Did you Know? – Why eggs are harder to peel than they used to be.

badly peeled eggs

I overheard two older ladies talking about making deviled eggs, the other day, and one of them commented: “Hard-boiled eggs were so much easier to peel when I was young, I don’t know what’s happened to them!”

It was one of those wonderful, if rare, moments where I actually know the answer to something, in this case due to some inane piece of cooking trivia I learned growing up in restaurant kitchens.

There are a zillion tips out there for how to make a hard-boiled egg easier to peel (and I’m sure I’ll get most of them in the comments to this post), but far fewer on why eggs are so hard to peel in the first place, or why it’s become more difficult.

You can blame those rage-enducing egg-peeling moments (is it just me?) on advances in food processing and delivery time in the last four decades. The store-bought eggs you ate growing up, could take up to two weeks to get from chicken-butt to shelf.

These days, that same egg could be less than 36 hours old.

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(Side note: I spoke to an employee at my local Winco, who informed me that all SIX floor-to-ceiling coolers of fresh eggs have to be completely re-stocked every 8 hours!)

Now, in most fresh foods, this is great news, and it’s great news if you’re preparing your eggs in any other fashion. For easy-peel eggs, however, it’s a huge disadvantage.

In fresh eggs (used within a week from laying), the albumen (egg white) tends to stick to the inner shell membrane due to the less acidic environment of the egg.

As an egg sits in the cooler for several days, the pH of the white albumen increases and the hard cooked eggs become much easier to peel. The egg white also shrinks slightly, so the air space between the eggshell and the membrane grows larger, resulting in boiled eggs that are easier to peel.

That whole pH thing, btw, is why the old yarn about using a half-teaspoon of baking soda really does work. Adding baking soda to the water to raise its pH level, effectively dissolving the gorilla-glue that God uses to attach the white to the shell.

BTW, you probably won’t hear phrases like “the pH of the white albumen” or “less acidic environment” in the commercial kitchen…

Someone just yells, “Hey a**-hole, use the eggs at the back of the f’in’ walk-in next time!”

Welcome to my childhood. 😉

For ideal peeling, use eggs that are 7-10 days old. To be safe, buy your eggs a week before you plan to boil them, label the carton “For Boiling”, and stick them in the back of the fridge.

Using a (clean) needle to poke a tiny hole in the fat end of the egg also helps, allowing a small amount of steam between the egg and shell, separating the two. That’s how our grandma’s did it.

So…there you go!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

 

Sausage & Veggie Breakfast Casserole (GF)

Top with roasted mushrooms, then remaining cheese.

Cooked up a couple of breakfast casseroles for a friend this week. They turned out great! My Green Chili Egg puff requires flour, and they needed another one that was gluten-free. So I came up with this one.

It takes some steps the night before, but makes for a quick and easy breakfast the next morning.

Sausage & Veggie Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 lb bratwurst sausage (beer, or sweet Italian sausage)
  • 1 ½  cups diced sweet onion
  • 8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms, roasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups frozen shredded O’Brien hash browns, cooked crisp
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup diced red/yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2lb grape tomatoes, halved.
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (from about 6 onions)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

For Mikey: You can swap out the bell peppers for 2 small cans of diced green chilies, well drained. 😉

Prep:

Lightly coat a foil-lined cookie sheet with cooking spray. Spread hash-browns in a single layer, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and bake until crisp.

Cut all veggies.

Remove sausage from casings.

Toss sliced mushrooms with 1 Tbs. of oil, a little salt and pepper, and spread on another lined cookie-sheet. Roast in oven at 350F, until the mushroom are well browned.

Assemble:

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, onions, and garlic until sausage is no longer pink and mushrooms have given off some of their liquid, about 10 minutes.

Throughout cooking, chop to crumble sausage.  Drain the liquid.

Garden Breakfast Casserole Gluten Free

In a 9×13 pan coated with cooking spray, layer potatoes (no need to thaw), sausage mixture, then 1 cup cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, and green onions.

Garden Breakfast Casserole Gluten Free

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, parsley, salt, basil, and pepper.

Whisk thoroughly to combine, then add half of the remaining cheese and whisk again.

Garden Breakfast Casserole Gluten Free

Pour egg mixture evenly over other ingredients in baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Alternately, you can bake this casserole immediately.)

Cook:

In the morning, top with roasted mushrooms, then remaining cheese. preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake casserole, uncovered, for about 60-70 minutes, or until egg in middle is just set (no jiggle) and edges are lightly golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Great with a dollop of Mexican Crema, and some chopped cilantro or Italian Parsley.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

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We are entering the age of the “Home Chef”, a title that’s available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

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