Saturday, July 21, 2007

Easy to Peel Eggs

One of our quick breakfast tricks is a hard boiled egg. We'll make a bunch at the start of the week, and they serve as a quick, nutritious* food in the morning for either of us. If I'm in a rush to get out of the house, I can take short cuts on personal things I do, but not things for my son. I have to feed, change, and dress him, and I don't like to rush it because it'll just challenge me more. Besides, if I don't have a decent amount of protein for breakfast, I find myself hungry within the hour. Cereal and apples...something weird about my system where either of these actually make me hungrier than if I hadn't eaten at all.

Back to eggs, Elise at Simply Recipes has some tips on making the perfect hard boiled egg. What caught my attention was how to make the eggs easy to peel. Don't get fresh eggs. Huh? In On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee outs fresher eggs as being harder to peel when hard boiled.

"Difficult peeling is characteristic of fresh eggs with a relatively low albumen pH, which somehow causes the albumen to adhere to the inner shell membrane more strongly than it coheres to itself. At the pH typical after several days of refrigeration, around 9.2, the shell peels easily."

In a nutshell...err...eggshell, here's what to do.

- Use eggs that are a few days old.

- To cook a batch of fresh eggs right away, add a half teaspoon of baking soda to a quart of water to make the cooking after alkaline (though this intensifies the sulfury flavor).

- If you have boiled a batch that are difficult to peel, try putting them in the refrigerator for a few days; they should be easier to peel then.

- When I peel an egg, I tap the middle of the egg (e.g., the waist, if it had one) on a paper towel on the counter, then roll along the waistline to crack the shell at the midsection. The cracked shell usually just peels right off in one or two pieces.

Bon Appetit!

*Recent Health Data on Eggs
Long vilified by well-meaning doctors and scientists for their high cholesterol content, eggs are now making a bit of a comeback. Recent research by Harvard investigators has shown that moderate egg consumption--up to one a day--does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals.(5) While it's true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol--and, therefore may slightly affect blood cholesterol levels--eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate.