Boiling eggs really ought to be just one step above boiling water in the cooking department. Alas, with farm fresh eggs it is not! That is, if you actually want them to peel out in one piece. What is it about store bought eggs that lets them peel with careless ease while the ones fresh from the hen house do not? Are the industrial eggs treated with something during washing? Could they really be that old? Does the breed of chicken matter and perhaps I need production layers rather than dual purpose type hens?
I've had more than one egg cook tell me boiling eggs is easy. Then I gave them a batch of eggs to cook. Sadly, the eggs were chucked in the trash after succumbing to the experience a raggedy, shell stuck mess. The cook returned to store bought eggs for their boiled egg needs. More than one backyard chicken keeper has suggested abandoning boiled eggs for fried and scrambled.
Being the typical backyard chicken keeper I soon found myself drowning in excess eggs. How could I justify paying a premium for store bought eggs to boil when I had ten-dozen in my refrigerator?
A wealth of opinions circulate the internet on how to properly cook these eggs.
Some have suggested aging the eggs since store bought eggs can actually be quite old and are not dated until they are packaged for market. I was told the eggs should be at least 3 days old. "No problem," I thought, shoving them to back of the fridge to save for a couple weeks. I optimistically retrieved them after their appointed time and once more attempted boiling. Again, they were a shell stuck mess. My mother suggested aging them more since a farm fresh egg truly does keep a long time and store eggs can be O_L_D. So I carefully saved one box of eggs a full six months. I boiled them just as my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook suggested. I even tried adding vinegar to the pot as several internet sites suggested. And again, my hopes were dashed as my blood pressure rocketed picking apart raggedy boiled egg from shell..
After spending much more time than I care to admit on backyardchickens reading the 17+ page forum discussion on the topic I have now successfully boiled and peeled fresh eggs. The trick is to cook but absolutely don't overcook your eggs--and that is a small window.
How to boil farm fresh eggs:
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
- With a spoon drop your eggs into the boiling water (unless you like burnt fingers)
- Set a timer for 7 minutes to gently boil away
- Pull them off the heat and cover for another 7-8 minutes (no more no less)
- Then drain and cool them immediately with cold running water and ice to stop the cooking.
- You can peel them right away or store in the refrigerator for future use.
This has worked well with medium, large and extra large eggs. Because I have different breeds of chickens I get a variety of eggs sizes each day and I've had no trouble cooking them all at once.
If this blog saves one batch of eggs from the trash it has done its job =)