Seemingly, one of the simplest things in the kitchen is to boil an egg. Well, often it’s not so. Just recall how many times eggs you prepared happened to be under-cooked, or when almost all the egg white went along with the shell during the peeling. While boiling eggs is one simple culinary skill, some studies have shown that 15-20% of people do not know to do it.
Believe it or not, there is a proper way to prepare hard boiled eggs, peel them easily and to avoid making that ugly green color that appears on the yolk. Despite some beliefs, that green is not result of “staleness” of eggs, but rather of improper cooking or overcooking eggs.
For all ‘visual’ types of people, here’s a video tutorial of making hard boiled eggs.
So, let’s start:
1. Fresh eggs are harder to peel. Often is recommended to add some salt in the water before cooking. Apparently this will make it easier to peel, but if the eggs are quite fresh, there seems to be no good solution. Putting eggs in cold water immediately after boiling, as some advise, does not help either (although we will do it, but for another reasons). Paradoxically, the only solution is to not even try to make hard boiled eggs from very fresh eggs. So, when preparing eggs for Easter, buy them at least a week or two in advance and store them in refrigerator.
2. Best results are obtained if eggs are taken out from the fridge before cooking and left to stand for a while (some 20 minutes) in order to come to room temperature (this will prevent the eggs break due to differences in temperature and will result in more even cooking).
3. Put eggs into a larger pot, so that they lie in one “layer”, and fill with water so that surface water is at least 2.5cm (1″) above the eggs.
4. Put the pot on the heat and allow the water to boil. As soon as water boils (intensively!), remove the pot from heat and cover it. Let eggs be in that warm water for exactly 12 minutes (this applies to medium-sized eggs. 15 mins is for large eggs and 18 minutes for extra large ones). Timing is important here, since this is the part when the egg continues to cook inside. If the egg is cooked too long, the iron from the yolk will go into reaction with sulfur from the shell which will result in a nasty green color that you want to avoid.
After that, drain the water, and pour the cold water (preferably with ice cubes) in the pot with eggs. Sudden cooling will stop the cooking process which is still going on inside the egg. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes in that cold water, then drain it.
It’s finished. You can now set eggs aside in the fridge or consume them. Boiled eggs, put in the fridge, should be used within 5-7 days (hard-boiled eggs spoil faster than fresh ones, since cooking washes out the protective layer, thus opening pores of the shell for entrance of bacteria).