egg (in)digest(ion)


“Do it right, or you won’t like where this egg is going.”


AMT324‘s question from Swapna about how to peel a hardboiled egg really got you going. Scores of you wrote to advise Swapna to add vinegar to the boiling water, or bicarbonate of soda, to soften the shell; or that she should use week-old eggs rather than fresh, so the once pert young albumen no longer clings to the shell; or that the water should be cold, or warm, or hot. Taleb recommends this brilliantly comprehensive post, Lauren this episode of the (always delightful) Dinner Party Download. Here are a few of the many highlights from the eggstravaganza in our inbox:

Joe suggests:
Remove a little shell at the narrow end of the egg, bigger bit at the big end, blow hard into the small hole and the inside pops out. Easy, tidy, works.

DOES this work? Because it looks like a YouTube fail video waiting to happen.

Stephanie says:

You were focusing on the implement she was using to peel the eggs, but I think a change in her preparation method would be more helpful.

Instead of putting the eggs in the water and then heating the water, she should boil her water first and then add the eggs. From what I understand, the idea is that by putting them in boiling water, the membrane pulls away from the whites and adheres to the shell rather than gluing the whites to the shell, making it difficult to peel.

Boil the water and add the eggs one at a time carefully with a slotted spoon. When all your eggs are added, count to 30 and then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Simmer the eggs 11 minutes and then transfer them to an ice bath for 15 minutes.

I’ve used this method for several years now, and I never have trouble peeling my eggs.

As “the proud owner of four delightful chickens, and of more eggs that I know what to do with”, Vanessa imparts the wisdom of experience:

Firstly, your questioneer was from the USA, where it is common to keep eggs in the fridge. Eggs kept in the fridge will be more difficult to peel once they are hard boiled than eggs that have been kept at room temperature. Keep eggs out of the fridge!

Secondly, a good method for peeling is to put the hard boiled egg in a teacup that has tepid water in it up to about halfway up the egg when it’s in the cup. Put your hand over the cup and shake up the egg with the water. This motion will gently crack the shell equally all the way round, and you’ll be able to peel the egg easily, leaving the egg itself perfectly intact – which presumably is one of the aspects of the egg that the toddler in question likes.

After this barrage of advice, Swapna will probably be in eggsistential meltdown, so let’s finish with some eggy art from Sally Grosart, who previously designed paper dolls of me and Olly and Martin and illustrated our bean bath question. And now she has invented a new ovine superhero:



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One Response to “egg (in)digest(ion)”

  1. Laurie Crist Says:

    More egg info, In the US we can’t leave purchased eggs out of the fridge because they are over cleaned and left vulnerable,

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