For perfect Easter eggs, do not boil

National Egg Month always should be the same month as Easter, especially since 164 million eggs were purchased for Easter celebrations in the United States last year, according to the Incredible, Edible Egg group.

That means lots of egg dye, food coloring, egg salad, deviled eggs and all kinds of egg dishes for the holiday.

This year, as I have for a number of years now, will I’ll tell you the best way to get perfectly hard-cooked eggs for coloring or just for peeling and eating.

The Incredible Edible Egg group and TV Chef Jeffrey Saad also offer the same advice, which beings with: “Do not boil them!”

This easy method will help avoid green around the egg yolk, tough whites and cracked eggs. It’s really very simple.

Pace eggs in a large saucepan. I put them in a “Dutch oven” to hold more eggs in a single layer.

Cover with cold water to an inch above eggs.

Heat over high heat JUST to boiling. Immediately remove from burner and put a cover on the pan. Let stand 15 minutes for large eggs, 12 minutes for medium, 18 minutes for large.

Cool completely with cold running water.

They’re ready to color, eat or store (unpeeled) for up to a week in the fridge.

I have used food coloring or kits to color eggs but prefer food coloring as it allows for the creation of “unique” colors.

More hints we all agree on:

Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. Buy and refrigerate your eggs a week to 10 days in advance of cooking them to make the peeling process easier.

This brief “breather” allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.

Hard-cooked eggs are easiest to peel after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

To peel a hard-cooked egg, gently tap egg on countertop until the shell is finely cracked all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Peel starting at the large end and hold the egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off. Works like a charm.

Greenish ring is a harmless but unsightly discoloration that sometimes forms around hard-cooked yolks. It is the result of a reaction between sulfur in the egg white and iron in the yolk. It occurs when eggs have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature.

Hard-cooked eggs in the shell can be refrigerated safely for up to one week. Peeled hard-cooked eggs should be eaten that day.

Uncooked eggs can stay fresh in a refrigerator for up to a month or more.

And now I have a question for my two favorite scientists: Gary McAlister, who is a Daily Sentinel columnist, and John McConnell of The John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado fame.

How is it that my daughter has been able to pull out the same bowl of the same beautifully colored eggs that she used years ago for a centerpiece?

Oh, I can see you holding your noses as you imagine the smell, but get this ... there’s no smell.

My daughter discovered the bowl in her pantry weeks after Easter, just as pretty and with no odor whatsoever.

I can’t wait for the answer.

In the meantime here’s an Incredible Edible Egg Recipe that sounds good.

More Easter recipes will be coming in my next column.

Breakfast Egg Spread

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1/4 cup refrigerated ranch dip
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fully-cooked bacon
Whole grain baguette slices or bagels, toasted

Place all ingredients, except bacon and baguettes/bagels, in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

Spoon into serving bowl, top with bacon. Serve with toasted bagels or baguette slices.

A note: Eggs have 14 percent less cholesterol than once thought and are 64 percent higher in vitamin D than previously thought.


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