Friday, April 11, 2014

Can you hard boil an egg?

I used to not be able to without overdoing it.  (go ahead, giggle, laugh, snicker.  The one who touts herself as an awesome self-taught cook couldn't boil an egg!)

OK, so I could hard boil an egg but I didn't really like them and wasn't ever really satisfied with the results of my endeavors.  Somehow, when the yolk turns totally chalky and has a bit of a green tinge to the outside of the yolk, it just seemed like I must be doing something wrong.

I was definitely overdoing it.

So here's how it goes.

First, decide how many eggs you want to hard boil.

How many do you or your family go through in a week?  how many does the egg salad recipe call for?  Keep in mind, they will eventually spoil so I'd not recommend more than about a week's or recipe's worth.

What are the best eggs to use?

Old eggs.  Seriously!  If you've ever had the opportunity to try peeling a fresh pastured vs. a store bought egg, you'd find that the store bought egg is MUCH less of a pain in the rear.  Yes, you CAN use the super fresh ones you JUST bought at the farmer's market and they'll taste the same.  Ideally, if your family regularly eats hard boiled eggs, you'd buy two dozen each week and eat one dozen fresh for breakfasts, etc and save the other one in the back of the fridge for a few weeks.  Then you'd always have plenty of older eggs to use just for boiling!

Ok now we'll get to the How-To part.  Now that we all understand the Whys.

Now that you've figured out how many you would like to do, it's time to pick a pot.  The best one has a fitted lid, doesn't let the eggs rattle around and will allow you to make the water about an inch taller than the eggs without boiling over.  If you're just doing a half dozen or so, pick a small saucepot so they don't roll around.  Rolling=cracked eggs.  That's bad if you want to store them for more than a day or so.

Put your cold eggs in the pot and fill the pot to about an inch above the eggs with COLD water.

Put the lid on the pot and put the pot on the stove.  Turn your burner on high and bring the eggs to a full rolling boil.  (if you've never seen this before, think popcorn or ping pong balls in a bingo cage.  The water will really look like it's rolling and lots of steam will be escaping under the lid).  If you can take the lid off for a moment and the rolling doesn't diminish, you're there.

Now turn off the stove.  Set your timer for about 12 minutes for a half dozen eggs, 15 minutes for as many as 24 or so.  Walk away and don't come back until your timer dings.  Now's the time to change the load of laundry around.

When your timer dings, (or while your waiting) clear out your sink and find a strainer that'll hold all your eggs.  Set it in the sink.

Find your tongs when the timer goes off and pull each of your eggs from your pot of hot water and place them gently in your strainer.  Run cold water over the eggs until they are just barely warm or even cool to the touch.

Now you're done.  If you're peeling them right now for egg salad or whatever, you can start peeling them when you can handle them comfortably.  The running water cooling the rest will help rinse off any tiny shell bits.  If you're going to store them in the fridge for later, wait until they're just warm.  Dry them off and put them in your carton and then into the fridge.

Congratulations.  You just boiled eggs!

Notes for next time:
As you're eating your eggs, notice how chalky the inside of the yolk is and if there's a greenish tinge about the yolk's exterior.  If it's greenish, next time set your timer for a minute or two less.  Keep adjusting until you get it just the way you like it!

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