By Christina Raving
It never fails. A person is new to keeping backyard chickens with their daily laid eggs. They love hard boiled eggs, and just know that the freshest eggs will taste so much better than store-bought. So they boil some up right from the hen’s nest. And when it comes to peeling them, to getting at the tastiest eggs they could ever imagine- it’s darn near impossible without utter carnage!
There is a biological reason behind this. When you look at a diagram of the anatomy of an egg, there are two membranes between the shell on the outside and the albumen, or egg white. When an egg is good and fresh, the gas-permeable membranes between the shell and the albumen are tightly adherent to allow the developing embryo to breathe. It takes 7-10 days after laying for the egg to die.
Did you ever notice that all store-bought eggs are easily peeled when they are hard-boiled? That’s because they are all at least two weeks old. I remember an expose long ago of a large grocery chain that had the practice of taking eggs past their stale date, putting them in new cartons, and putting them back out for sale. Even when you buy premium, free-range, organic eggs, they will never have printed on the carton the date they were laid. It will always say, “Date processed”. You simply cannot buy eggs as fresh as your backyard hens can produce for you. And don’t even get me started on the industry definition of “cage free”. My hens roam freely throughout my yard; they’ve never seen a cage in their life!
So forget all those remedies for peeling an egg. Don’t waste vinegar or an ice bath. Simply hold those eggs in your refrigerator for 10 days before hard boiling. You are still going to be ahead of the game in freshness and taste. Then one last technique I would want to impart is to crack then roll them gently on the counter before you peel them. After that, you should have no problem.
How to boil the perfect egg every time:
1. Immerse the eggs in cold water in a pot.
2. Discard any eggs that float to the surface.
3. Cover the pot and bring it just to a rolling boil.
4. Turn off the heat and move the pot to the side.
5. Immediately set your kitchen timer for 15 minutes.
6. At the end of 15 minutes, drain the eggs, peel and eat.