Wondering what you can do to ensure your hard-boiled eggs are easy to peel? The Never Cook Naked Guys have the answer. Use older eggs.
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Dear Never Cook Naked Guys: In my experience, in order to make perfect hard-boiled eggs, the eggs need to be at least a week old. I’m not sure why, but they always come out perfectly. What gives?—Nothing’s Rotten in Denmark
Dear Rotten: We live in the country. We buy eggs from a woman down the road from us. Yet, we still don’t know exactly how old those eggs are. So unless you’re raising your own hens and are present for the blessed event, chances are you don’t know exactly how old your eggs are, either. Neither do we.
We do know this: brand-new eggs out of the henhouse become hard-boiled eggs that are more difficult to peel. The membrane that holds the whites to the shell in these eggs is more tenacious, mostly because the egg itself is more acidic when fresh. Over the course of a few days or weeks, as the pH of the egg rises, the membrane becomes less adhesive. Voilà. More easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs.
There’s a trade-off. Once the membrane begins to lose its adhesive properties, the yolks move around more freely in the white and thus, are often not perfectly centered in hard-boiled eggs. It’s not a big deal, but you were making claims for perfection, so we felt the need to point that out.
So yes, it’s true, perfectly fresh eggs don’t make the best hard-boiled eggs. But they do make the best scrambled eggs. And fried eggs. And poached eggs. And puddings. And soufflés. And meringues. We could go on, but those eggs are starting to get old. Originally published April 19, 2012.
Our very clever, very clothed Never Cook Naked columnists are at your disposal, able to troubleshoot everything from questionable table etiquette to tricky cooking techniques (as well as, natch, proper cooking attire). Curious to learn more solutions to culinary conundrums? Just ask!