Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why hard-boiled eggs don't peel

I buy eggs from two different farms in Lancaster. Both farm's eggs are layed by free-range, pasture-fed chickens. Both have deep golden-orange yolks. Both are delicious, very fresh, brown eggs... but they are totally different in their peel-ability after hard boiling them. One is smooth and easy to peel. The other is impossible to peel and every tiny piece of shell wants to stick to the egg forever and ever. Feel the frustration. And so I say "Hmmm..." That's when I realize one difference... one farmer washes his eggs; the other farmer does not. My curiosity starts flying around the internet studying food science and the anatomy of an egg. Aha! I just read that "the outer eggshell is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate and is covered with as many as 17,000 tiny pores. It is a semipermeable membrane which allows air and moisture to pass through. The shell also has a thin outermost coating called the bloom or cuticle that keeps bacteria out. Once the egg is washed, the bloom has been removed. Once the bloom is removed, the egg is susceptible to air transference and this will speed up the aging process. It is this aging process that actually helps the egg to separate from the shell due to a change in the pH as well as transference of air into the egg shell. The conclusion: the unwashed eggs will last longer but the washed eggs are the only way to go for hard-boiling. Here's where I buy my washed eggs:

Leola: Meadowview Dairy Store, 172 S. Farmersville Rd., Leola, PA 17540. (717) 656-2261 or (717) 821-6748. Fresh raw milk for $3 a gallon from a small herd of Jersey cows. Variety of aged raw milk cheese available, retail and wholesale. They also have brown eggs from pastured hens, yogurt, raw honey and, and more. Stop by the farm.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I was taught by my aunt that fresh eggs are not good for hard-boiling, the shells stick to the whites. I have had the same problem with my very fresh pastured eggs. I usually buy several dozen at a time and boil the last dozen before going for more.
Andrea PS

Amy said...

Yup! Thanks Andrea.

Amy said...

I just called Meadowview Dairy in Leola and they said that they feed their cows some grain once a day. They estimate that the grain probably constitutes about 25% or less of their total diet... the rest is grass feeding. Random tid-bits of information here.

wordvixen said...

Thanks for that information on the milk, Amy. I'm looking for a real milk supplier that uses Jersey cows for the higher cream content. I'm currently emailing the local Weston A Price leader to see if she knows anything about the quality of their milk, but thought I should do a bit of due diligence (googling) first. :-D

I'm ok with a little grain, as long as they're healthy, mostly pastured, and the whole process is clean.

Amy said...

Yes. Meadowview has jersey cows. So does Leroy Miller at:
Life Enhancing Acres
2931 Miller Lane, Bird-in-Hand, 17505
Phone: 768.7848
Fresh chickens: May-Oct, turkeys: Nov, eggs & frozen meats all year. M,Tu,Th,F 8 - 5, Sa 8 -4 Pastured poultry, turkey, eggs, beef, lamb, fruits & vegetables

Desiree said...

Hello! I just stumbled across your blog from a google search for local farms here in Lanc. I'm looking for the best resources for primarily grass-fed milk,eggs,meat. I've heard of meadowview before and think i've gone there before. can't really remember though. i'm basically looking for the best quality at a decent price. what would you recommend? thanks so much!!

Amy said...

Hi Desiree, thanks for writing. I recommend Country Meadows Farm Market for grass-fed meats (which is totally separate from Meadowview). They are located at Lancaster Central Market. See http://www.centralmarketlancaster.com/directory/view/country-meadows-farms

Or go to Expressly Local for frozen grass-fed meats. Its located across the street from McDonald's on King St. In Lancaster city. Both places have great quality!

Desiree said...

Thanks for your reply. Would you recommend Meadowview Dairy for their milk and eggs? I have tried Country Meadows beef and love it! So glad I stumbled across your blog!