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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The secret to easy hard boiled eggs

Apr 11, 2022, 4:00 PM
Stock photo of an egg being peeled.  Photo credit: Canva...
Stock photo of an egg being peeled. Photo credit: Canva

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sure, eggs are more expensive this year. But the chances are good that you’ll still probably boil a few, color a few, shell a few, and then eat them. 

Imagine the boiling, coloring, shelling part – without that little nagging doubt about the eggs turning out “just right” and the possibility that you’d end up with a pock-marked mess on your hands (and most of the egg white in the trash?)

Well here’s some help from New York Times food science reporter J. Kenji Lopez Alt. She conducted the most exhaustive test in human history, to find out how to peel the egg so that the shell doesn’t crunch into a million tiny shards that you have to dig out of the poor egg white.

Alt paraded into the kitchen with 96 research assistants. They cooked, peeled, and tasted more than 700 eggs! They boiled and prepped these eggs in every way imaginable. And, junior scientists please note that it was a double-blind experiment. The gold standard.

They discovered that the most important factor determining whether the egg peels perfectly is the temperature of the egg when you start cooking. If you start with a cold egg in cold water, the shell is nine times as likely to shatter when you peel it.

Adding vinegar, baking soda, or salt had no impact.

Pricking the tip of the egg with a pin was useless. Giving the egg an ice bath after boiling? Again useless.

Nope, these internet solutions were useless.

Instead, they found that the best way to get a cooperative shell is to use a room temperature egg, and steam it instead of boiling it. The shell comes off easiest that way, and the result is a less rubbery egg.

And a less frustrated egg eater. Am I right?

Other Minutes of News:

Listen to Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News every weekday from 3 to 7 p.m. for more of his “My Minute of News.” And check out the podcast below.

 

 

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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The secret to easy hard boiled eggs