Versatile and tasty, boiled eggs make a meal of anything, from fresh summer salads to gourmet sandwich fillings. They are simple, satisfying and take next to no time to prepare. Eggs are also pretty interesting - for example, did you know that the first omelette was made by the Ancient Romans? For more interesting egg facts, check out our A to Z of things to know about eggs.
But with boiled eggs comes the tricky question of how to remove the shell. Sometimes it can seem that no matter how careful you are, that eggshell is determined to cling to the egg, and by the time you’ve removed it all, your egg is peppered with craters, like the surface of the moon.
To help make a hard job easy, we decided to take a look at three tried-and-tested ways of peeling an egg.
The water method
Once your eggs are cooked, place them in a bowl of cold water and ice and leave for about five minutes, until they’re cool enough to handle. Next, fill another bowl with room temperature water, and hold one of the eggs under the surface. Hit the egg against the side of the bowl until it cracks, and start peeling away at the shell. Once the water gets underneath the shell, it loosens the membrane that holds the shell tight to the egg, and you should find that the shell comes away easily. Repeat the process with each egg, and you will soon have a batch of perfectly smooth, peeled eggs.
The crack and roll method
Another way of loosening the membrane that holds the shells to the egg is to cover the surface in cracks. Cool your eggs in a water bath for five minutes, as above, until they’re cool enough to touch. Take each of the eggs in turn and tap one end sharply against the counter so that it cracks, then press down lightly with the palm of your hand and roll the egg around beneath it until it is covered in cracks. Start to peel at one of the cracks, and you should find that the shell comes away easily.
The spoon method
To use the spoon method, begin in the same way, cooling your eggs in a water bath, then cracking one end against the counter. Now take a spoon and carefully slide it between the shell and the egg, moving it around and along the egg until the shell is completely removed. This method needs a gentle touch, so be careful not to push your spoon too far beneath the shell all at once, or you could end up gouging the delicate egg white.
There are also a few tricks you can use to make your eggs easier to peel in the first place.
Cooking your eggs properly makes a big difference. Make sure the water is brought to a full rolling boil before lowering the eggs inside, then continue to boil vigorously for 30 seconds. After this, you should either reduce the heat to its lowest level, or turn off the heat completely and allow the eggs to cook in the hot water for around 12 minutes, before submerging them in an ice bath.
Fresh eggs are particularly hard to peel, so using older eggs will also make your job a little easier. Eggs can keep for 3 to 5 weeks in the refrigerator, and there are simple ways to check if your eggs are still good.
Discover here one of our favourite slow-cooked beef stew recipes, for those that have a whole day to wait for it to be ready. But do not also forget to browse our other four top beef stew recipes from around the world.