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Packaged hard cooked eggs?

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Yes, you can now buy already peeled hard-boiled (hard cooked) eggs at your local grocer. Both of our local groceries are selling a package of six medium hard cooked eggs, already peeled for about $2.99. These are packaged by Eggland’s Best (EB for short) in little plastic see-through bags.

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Always unable to avoid buying another silly convenience food, we bought a package of them to try. We also hard cooked a few extra large eggs for comparison, and as you can see there are some of both on a platter. Both are pretty unblemished but the XL ones are bigger of course.

If you just want to scarf down one of these as a snack, the medium sized eggs would do fine (with perhaps a dash of salt) but if you wanted to make devilled eggs the way they show on the package, half of a medium egg is a pretty small devilled egg and even a little hard to work with.

A dozen extra large eggs costs $3.49 at Stop and Shop (or 29 cents apiece), and the EB packaged eggs $2.99 (or 49 cents apiece).

Making hard cooked eggs

It doesn’t take but a few minutes to make hard cooked eggs and you can do it for about half the cost. We say “hard cooked” rather than “hard boiled” because we never quite bring the water to a boil. This avoids the bumping that cracks the shells.

The way to do this is to put the cold eggs in cold water in a pan and heat the water to just under a boil, so the water is bubbling a bit but not yet bumping. This is at about 203º F or 95º C. Then turn off the heat and cover the pan.

Ten minutes is the minimum, but a little longer is better. We tried an egg at 10, 12, 14 and 16 minutes, as well as one at 22 minutes. Of the 4 times, we found that the eggs peeled the best at 16 minutes. The shells stuck more at 10, 12 and 14. You can see all of these compared in the slide show alongside one of the EB eggs.

In each case, we plunged the cooked egg into icy cold water and let it cool until room temperature before peeling. We then peeled them under cold running water.

The egg cooked for 22 minutes had started to form the green yolk which comes from the formation of ferrous sulfide. Sulfur from the white reacts with iron from the yolk. There is only a little difference in taste, but the color is not as attractive and the yolks are dry and crumbly. We think the 16-minute eggs are much tastier, as the yolk is a bit softer.

How did they taste?

Oh, and how did the EB eggs stack up by comparison? The yolks were not at all discolored, but, sadly, the eggs had no taste at all! Ours were much more flavorful. Sorry, EB, we’ll continue to make our own.

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