Farm Fresh Easter Eggs
Last year we had some serious trouble hard-boiling our Easter eggs. They weren't finished in the center and were impossible to peel without gouging out big pieces of egg white that stayed attached to the shells. This is because fresh eggs have a much stronger membrane (the part between the shell and the white), while store-bought eggs have been sitting around long enough to let the membrane separate a bit. (You can read a very thorough, more scientific explanation here.)
This year, we vowed to do better.
Although the internet is full of ideas about how to make fresh eggs easier to peel (ice bath, pin prick, baking soda, steaming), the varied comments left by others on ear method led me to believe that there's no magic bullet here. You just have to plan ahead.
And since planning is my strong suit, that's what we did. Back in March, we started a separate box to save our clean, unpecked eggs for Easter. It was full by the end of the month, and we left it in the back of the fridge for 2-3 weeks to age for boiling.
Notice that the lid has been torn off this carton--the extra airflow helps let gas escape from the egg and allow the membrane to loosen up.
To boil, we placed them in a large pot filled with water to cover them. Once the water comes just barely to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Kirk then turned off the heat and let them sit for another couple minutes before draining.
The kids painted a dozen eggs with Q-tips and food dye. There are only nine left in the picture because they were eaten fro Easter breakfast after having been hunted down out in the garden.
As always, we use most of our hard-boiled eggs for deviled eggs, garnished with chives:
Making them look like small, unhappy people is not a requirement, but this one was so much fun that it might be the start of a new tradition. More info on Kirk's recipe for deviled eggs here.
The process of aging eggs in the fridge to boil them isn't hard, but it does require planning. That means that deviled eggs will likely always be a seasonal delicacy for us--something to be enjoyed in spring when the eggs are rolling in and we are looking for things to do with them.
On the other hand, maybe we just should always have a half-dozen on reserve in the back of the fridge for boiling, which would allow us to enjoy egg salad, hard boiled eggs in salads, etc. Perhaps a special box would keep greedy breakfast seekers at bay. Worth a shot!