It is that time of year again, spring and renewal and fuzzy baby animals. Such a happy, idyllic time of year! One that I enjoyed, yes, but also caused me a lot of internal stress. Not because of the indecisive weather, holiday events or even the knowledge that I would probably have to start shaving my legs again. No, it was those blasted eggs!
I am not talking about the decorating part, or even the stress of trying to eat all of those hard-boiled eggs before they went bad…it was the mystery that came with PEELING the blasted things! Will the entire shell come off in little bits, occasionally digging its sharp points underneath my fingernail? Maybe it will only be an occasional struggle that results in a bit of pockmarking on the outside? Or will the shell come off beautifully until the end, promising that elusive intact oval, only to have a huge chunk of the white stay attached to the shell? And it didn’t matter if I put vinegar in the water or put the cooked eggs in an ice bath immediately or what temperature the water was when I put the eggs in, nothing made an obvious difference. I hated peeling the blasted things. The whole process really should not have caused me so much grief, and yet it always frustrated me.
Then a couple of years ago I heard about steaming eggs, which claimed to create hard-cooked eggs that peeled beautifully. The cooking method was easy enough: using a lidded pot and steamer basket, steam the eggs as you would vegetables. But I put off trying it for a few months, not wanting to be disappointed by yet another negative peeling experience. Eventually I realized that I shouldn’t be such a whiny wimp and try it. It worked, of course. Beautifully! And it is SO EASY!!!
Just like with hard-boiled eggs, different places will give you different time suggestions for steaming eggs. Many also seem to recommend the cold water/ice bath to stop the cooking process. You do what you want, but here is what I do:
- Put around ½” water in my big pot that has a lid (make sure that it is the big pot, the one where the steamer basket opens most/all the way, and NOT the 4 quart pan where the basket only fits on top of the pan, with the basket sides folded around the eggs, with the lid of that pan holding the basket sides closed around the eggs. While they may end up cooked fine, they will not peel as nicely. Possibly also speaking from experience here…)
- Put in eggs – one layer is probably best, but I am not going to judge if you are doing so many that a few will be sitting on top of others.
- Turn water on to begin steam process. Optional: wander out of the kitchen before steaming process begins, and completely forget that you are cooking the eggs until you: 1) coincidentally wander back into the kitchen, see steam coming out of the pan, and wonder how long that has been happening; or 2) wonder what that smell is, then remember that you are making eggs. Figure that they must be about done if you can smell them
- Steam them for as many minutes as you feel they should be steamed. I try to do them between 15-18 minutes, but that number varies (see step 3).
- Take off burner, let cool a bit, then use tongs to put back in carton before refrigerating (I never got in the habit of an ice bath. As we don’t have an ice maker, that would have required way too much forethought).
- Peel eggs at your leisure. Optional – be amazed at how easily the shells come off!
In all seriousness, steaming eggs does seem to produce consistently easy to peel eggs. This time of year, with holidays and trying to use up all that the Bunny hid, that can make a difference! Plus, it is always nice to have a fun little trick like this up your sleeve. Speaking from experience.