Boiling the perfect egg

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jun 27, 2012 - 04:04 PM

Photo: Hard-boiled eggs and deviled eggs are favorite foods for many people. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Hard-boiled eggs and deviled eggs are favorite foods for many people. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

How many times have you heard this reply to the question, "Can you cook?"— "I can’t boil an egg."

That reply could well include many who believe they do know how to cook. Cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg takes a little more know-how than one thinks, although preparing hard-boiled eggs is a frequent practice in most households. According to the American Egg Board, roughly 75 billion eggs are produced in the Untied States each year. Of those, 60% are used directly by consumers.

Many claim to have the perfect hard-boiled egg recipe and every one believes his or her own to be the best, but all methods of boiling an egg have two things in common. 1: Don’t use fresh eggs, they are difficult to peel. 2: If eggs are kept in a refrigerator for several days before hard boiling, peeling becomes much easier. The complete cooling of cooked eggs in ice water also makes for easier peeling.

The first step in boiling an egg is to choose a pan that will hold in one layer all the eggs to be cooked. Cover eggs with enough cold water (never put eggs in hot water) to be one to two inches above the eggs. Place pot on high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Stir occasionally in order to prevent a yellow mark from forming on the bottom of the eggs where they get hot.

This is where you have the choice of how to complete the cooking. You can immediately remove the pot from the heat; cover and let set; some say for 12 minutes, some say 18 minutes, some say 20 minutes. This way you’ll never get the unsightly (although harmless) gray-green coating on the surface of the cooked yolk, which results when eggs are cooked at excessively high temperatures.