The Secret to Hard Boiling Eggs

by Donne Davis on April 25, 2011

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Today I learned the secret to hard boiling eggs—make sure you use a kitchen timer!

I put a pot of boiling eggs on the burner on high and left the kitchen, forgetting to set my Grandma Amelia’s white Mirro-matic timer. “Granny” used to have an expression for avoiding such kitchen disasters: “You can’t cook in the bedroom, Dearie!” (i.e., don’t leave a pot on the stove unattended.)

Well, Granny, you can’t cook in the garden either!

I went outside for about 15 minutes to pull some weeds. When I came back in, I smelled something strange—kind of smokey. But I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. When I walked into the kitchen, I realized I had completely forgotten the four eggs boiling in a pot. I lifted the lid and saw that all the water had evaporated.

Four scorched eggs sat at the bottom of the pot!

I turned off the heat and backed away. It’s lucky I did. A minute later one of the eggs exploded—all over the stove and floor. As I surveyed the damage, I tried not to be too hard on myself and focused on the lesson I learned instead. I felt bad that I wasted four eggs, but I did actually need a new one-quart pot.

I can’t wait to tell my granddaughters about my “unplanned science experiment!” I’ll ask them: Where did the water go? What made the egg explode? What did I learn from this experiment?

The lesson I learned: Don’t leave the kitchen when you’re boiling water and always set your kitchen timer. The incident also reminded me of a headline I saw in last week’s paper: Why older people can’t multitask as well.

After I cleaned up the mess, I hard boiled four more eggs and this time they came out just right … and I stayed in the kitchen for the whole time. Here’s a fool-proof recipe for hard boiled eggs.

Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe

  • Puncture the end of each egg with a pin or egg puncher.
  • Place eggs in a one-quart pot and cover with water.
  • Cover with a lid and bring to a rolling boil. [Don't leave the kitchen!]
  • As soon as the water starts to boil, turn off the heat.
  • Set the timer for 25 minutes and leave the eggs in the covered pot.
  • Then pour off the water and cover the eggs with cold water and ice cubes.

The egg shells will peel off easily.

{ 1 comment }

grannynanny April 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Older people are not the only ones who mess up multi-tasking. While my daughter was in graduate school, she had the same thing happen – only worse. She had left her apartment forgetting about the eggs that were cooking. When she got back a half hour later the fire department had been called and there were eggs on the ceiling, walls and floors! To make matters even worse, her husband, who hates the smell of eggs, was forced to sleep at his friend’s house while the smell dissipated. She was only 26 at the time.

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