A Little Food For Thought

I’ve been cooking for a long time, y’all.

I’ve no formal training, of course, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know my way around a kitchen or a few things about the best way to prepare different types of food.  Some things are just basics, like how to boil an egg, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people have no idea how to perform this simple task.

For those of you who may need a hand, you start with room temperature eggs.  Place them in a pot large enough to hold them (preferably in a single layer) and cover the eggs with cool water.  Bring the water to a boil, then remove the eggs from the heat and cover.  Allow the eggs to sit for 10 minutes, then run cold water over them until they are cool enough to handle.  For best results, peel the eggs before placing them in the refrigerator.  Cooking hard-boiled eggs in this manner will guarantee they don’t form a green ring around the yolk and peel easily.

IF your eggs are not fresh.  Did I forget to mention that?

Really fresh eggs will not peel easily, no matter what method you use to hard-boil them.  Allowing eggs to sit in the refrigerator for at least a week will cause the membrane to shrink away from the shell, making peeling them after they’ve been boiled much easier.

At least for battery produced eggs – when I still shopped at what my brother (who has also jumped on the paleo/real food bandwagon) now refers to as the “gross-ery store,” the method I describe above produced beautiful hard-boiled eggs that peeled like a dream if I let them sit in the fridge for a week to 10 days.

The same cannot be said for the eggs I get directly from our farmer.

We drive out to the farm and pick our eggs up every Saturday morning (during the warm months, we just meet him at the farmer’s market).  I can guarantee you that the eggs we purchase are no more than two or three days old – most of the time, they were gathered the day before.  They’re only washed if there’s dirt or manure on them – all eggshells are porous, and have a naturally occurring protective film over them when they’re laid.

Battery eggs are all washed, removing that protective film along with the filth from the horrible conditions in which they were laid (remember the recent Sparboe Farms scandal?) and allowing pathogens such as salmonella to enter the egg through the porous shell.  They’re then candled, packaged, and sent to distribution centers where they sit for who knows how long before finding their way to grocery store shelves (or your local McDonalds).  No wonder they peel so easily when they’ve been hard-boiled.

Keeping in mind that fresh eggs don’t peel easily, when I decided to make deviled eggs for our party this last week I kept two dozen eggs in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.  Yes, three.  And this is what happened.

I’ve decided that ragged deviled eggs are an acceptable trade-off for peace of mind.

How old are the eggs you’re eating, and where did they come from?

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday

12 thoughts on “A Little Food For Thought”

  1. I’m just glad to hear you weigh in on how to boil an egg:). I eat a modified diet we are going to call Whole Foods Cestaceous.

  2. When my kids peel eggs they look exactly like your photo! : )
    My eggs … well, they come from trader joes and they’re supposedly free range and organic, but they certainly aren’t laid the day before ….

  3. This is what I remind my boyfriend when he complains about the difficult peeling. It’s gotten to the point where I have trouble actually walking into the grossery store.

  4. Free range and organic from our local Publix, but I’m on a waiting list for a farmer about 30 minutes north of us to see about getting fresh eggs. The waiting list is about 3 months long and I only applied 2 weeks ago. 🙁

  5. We have chickens in our backyard, so we get fresh eggs every day. I finally learned my lesson after watching my husband throw away at least half of the white of a hard-boiled egg and now I keep one carton at the bottom of the stack and don’t touch it for a couple of weeks. We use the fresher eggs now for our scrambles and such, and then when I eventually pull out the older eggs from the bottom for boiling, they peel much better!

  6. I get my eggs from the farm too and could not for the life of me figure out why they were such a train wreck when I tried to peel them for deviled eggs…my wonderfully wise grandmother saw me fussing with them one afternoon and explained the whole “farm fresh” reason for the tough peeling. I have also decided that less than perfect looking deviled eggs is definitely worth the trade off…

  7. You mean they aren’t supposed to come in a flavo-pak bag at the grossery store looking all perfect?? What is so disturbing is that this is news to so many of us (like me). (:

    So glad we discovered real food before it really was too late.

  8. Uhm, this month mine came off the back of a pick up truck in the Trader Joe’s parking lot… Hopefully next, too. Keep up the good work, my clucking friends.

  9. I actually miss having chickens in our backyard and getting the fresh eggs right from them – that explains why I never was able to peel those eggs effectively! 😉 We were going to get more chickens, but since we might be moving in the next year or so back to the West Coast, opted not to. I usually get the organic ones at the local grocery store – if we had a fresh egg farmer or farmer’s market in the area, I’d so be going that route too. 😉

  10. I use home grown eggs all the time for deviled eggs…
    An older friend of mine told me a couple of secrets for easy peel and
    nice looking eggs. First sprinkle salt in the pan so that the entire bottom
    is covered with it. Second start with cold water to bring to boil. Third, when you take the eggs off the stove drain, run some cold water in pan enough to cover the eggs, then empty a tray of ice cubes into the pan; wait for them to melt – the eggs
    should be cool and will peel so easy.

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