What came first: Boiling the egg or knowing how to peel it?

  • Steaming eggs instead of boiling them can result in a perfectly cooked yolk without a trace of green.

    Steaming eggs instead of boiling them can result in a perfectly cooked yolk without a trace of green. Courtesy of Don Mauer

Updated 3/23/2022 9:16 AM

Following a low-carb food plan has its ups and downs.

Downsides: Wave goodbye to sugars (as much as possible) and the foods that taste so good that contain it, such as almost every dessert. Become a meticulous label-reader on the hunt for added sugars and high carbohydrate content.


Upsides: Some animal-sourced fats are OK, such as the fat in wild-caught salmon and eggs, since egg yolk cholesterol concern has nearly evaporated.

It thrilled me when eggs finally went on my OK list. I love eggs: scrambled, fried sunny-side-up, poached, soft-boiled, in omelets and especially hard-boiled.

Hard-boiled eggs may be the most versatile egg form except for raw (baking, you know). Over the years, I've done my best to make the perfect hard-boiled egg: an egg cooked perfectly to the center, no green ring around the yolk, and a tender, not tough egg white. And I accomplished most of that. What's been eluding me: easily peeling off a hard-boiled egg's shell.

Some folks told me that the fresh eggs I get at my local farmers market are too fresh, and therefore the egg white sticks to the hard-boiled shell, making it difficult to peel.

Some people suggested that I roll the hard-boiled egg around a hard surface, cracking the shell everywhere -- loosening it before peeling. That didn't work any better. Nor did running a stream of water at the edge of whatever I was peeling to lift the shell away from the white.

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My younger brother, who also gets fresh, local eggs in Arizona, recently told me that he's been hard-cooking his eggs in a pressure cooker and that peeling them is easy.


A pressure cooker does not currently reside in my kitchen.

I started looking for answers since how eggs are cooked seemed to be a strong lead and found some of the best advice from seriouseats.com/, where they discussed different ways to hard-boil eggs.

According to seriouseats.com, steaming's the best path to an easy-peel hard-boiled egg.

I placed my stainless-steel steamer basket in the bottom of a 5-quart saucepan and added water just until it touched the steamer. I put the pan on the stove over high heat and brought the water to a boil. Using tongs to place each of the six refrigerated eggs into the steamer protected my hand from the steam rolling off the pan, which could have burned me.

I covered the pan, reduced the heat, so it boiled but didn't boil over, and set my timer for the suggested 12 minutes.

While the eggs steamed, I filled a stainless-steel bowl half full of ice and then added water. When my timer chimed, using tongs, I transferred each egg to the ice water and let them sit there until all of the ice melted.


I then transferred the eggs to a clean towel to dry and then peeled one. Yes, it peeled easier than my boiled eggs, but it was still tricky. Once peeled, I sliced the egg in half and found the yolk's center slightly undercooked.

The next time I did the same as before but steamed the eggs for 14 minutes. My 14-minute eggs peeled easily, almost slipping off, leaving a smooth white and with no sticking. I cut the egg in half and found the yolk perfectly cooked.

The next thing I did was make avocado egg salad using a mashed fresh ripe avocado. I believe I've finally solved my egg-peeling issues.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at 1leanwizard@gmail.com.

Avocado Egg Salad

1 medium-large very ripe avocado, peeled and pit removed

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon no-sugar-added avocado mayonnaise (I like Primal Kitchen Mayo brand)

2 teaspoons dried parsley

½ teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

To a medium mixing bowl add avocado, vinegar, mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper. Using a medium rubber spatula, mash the avocado until almost smooth. Add chopped eggs and stir and fold the eggs into the avocado mixture until combined. Makes enough for four sandwiches.

Nutrition values per ¼ serving: 190 calories (74.4% from fat), 15.7 g fat (3.4 g saturated fat), 3.5 g carbohydrates (1.2 net carbs), 0.7 g sugars, 2.3 g fiber, 10.1 g protein, 317 mg cholesterol, 427 mg sodium.

Don Mauer

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