Have you ever attempted to hard boil a fresh egg?
For those who haven’t experienced the deliciousness of farm fresh eggs, fresh hard-boiled eggs are super hard/impossible to peel. The egg needs to “be a little old” before it can successfully be peeled after being hardboiled.
If you hard boil and peel them too fresh, that thin skin between the egg goodness and the shell sticks to the shell AND the egg and it looks like this when you’re done:
These might work for egg salad or something else where the eggs are all chopped or mashed anyway, but definitely not deviled eggs worthy.
But what I’ve always wondered is…
How old is “old”?
I had heard that leaving fresh, unwashed eggs on the counter is a way to “olden” them. I was guessing that a lengthy stay in the fridge might also do the trick.
But I like specifics and this vague “well, they should be old” was driving me nuts.
So I did an experiment.
I saved 6 eggs a day for about 3 weeks, storing half in the fridge and half on the counter at room temperature.
Then at the end, I hard boiled them all and then peeled them to see how they changed over time.
So then my detail-oriented, perfectionist brain would be happy to finally know the answer to this question…”how old is old”. 🤣
A quick note: If you leave eggs at room temperature for any length of time, make sure they are NOT WASHED. The eggs in this experiment were not washed. I don’t have enough hours in my day to wash eggs… 😂 …the clean eggs come into the house, the dirty eggs go to the pigs for a fabulous treat. 😉
Store eggs are washed…I would not advise storing them at room temperature.
If you purchase fresh eggs from a local farmer, ask them what their processes are.
An un-washed egg straight from the chicken has a protective coating on it that prevents bacteria from getting into the egg. If even a damp rag has been used to clean the egg, that coating is off and the MN Department of Health would prefer that I not recommended they are stored at room temperature for any length of time.😉
I saved eggs from the end of March to April 17th. I boiled all the eggs on April 19th. Then they went into the fridge and fully cooled. We did the peeling on April 27th.
Yes, there were two days between the end of the collecting and the boiling date…I figured those were so fresh that it wouldn’t change the results anyway (which it didn’t)
So, first we took all the eggs and put them into bowls based on their date collected (which I had written with pencil every day they were collected.)
Then we peeled them all and noted how well (or not) they peeled. These pictures show the eggs from top to bottom, oldest to newest.
We ended up not peeling all 3 weeks of eggs for each kind, partly because we were out of bowls, and partly because by the time we got to 16 days, they started to look the same.
The short and sweet answer: Leave eggs on the counter for even 3 days after collecting them and they will peel pretty well. 4-5 days is even better.
Here are even more details:
- The fridge evidently made a HUGE different in keeping the eggs fresh. Even those that were 2 weeks old from the fridge were still losing chunks of eggs to sticking to the shells.
- It was also interesting that although they were that old, 16 day old fridge eggs were still harder to peel than almost all the room temp eggs. The shell fell off the room temp eggs much quicker than the fridge eggs. (This makes it much easier for smaller children to peel.)
- Although I didn’t do the experiment to this degree, I think my move in the future would be to fridge the eggs as they come from the chickens but then take them out for 2-3 days before I want to hard boil them. But maybe that’s too vague for me…and I’ll do another experiment in the future. 😉
The fastest way to hard boil eggs
My favorite way to hard boil eggs is to steam them.
Just add your eggs to a steamer basket, add a inch or two of water underneath, turn on your heat set a timer for 15 minutes once your water starts to boil.
The part that comes after the boiling could possibly be the most important…
When the 15 minutes of boiling is up, pour your eggs into a non-heat sensitive bowl (a large stainless steel bowl is my favorite.)
Yes, POUR them in…you want the eggs to crack a little.
Then vigorously shake the bowl so they crack a little more.
Next, cover the eggs with the coldest water out of your faucet or add some ice cubes.
After 10-15 minutes or so, drain the water, shake the bowl to crack them some more and add more cold water.
After another 10-15 minutes, they should be cool enough to peel.
And assuming the eggs are properly “old” and with the cold water having had time to sneak in between the shell and the egg, those shells will just fall off and you’re well on your way to making some fabulous egg salad, deviled eggs, salad topping, and any other hard boiled delight. 😍
From all of us here at Piggery Run Farm, with 2 feet or 4 feet,
we want to thank all those folks who protected us in the past and those who are out there protecting us every day now. Happy Memorial Day! 💖🤍💙
Naomi and the gang