HARD BOILING YOUNG HEN EGGS
Hard-boiled fresh eggs can be hard to peel but eggs laid by young hens are almost impossible. This year I had to replace my entire flock. It was especially frustrating to discover that even when the fresh, young hen eggs were left for 7 rather than the normal 3 days before hard-boiling, they were still impossible to peel.
An egg has an inner and outer shell membrane. Since the egg shell is permeable, as the egg ages, carbon dioxide and moisture are lost through the shell. This causes the two membranes to separate and the air sac to expand. As a result, the older the egg is, the easier it is to peel.
My normal method of hard boiling eggs was to place them in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. The cooking time depends on egg size. I wanted a quick method that would ensure that relatively fresh eggs could be hard boiled and easily peeled. My Internet search lead me to the prairie homestead page. Although they were not talking about the problems of hard-boiling young hen eggs, they did mention the idea of using a pressure cooker. I am a huge fan of pressure cookers and believe that no kitchen should be without one. I have a number of different sized cookers and use them all the time to make soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes in a fraction of the time. They can even be used to can tomatoes and other vegetables.
For the experiment, I chose four eggs that had been laid on consecutive days. The egg on the right labelled 1 day old was laid on the same day, the 2-day old one the day before, etc.
Put 1 cup (250ml) of water in a pressure cooker and bring it to the boil.
Place the eggs on a steamer and lower it into the pan.
Close the pressure cooker lid and bring it up to full power. Turn down the heat and leave it for 5 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time, if your pressure cooker has a quick release mechanism, quickly release the pressure by placing the pan under the running cold tap. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water, running and change the water until the eggs are completely cool.
I then peeled the eggs and these are shown in the photo below. The results are conclusive and show how the eggs are easy to peel, and even the freshest egg could be peeled with care.