Which came first: the egg, or knowing how to cook it? Year after year, we are confronted with the simple task of preparing boiled eggs to fill baskets, salads and backyard egg hunts. It seems simple enough; if you can boil water, you should be able to boil and egg, right? Well, not necessarily- until now that is. Finally! The perfect boiled egg! Follow these simple steps, and your eggs are sure to be a success.
Test for Freshness The best eggs for boiling are at least 3 days old. Very fresh eggs are harder to peel because the membrane between the white and the shell is not mature enough. Remember, even eggs in the same carton can be laid on different days, so it’s best to test them before cooking. One easy way to know the age of your eggs is to immerse them in cool water. As eggs age, the air pocket within them grows bigger and makes the egg more buoyant—the more buoyant, the less fresh. Eggs that lay on their side at the bottom of the pan are the freshest. An egg that stands on its end is still fresh, but a bit older. Eggs that float are ready for the trash.
Prep for Cooking Placing a carton of eggs on its side for a day prior to cooking will center the yolk in the white. Also, make sure to inspect your eggs for any visible cracks. Let your eggs come to room temperature before cooking. Eggs that are room temperature are much less likely to crack in the hot water. Eggs that are room temperature also take about 1 minute less to cook than eggs straight from the refrigerator. Pot size is important. Make sure that the eggs are in one even layer on the bottom of the pot (for even cooking). Limit your cooking batches to 1 dozen.
Coddle Your Eggs To cook the perfect eggs, use a method called “coddling”. It does not toughen the whites like boiling does. Cover the eggs with cool water, with about 1 inch extra water on top (too much extra water will take too long to bring to a boil). Bring the pot of water just to a boil. Immediately remove the pot from the heat, cover tightly, and let stand for 17 - 20 minutes (depending on the size of the egg).Watch the time carefully. Overcooking eggs is what causes the dark ring to form between the yolk and the white. Remove the eggs from the boiling water and place them in an ice bath (bowl of water and ice) for about 10 minutes before peeling or storing. The ice bath prevents the eggs from continuing to cook due to the heat that carries over. It also creates a layer of steam between the shell and the egg white, which will make peeling easier.
Store Smartly If you aren’t using your eggs right away, wait to peel them. Boiled eggs can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. You can keep them in a bowl of cold water (if you change the water daily) or in an airtight container, without water, covered with damp paper towels.
Peel Easily If you’re boiled and uncooked eggs get mixed up, here’s an easy fix! Spin the eggs on their side. Cooked eggs will spin, uncooked eggs will wobble. This way, there are no surprises when you crack your eggs. To peel, submerge the eggs in a bowl of cool water. Cracking an egg under water helps loosen the membrane from the egg white. Under a gently running faucet, peel the egg beginning with the larger end (which is usually where the air bubble will be). Make sure you get a hold of the membrane when you’re removing the shell.
Slicing When slicing boiled eggs, wiping the blade of your knife with a wet towel between each cut will prevent the yolk from crumbling.
Here are some of our favorite recipes that will help you make use of all of those leftover eggs:
Jamie’s Chicken Salad Sandwich
Shrimp Salad Sandwich
Big Lady New Millennium Sandwich
Garden Pea Salad
Georgia Cracker Salad
Good Old Country Stuffing
The Best Crab Casserole
The Lady’s Warm Potato Salad
Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps