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View Diary: What's for Dinner? v5.43: Obscure Kitchen Chemistry (242 comments)

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  •  That old eggs are easier to (7+ / 0-)

    peel was a trick taught to me by Ma.  Even the McGee book concurs that it hard to peel a really fresh egg.  There is a lesson here:  if you know that you are going to make deviled eggs for a particular occasion, buy the eggs for it a couple of weeks in advance.

    Another approach would be to let them approach room temperature for a couple of days, since an egg at room temperature ages in one day as much as a refrigerated one does in a week.  That has some hazard, though, because of bacterial growth, but it you are going to cook them hard, they will be sterilized anyway.

    Warmest regards,

    Doc

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

    by Translator on Sat May 21, 2011 at 06:05:15 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Old eggs are easier to peel (6+ / 0-)

      because air gets between the shell and the membrane that encases the white and yolk. This commonsensical sounding statement is, obviously, false. Air gets between the membrane and the white and yolk in old eggs that are hard cooked. Why/how this could be is a mystery to me.

      •  Top of the class! (7+ / 0-)

        Actually it is more complicated, but partially correct.  If you look at an old egg and a new egg, you will see that there is an air space on the blunt end of it.  As eggs get older, water evaporates through the pores of the shell, decreasing the amount of liquid in the egg.  Since the shell is porous (unless it has been treated to clog the pores, a common way to preserve them), air has to come in to fill up the void.  Most of that air fills the space on the blunt end, but that air comes in from all directions.

        This affects the membrane betwixt the egg proper and the shell, weakening the bonds there, and then making the shell easier to remove.

        Warmest regards,

        Doc

        Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

        by Translator on Sat May 21, 2011 at 06:35:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You've got me chuckling (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, Translator, JayinPortland

          First paragraph, check. I knew all of that. (How high an egg floats .....)

          Now we come to the second, crucial, paragraph. "This affects" is a tad vague, I'd say. Somehow, this water loss consequent to aging is causing the membrane to adhere to the shell now, rather than to the egg proper. But I still don't know the why or how of it all.

          When the egg is fresh, the membrane adheres to the egg proper. When the egg is old, the membrane adheres to the shell. What's up with that!

          •  The shell surface of the membrane (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tapestry, JayinPortland, commonmass

            dries faster than the egg side, so it adheres to the shell preferentially.  In very fresh eggs it is sort of equally bound, more or less.  Once it is preferentially bound to the shell, peeling is easy.

            Warmest regards,

            Doc

            Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

            by Translator on Sat May 21, 2011 at 07:52:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ha! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Translator, commonmass, JayinPortland

              This feels like a light bulb moment.

              Since the shell is porous and dries faster, the outside of the membrane is going to attach to the shell as it, the outside surface of the membrane, also dries. That's the preferential part. Do I have this right?

              •  As I said, (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                commonmass, tapestry, JayinPortland

                Top of the Class!

                Warmest regards,

                Doc

                Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

                by Translator on Sat May 21, 2011 at 08:30:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now I fell dumb (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  commonmass, JayinPortland, Translator

                  I should have been able to figure that out for myself. But you gave me exactly the right words, the ones I was missing, to make everything that was going on fit. Thank you!

                  •  You are NOT dumb! (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    commonmass, tapestry

                    You just did not find the proper words to express your thoughts.

                    Warmest regards,

                    Doc

                    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

                    by Translator on Sat May 21, 2011 at 09:03:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Now you've got me laughing (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Translator

                      in a really good way.

                      I know I'm not dumb. But I did "fell" dumb! My typo was accidental, but it sure did fit.

                      Everything (almost) has (at least) two sides. For reasons that escape me, it didn't occur to me that that pesky membrane (whose proper name eludes me) has two sides. Then you said, "preferential" and all fell into place.

                      You're being far too kind, because, I promise you, I do have the words. It was the actual, obvious now, thought that was missing.

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