How To Tell When Hard Boiled Eggs Are Done?

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Eggs are a food that are naturally rich in protein. Eggs are one of the few protein rich foods that are labelled as a complete protein. Without getting too science heavy, protein is made up of nine different amino acids. Most protein sources contain a few of these amino acids. Eggs are one of the handful of foods to contain all nine. Foods containing all nine essential amino acids are labelled as a complete protein. Along with being a complete protein source eggs provide us with Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 (vegetarians are commonly deficient in B vitamins as they mostly come from meat sources)

Whether you enjoy eggs boiled, poached, fried or scrambled, the plethora of nutrients contained in eggs is hard to beat.

When it comes to eggs, it can be a very personal preference as to how they are cooked. Some people love hard-boiled eggs whilst others its soft boiled, some people love sunny side up whilst others the order is over medium.

One of the more convenient methods of cooking an egg is boiling. For boiled eggs all that is needed is a saucepan, water and a watchful eye (an egg timer or stopwatch wouldn’t go astray either) The trickiest aspect of cooking boiled eggs is knowing when the egg is done. The pesky shell prevents us from seeing how hard or soft the yolk and white are.

Until x-ray vision is invented, there are a few methods we can use to help tell when hard boiled eggs are done.

Methods of telling when a hard-boiled egg is done:

Spinning test

  • To use this test, you will need a raw egg and cooked egg.
  • Place raw egg and cooked egg on a flat surface.
  • Spin them both at same time and whichever one spins better (more controlled spin) is the hard-boiled egg.
  • The science behind this method all comes down to gravity. The yolk of a hard-boiled egg will be solid causing it to have a fixed centre of gravity; this will cause a smoother spin!

Light test

  • You will also need a raw egg to complete this test.
  • Place the eggs against a light source.
  • When the light does not shine through the egg, it is hard boiled.
  • The light will shine through the raw egg as the white and yolk are liquid and allow light to travel through them whereas the hard-boiled egg’s white and yolk are opaque and will therefore block the light.

Bubble test

  • When an uncooked egg is placed into warm water it will release small bubbles.
  • When a cooked egg is put into warm water no bubbles will appear.

Time method

  • This method is probably the most obvious yet simple method.
  • Boiled eggs generally take between 8-10 minutes to cook.
  • For hard boiled eggs it is best to stick to the upper end of this range and aim for 9 ½ – 10 minutes.
  • As you submerge the eggs in the water, set your timer and take them from heat and water after the desired time. Taking them from the water after the set time will ensure the eggs don’t overcook and become rubbery.

Crack test

  • Unfortunately, this test is irreversible and once again quite an obvious one.
  • When you think the egg is cooked, take it from the saucepan and run it under a tap of cold water.
  • Crack the shell in half and break into the yolk.
  • If it is cooked to your liking take the remaining eggs from heat and water.
  • If it is not hard boiled as desired, continue to cook remaining eggs over heat. The egg you cracked can’t go back into the water, it will simply fall victim to the under cooked egg squad.

Tips for cooking hard-boiled eggs

  • Don’t panic if you crack your cooked egg and the yolk is green. This occurs when the yolk is overcooked. It is safe to eat. The green color is caused by a combination of sulphur and iron.
  • Never place raw eggs into boiling water. This can cause the shell to crack and the white can then leak out through the cracks. Water that is slightly bubbling will be sufficient. Even better if the eggs are at room temperature as there will be less of a contrast with temperatures.
  • If your eggs are straight from the fridge, add about 30 seconds to cooking time to allow for sufficient cooking time at required temperature.
  • Gas cookers and hobs tend to cook eggs quicker as the heat can be at a higher temperature. It will all come down to trial and error with whatever type of hob you are working with.

Eggs are a powerhouse of the nutrition world. Regardless of what method of checking your hard-boiled egg, be assured you have chosen a convenient, complete and tasty food that will nourish your body!


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