Fresh, free range boiled eggs are notoriously difficult to peel. We are left with chunks of egg white sticking to shell pieces. There are divots left all over the surface of your egg. This is not something that you want to use to make fancy deviled eggs with.
We know that fresh, hen- laid in your backyard eggs are the best tasting eggs there can be. They also tend to have harder, thicker shells than grocery store eggs which makes peeling more difficult. Your own chicken eggs may not be washed either. This means that the “bloom” is still on the egg which also makes peeling harder.
The fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel cleanly. Just laid eggs contain an amount of dissolved Carbon Dioxide. The Carbon Dioxide is what makes very fresh, raw egg whites appear cloudy when you first crack them open. The Albumen or egg white tends to stick to the inner shell membrane due to the Carbon Dioxide making a less acidic environment. The less Carbon Dioxide, the less the egg white will stick.
The hen applies a protective coating to the shell of each egg laid. This coating is called “the bloom.” The bloom slows the rate of Carbon Dioxide loss and also prevents contamination from micro organisms that are trying to reach the egg.
If you don’t wash your eggs, that means that the bloom is still there and it will slow down the Carbon Dioxide loss. You need to wait an average of 10 days for the PH to be ideal for peeling. Grocery store eggs have usually been washed and the bloom has been removed. This is one reason why store eggs peel easier. Store eggs have usually been in storage longer and are not as fresh as we may think. This all allows for more Carbon Dioxide to be released from these eggs.
You may have hear of the float test. If an egg is placed in water and it floats, it means that it is an old egg and you should not eat it. It floats because with the loss of Carbon Dioxide, air enters through the shell and is trapped between the shell and the membrane. The air is lighter than the water causing the egg to float.
Now that we know that older eggs are easier to peel we can discuss cooking methods. You can boil eggs on the stove top. Boil the water first, then carefully add the eggs. I would recommend using a spoon to slowly lower the eggs into the water. Some people like to add a little baking soda into the water. Boil for 13 minutes and then place the eggs in ice water for 5 minutes. The ice causes the egg inside to contract, pulling it away from the membrane.
Steaming is a very popular way to hard boil your eggs. It is very simple. Using a steamer, you place water under the eggs. The eggs do not sit in the water. There is a timer that lets you know when they are finished. I use a Hamilton Beach egg cooker. It also poaches eggs as well. Steaming cooks evenly and there is less risk of cracking the shell than dropping the egg into a pan. When you are done steaming, place the eggs in an ice water bath. Chilling eggs immediately after boiling ensures that they come out perfectly shaped with no air space indentations on their fat end.
Other good steamers are DASH egg cooker that has an auto shut off to prevent over cooking and Elite Cuisine Maxi Matic. If you like to use an Instapot you can pressure cook an egg in 5 minutes using a cup of water.
One fun gadget is a Hard Boiled Egg Peeler. You place the egg and water inside of the devise and then shake it up and down. The shaking causes the egg to crack and lets water get between the egg and the shell. This makes peeling very easy.
One last tip is about peeling the shell off of the egg. Peel it under running water from the sink. This works on the same principle as the gadget above. The water is finding its way under the egg shell making peeling much easier.
For more tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our weekly silkie blog at VJPPoultry.com. VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.