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Boiling and Peeling the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg


OK, laugh if you like – this is not a recipe for “how to boil water,” but it isn’t much harder.

It’s that time of year when grocery stores feature special 18-count cartons of eggs. Turquoise Egg Salad becomes the national dish for Easter Monday, and brown- baggers and schoolchildren agree – it should taste great even if its color did originate somewhere over the rainbow. Follow these simple steps and your pragmatic determination to turn Easter eggs into a usable meal will yield better-tasting results and be easier to prepare.

Lay eggs in a pot all in one layer and add enough cold water to cover well. Bring to a boil but keep an eye on it; as soon as the water boils, cover the pot, turn heat off, and allow to stand for 10 minutes. This will work for up to a dozen medium or large eggs; if using extra large or jumbo eggs, increase the standing time by 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with lots of ice and top off with water. When eggs are done, gently lift with a slotted spoon and lower into the ice water. Keep eggs in ice water until they have fully cooled (about 20 minutes), adding more ice if necessary.

This gentle cooking method and the ice water bath prevent the yolks from turning green at the edges. The green-tinged yolk occurs when sulfur in the egg white interacts with iron in the yolk. This discoloration won’t cause any harm, but it isn’t very pretty and some say a completely yellow yolk tastes better.

A Time to Peel

To peel, rap each end of the egg on a hard surface, then give another small rap on the side and roll along its whole circumference, pressing gently as you go. Eggs have an air pocket at the end, and the rolling motion helps to pierce the membrane just under the shell. This method allows you to peel off whole sections of shell at a time, except for a few stubborn bits. If you rap or press too hard, the egg white will break. So if you’re making deviled eggs, do be careful with this step, but if egg salad is your final destination, breaking an egg white or three is no big deal.

Easter bunnies do not eat eggs because they are herbivores, and that’s why they are so good at delivering them. They aren’t tempted to snack on the contents of those baskets. For the rest of us, whatever your persuasion, spring holidays involve hard cooked eggs, sweets, and multi-generational family feasts. Enjoy!

Healthful Tip: To reduce calories in recipes using mayonnaise, use a 50/50 combination of low-fat mayo and plain non-fat yogurt. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice for a tangy taste. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, one egg has about 75 calories, 6 grams of very complete protein and 4.5 grams of fat.

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