Hard-Boiled Eggs

I like eggs. In particular, I like hard-boiled eggs. They’re inexpensive, tasty, wholesome, and relatively easy to cook. The problem I have with them is peeling them. The shell always seems to want to stick to the egg, so when I peel it, half the egg is lost. This is annoying.

I went on a quest to find how to boil eggs so that the shell comes off easily – or at least, not so difficult that I lose so much egg. I did online searches and found dozens of sure-fire remedies:

  • Let the eggs sit for a week or so before boiling them. That way, the egg dries out a bit and pulls away from the shell.
  • Put cold eggs into boiling water; and when finished, put boiled eggs into cold water. This supposedly “shocks” the eggs.
  • Boil them in water in which you’ve added vinegar.
  • Boil them in water in which you’ve added baking soda.
  • Steam them.
  • And on and on and on.

I tried all of these methods, and others that I no longer remember, and always got the same results. Right after cooking the eggs they would peel quite nicely. “Aha,” I’d think, “I’ve finally found something that works.” Sadly, the honeymoon period didn’t last. I’d still have trouble peeling the eggs later on. It didn’t matter how I prepared them, they wouldn’t peel right.

It finally dawned on me, way later than it should have, that the problem wasn’t with cooking the eggs. It was how they were treated afterwards.

I’d put all the eggs I boiled into the refrigerator, usually in the same egg carton they came in. Seemed reasonable. But what happened was that the eggs dried out over time. It was the eggs drying after cooking that causes the shells to stick. All you really have to do is keep them wet. Put them into water; or do as I did, peel them all at the same time, then put them in water. They’re supposed to remain good for about a week. Mine don’t usually last that long.

So now I’m happy; but I wonder whether these online experts even test their ideas. Maybe they do – they try something, the first egg or two peel nicely, so they publish their new discovery. But let them keep the eggs for a while… maybe after a week or so they won’t peel so nicely.

And of course this makes me wonder how reliable anything else is on the Internet. Based on my experience with eggs, I find it hard to believe that people actually know what they’re talking about.

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