We have a friend. He has a wife. His wife is a compulsive TV shopper; she likes to shop but doesn’t necessarily ever use her purchases. In some cases, we are the lucky recipients of her impulsive credit card waving. She shops, we enjoy. Everyone is happy.
One of the first things we received from our friend was an electric pressure cooker. It’s an entry level pot – none of the fancy “push one button and forget it” types of things, but a hugely useful device nonetheless. The handle sports a wrapping of purple electrical tape to protect my hands. There is a notch in the handle because the first time I used it, I didn’t secure it properly and, at temperature, it went shooting across the room. A slightly dinged handle was one of the better potential outcomes, and I am grateful.
Last week I did a pulled pork in it, which was widely praised at our neighborhood picnic for its tenderness. Pressure cookers excel at tender, but today I want to extol its virtues on another cooking problem – fresh eggs.
If you buy your eggs at the local Shop till you Drop Emporium, you have your choice of several types of eggs ranging from basic white from the massive chicken farm, to the brown eggs (also from the chicken farm, but they’re brown so you think they’re better) to the “cage free” and organic cage free at top dollar. The one thing all the options have in common is the length of time from hen to store; generally by the time STYD (Shop till you Drop) puts them on their shelf, they are at least 10 days old.
The great news is, eggs last a long time. They are designed to be kept warm for 3 weeks while the mother broods over them, till they hatch the cutest little things you’ve ever seen. Really, they’re adorable. Your 10 day old eggs are quite fine.
Do you know how to test to see if an egg has gone bad? Put it in a bowl of water. If it floats, throw it away. When the egg is laid, there is an air sac formed. As it ages, the sac fills with air and when there is enough air to float, the egg is old.
All this is interesting and delightful reading, you say, but why an electric pressure cooker and eggs?
So the issue is with some fresher store bought eggs, but especially if you’ve sought out local small farm eggs. The shell adheres quite well to the freshly laid protective inner membrane and makes peeling a hard boiled egg a pain in the patoot! For those who enjoy fresh eggs, you probably know not to contemplate a platter of deviled eggs with the whites unscathed by the peeling process. Until now.
Enter the pressure cooker. The difference between the altered atmospheric pressure and simply boiling an egg is that the membrane breaks down in the pressure. I swear to you, your eggs will peel perfectly and evenly every time. Cross my heart and hope to smell like Sulphur.
Easy Peasy Egg Peeling
Place as many eggs as you would like into your pressure cooker. Cover them with cold water.
Place the lid on and set the timer for 5 minutes. The timer begins its countdown when pressure is achieved, so the 5 minutes is cook time under pressure. Depending on how many eggs and the associated amount of water, it can take an additional 5-10 minutes before the timer begins.
As soon as the 5 minutes under pressure have passed, release the pressure by opening the quick release valve. Keep your fingers away because there will be a lot of hot steam coming out quickly. Open the lid and transfer the eggs to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
When cool, hit the egg several times against a hard surface to crack the shell, then marvel as the perfect hard boiled egg slides out of its protective casing.