Eggcellent… Making The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Hard Boiled Eggs in a Green Dish

OK, laugh if you like – this is not a recipe for “how to boil water“, but it isn’t much harder.

It’s that time of year when grocery stores feature special 18-count cartons of eggs. Turquoise Egg Salad becomes the national dish for Easter Monday – brown-baggers and schoolchildren agree – it should taste great even if its color did originate somewhere over the rainbow.

Follow these simple steps and your pragmatic determination to turn Easter eggs into a usable meal will yield better-tasting results and be easier to prepare.

  • Lay eggs in a pot all in one layer and add enough cold water to cover well.
  • Bring to a boil but keep an eye on it; as soon as the water boils, cover the pot, turn heat off, and allow to stand for 10 minutes. This will work for up to a dozen medium or large eggs; if using extra large or jumbo eggs, increase the standing time by 3-5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with lots of ice and top off with water.
  • When eggs are done, gently lift with a slotted spoon and lower into the ice water.
  • Keep eggs in ice water until they have fully cooled (about 20 minutes), adding more ice if necessary.
  • This gentle cooking method and the ice water bath prevent the yolks from turning green at the edges. The green-tinged yolk occurs when sulfur in the egg white interacts with iron in the yolk. This discoloration won’t cause any harm, but it isn’t very pretty and some say a completely yellow yolk tastes better.

A Time to Peel

  • To peel, rap each end of the egg on a hard surface, then give another small rap on the side and roll along its whole circumference, pressing gently as you go.

Eggs have an air pocket at the end, and the rolling motion helps to pierce the membrane just under the shell. This method allows you to peel off whole sections of shell at a time, except for a few stubborn bits. If you rap or press too hard, the egg white will break. So if you’re making deviled eggs, do be careful with this step, but if egg salad is your final destination, breaking an egg white or three is no big deal.

Easter bunnies do not eat eggs because they are herbivores, and that’s why they are so good at delivering them. They aren’t tempted to snack on the contents of those baskets. For the rest of us, whatever your persuasion, spring holidays involve hard cooked eggs, sweets, and multi-generational family feasts. Enjoy!

Healthful tip:To reduce calories in recipes using mayonnaise, use a 50/50 combination of low-fat mayo and plain non-fat yogurt. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice for a tangy taste. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, one egg has about 75 calories, 6 grams of very complete protein and 4.5 grams of fat.

Recommended reading:

Is Chocolate a Health Food?

Chocolate Bars

Sadly, no. But, chocolate does have some healthful properties that, when taken in moderation, can be part of a wholesome balanced diet.

You’ve probably heard this before. For several years now, there’s been buzz around dark chocolate – and not just from the great feeling that a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate treat can give. Excited headlines have proclaimed the good news that chocolate is good for us! Read on a little further, and we find the caveats and the “but onlys”. The truth is a little more nuanced. Chocolate does have benefits, but they must be balanced against chocolate’s high calorie and saturated fat content. And now, the American Heart Association has weighed in with the results of its own study.

In 2010, Circulation: Heart Failure, a Journal of the American Heart Association, published the results of its nine year study conducted in Switzerland. This is the first long term study focused on the association of chocolate consumption and the risk of heart failure. This study finds that women who ate one to two servings of chocolate per week had a 32% lower risk of developing heart failure. Women who ate one to three servings per week had a 26% lower risk. And the serving size? About 1 ounce.

Chocolate by any other name?

With all the attention on dark chocolate as the “good for you” chocolate, it’s remarkable that the American Heart Association study was based on the consumption of milk chocolate – Swiss milk chocolate, that is. In Switzerland, milk chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids – about 30% – than some dark chocolate in the United States. In the U.S., dark chocolate need only contain 15% cocoa solids to legally be called “dark” chocolate. Since chocolate’s healthful properties are contained in the cocoa solids, the percentage of cocoa solids is a crucial detail.

Better quality chocolates – whether from the U.S. or elsewhere – typically list the percentage of cocoa solids on the package. The AHA study seems to show that the percentage of cocoa solids is more important than whether the chocolate is called milk or dark (white chocolate contains no cocoa solids at all).

Stretch that chocolate budget

If 1 ounce of chocolate a couple of times a week sounds a little on the lean side, consider a few ways to make it last a little longer. Save up your chocolate “chips” and cash them in on some beautiful chocolate dipped dried fruit or nuts. If you’d like a little extra sweet to go with that dark chocolate, then chocolate dipped dried apricots or cherries may be the ticket. If a bit of crunch is what the tastebuds ordered, then try the sweet and salty combination of chocolate dipped roasted nuts. If simplicity is your game, let that 1 ounce of chocolate melt slowly on your palate, and savor every last drop. Divine.