is very important here.
posted by goodsignal at 11:28 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: the same temperature as the water, it's just in a different phase
posted by hippybear at 4:33 PM on July 5, 2011


What about a big egg? How do you peel an egg like that?

> Sorry mate, didnt mean to put you off your boiled chicken periods.

I think of them as chicken kits, or chicken seeds. I like my chicken seeds mixed up with some modified cow sweat that's been left in a bag with bacteria for a few months. Mmmm cheesy scramble.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:03 PM on July 5, 2011


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