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The best way to shell hardboiled eggs. May 7, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in chickens, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. How do you shell a hardboiled egg? If you’re lucky, you tap the egg against a hard surface like a counter, plate, or cutting board until the surface cracks all over, and then the shells slip off like butter.

I don’t tend to be that lucky. Here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home our friend Ben and I share in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, we raise a tiny flock of heritage chickens. During the laying season, our eggs are fresh—often less than a half-hour old when we collect them. And fresh eggs are hell to shell. You crack the shell all over. You start at the end with the air bubble under the shell to get traction. But the shell still clings to the eggwhite like white on rice. When you finally wrestle the damned shell off, at least as much eggwhite comes with the shell, despite your best efforts, as stays with the egg.

This is wasteful and unsightly. I try to use only the oldest eggs for hard-boiling, but even so, our oldest apparently can’t begin to compete with store-bought. I still struggle to shell every single one. What to do to get a nice, smooth white and a fast, easy operation?

Fortunately, after years of uneven eggs, I found an answer in the latest issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. A reader, Pam Mercer, submitted a simple tip that worked for her. She cracked the shells of her hardboiled eggs at either end, inserted a teaspoon into one cracked end, rotated it around the egg between the shell and the eggwhite, then basically popped the shell off.

This sounded promising, time-saving, and generally a huge improvement over the pitted eggwhites I’d been serving up. But would it really work on my fresh eggs? I cooked up six and put them to the test.

Bingo! Even with fresh eggs, the spoon slipped under the shell and gave me smooth, perfect hardboiled eggs in seconds. Wow, what a great idea! I’ll never try to shell a hardboiled egg any other way. Thanks, Pam! 

             ‘Til next time,




1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - May 7, 2011

Ah, to have such fresh eggs though. Great tip though.

Thanks! I see your latest post is about roasting fennel. I just roasted a bulb last night, also one of my favorite techniques for preparing them. If you haven’t tried roasted fennel with roasted sweet onion and roasted sweet potato slices, you must! Talk about a luscious combination. And roasted fennel, sweet onion, and yellow or orange bell pepper topping a cheese pizza…

2. alan - May 7, 2011

Wow! We have to try this! It is a real problem here at the Roost, and for the folks who buy eggs from us. (we have one customer who buys several dozen eggs at a time so she can age them for hard boiled/deviled eggs…) Got to try this as nothing else we have heard of has worked.

No more pitted eggs, Alan! It’s amazing!

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