Some of my friends reading this are going to think, “HUH?” But not everyone knows how to hard boil an egg. For those of us who do know how, we think it’s elementary, but for those who don’t it’s like graduating from university whilst still wearing diapers. No one took the time to teach them how. I suspect that these same people never read an instruction manual either.
I know someone, I love her to bits, who thought that an egg needed to boil for 20-30 minutes before it’s cooked. When I suggested that it needed far less time than that, this person asked other people they knew how long they cooked a hard boiled egg. Everyone thought that a half hour was bit long. On average, most people said 8-12 minutes. If the edges of the egg’s yolk take on a greenish tint, then you’ve over-cooked the egg. A properly hard boiled egg won’t have any hint of green around the yolk.
To put this in perspective, an ostrich egg is soft boiled after cooking 60 minutes. And believe it or not, an ostrich egg is so big that it won’t even fit in a stock pot. One weighs between 4 and 5 pounds, and it’s equivalent to 2 dozen large chicken eggs. So as you can see, cooking a hen’s egg for 30-minutes when it’s 1/24th the size of an ostrich egg that requires 60-minutes … well, that over-kill. Fortunately for us, it’s a lot easier to pull an egg out from under a hen than it is an ostrich. If we only had ostriches as a source of eggs, we’d never eat an egg and the length of time to cook one would be so ‘who gives a flying fig, and what’s an egg anyway?’ …
So let’s boil an egg …
How to hard boil an egg:
Fill a saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water, gently set the egg(s) in the cold water and then pour in enough additional cold water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Turn the heat up to high on the cooker (stove), but do not put the lid on the pan. You want to see when the water comes to a bubbling boil. When that happens, you have two options for proceeding.
Option #1. Turn the heat down to a simmer (still no lid!), and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl containing ice water (cold water with a few ice cubes in it) for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs from the ice water, and gently tap the shell on the work surface (countertop) and with a very light and tender touch, roll the egg under the palm of your hand on the work surface to further separate the shell from the inner membrane. Don’t crush the poor ol’ egg under hand! Now submerge the egg again in the ice water for 5 minutes. This process will make peeling the egg very easy, even if it’s freshly laid.
Option #2. When the water boils, turn off the heat on the stove completely, clap a tight fitting lid on the pan, and set the timer for 12 minutes. Walk away and forget it until the timer goes off. Then proceed as above with the ice water bath for 10-minutes, roll on the work surface, back into the ice water, etc..
10 minute egg (left) has a pale bright yellow yolk and the white is tender.
20 minute egg (right) has a green-tinted yolk, and the white is stiff and rubbery.