Q.: Please help me boil perfect eggs. My egg yolks don’t always look all the way done in the middle. Also, is there a big difference between using healthy eggs like brown or all-natural than regular?
— V.V., Akron
A.: The only difference between eggs with a brown shell and those with a white, blue, green or any other color shell you may find is the variety of chicken that laid them.
All eggs are natural in the most basic sense, and they are pretty much the same nutritionally. You are probably thinking of terms like cage-free, free-range and organic. Those terms reflect the ways a chicken is raised, which may affect the quality of the chicken’s life considerably, but don’t necessarily guarantee a healthier egg or a safer egg. A chicken raised by any of those methods could still be contaminated with salmonella and produce eggs that contain the bacteria.
Certified organic eggs come from chickens that were not given any antibiotics or hormones, and must have been fed a diet of grain that was grown free of any pesticides or other toxins. That doesn’t guarantee the chickens were raised in a cage-free environment, though many organic chickens are.
The quality of feed given to a chicken will affect how healthy or nutritious the eggs are, but none of that can be determined by a phrase on the egg carton.
As far as hard-cooking eggs goes, lots of folks swear by this method recommended by the American Egg Board:
“Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add enough cold water to come at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Turn off heat. If necessary, remove pan from burner to prevent further boiling. Let eggs stand, covered, in the hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs, 12 minutes for medium, 18 minutes for extra large. Immediately, run cold water over eggs or place them in ice water until completely cooled.”
However, some find that this recipe leaves the egg centers a little softer than they prefer. If you prefer a firmer hard-cooked egg, but don’t want that overcooked green ring, try this recipe from the 1989 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book:
“Place 6 eggs in a saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat so water is just below simmering; cover. For hard-cooked eggs, cook 15 minutes. Drain.”
Got a food question? Lisa Abraham has the answer. Call 330-996-3737; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask Lisa” in the subject line; or write to her at 44 E. Exchange St., P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640. Please include your name (initials will be printed on request), hometown and phone number.