Over the years, I think I've tried it all:
Put the eggs in cold water and bring them up to temp. No, put them in boiling water directly. (Don't bust them trying to get them into that hot pot).
Put salt in the water. No, put vinegar in the water. Wait! Salt and vinegar. No, baking soda? Or is it baking powder? (Don't worry, it's none of the above.)
Poke it with a thumbtack so water can get in through the shell. (Not the best idea... I see a mess in your future. Either in your hand or in the pan.)
Use a potato masher to crack the shells for the last couple minutes of the boil. (This can be a disaster. Just saying.)
Peel the egg submerged under water. No, peel it under running water... it will magically help peel the egg for you. (NOT!)
Peel the large end and use a spoon to scoop the egg out. (No.... but that works great if you cut both ends off a "ripe" kiwi and slide a spoon between the fruit and the skin and then swirl it around and BOOM you have peeled kiwi. Not so much with an egg.)
You want FRESH eggs! NO! You want OLD eggs. Let them sit for a few weeks in the fridge. (Just so you know, most eggs in a grocery store are generally a few weeks old to begin with.)
Yard eggs! No, store eggs are the way to go. (Excuse me, but if you have the option, "healthy" yard eggs are DEFINITELY the way to go. How do you know they are healthy? The yolks will be a rich orange color verses a pale yellow. And the taste... the taste is amazing.)
In the end, after years of trial and error, NONE OF THIS MATTERED. Well, shocking them with heat does, but the process was still all wrong.
SO HOW DO YOU DO IT FOR REAL?
First off, you don't "boil" the eggs, you steam them. Yep, steam them.
You will need a pot with a steam basket. You can use a steaming set (pot with insert), or an inexpensive ($10 or less) collapsible steam basket that will fit inside your pot. I recommend stainless steel over silicon.
You will need a container with a sealable lid (Tupperware, Rubbermaid, etc.) Ideally, the container should be no taller than twice as high as the eggs.
1.) To ensure even cooking amongst all your eggs, pick eggs of a similar size. I also recommend hand washing the eggs before you begin. (No soap.)
2.) Place the steam basket in the pot and fill the pot with just enough water that it sits just below the bottom of the basket.
3.) Remove the steam basket and set the pot on high to boil.
4.) Place the washed eggs in a single layer in the steam basket.
5.) Once the water is boiling, CAREFULLY lower the steam basket into the pot. (It should have a handle or loop of some sort so you don't have to get your hand down inside the pot.)
6.) Immediately put on a good fitting lid and reduce the heat to Medium.
7.) Set a timer for 13 minutes. (Don't forget this part. Under-guessing makes a mess; over-guessing makes a rubbery, sulfur-tasting egg.)
NOTE: 13 minutes is ideal for a "hard" boiled egg with a hint of creaminess in the very middle. Adjust time for your preference of hardness.
8.) Have your container with lid ready and a bunch of ice on standby. When 13 minutes is almost up, place a layer of ice on the bottom then fill to the top with cold water. (I sat mine in the sink.)
9.) At 13 minutes, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the eggs with a large slotted spoon or tongs, placing them in the ice water. Totally submerge the eggs and cover with more ice.
10.) Set a timer for 15 minutes, and let those eggs totally chill out.
11.) At 15 minutes, remove the ice and drain off enough water that only half the egg height is submerged.
12.) Seal the lid and shake up and down vigorously, about 40 solid shakes. (If you undercooked your eggs, you'll know it here. Yes... I speak from experience. Hence my admonishment to diligently set a timer.) (Also, don’t get excited when you see the shells coming off and just keep shaking like crazy thinking you won’t have to peel them at all. Yes.. this too I speak from experience. It’s like a hurricane in that container and you WILL embed eggshells into what was going to be your perfectly peeled eggs. LOL!)
13.) Remove the lid and partake of the easiest egg peeling you will ever accomplish.
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