I take this kind of stuff seriously.
Here are 4 ways to get perfect hard-boiled eggs, and why yolks are still a great source of nutrients:
Recipe of the Week: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Start with the best eggs you can afford or have available. If you can get local eggs, from from range chickens, do it! If not, look for organic or at least free-range chickens, which usually have more omega-3s among other benefits. Then:
Boil: To boil eggs perfectly, at least most of the time, try placing 6 cold eggs in saucepan and filling with cold water (cover eggs by about an inch). Bring water to rolling boil over high heat, uncovered. Make sure water comes to full boil. Cover pan and remove from heat. Allow to set, covered (NO peeking) for about 17 minutes – set a timer so you don’t forget. Remove with slotted spoon and place eggs in a bowl of ice-water until cooled.
***When this boiling method works, it works great and the eggs are perfect. But, every once in awhile, I still get running eggs or sticky peels :(.
Bake: Did you know you can “hard-boil” eggs in the oven? Simply place one dozen eggs (cage-free, vegetarian fed, high omega-3) in a muffin tin. Place in pre-heated oven at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. Once cooked, place eggs in a bowl of ice-water until cooled.
Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker (here’s the one I use): Once again the instant pot has changed my life. This is my new favorite method. Pour 1 cup water in pot. Place rack in pot and add eggs (I usually add 18-20) on top of it. Set pot of manual cooking, high pressure, 5 minutes. It usually takes about 5 minutes to come up to pressure, 5 minutes to cook, and then I allow 5 minutes of de-pressurizing before removing eggs. Place eggs in a bowl of ice-water
until cooled. One reason I love this method is we go through 4+ hard-boiled eggs per day. A 6-egg cooker simply isn’t gonna cut it.
Buy: When I used to live by a Costco, I always bought pre-boiled eggs. I know, sounds a bit gross, and isn’t even the most appetizing-looking egg. But, they are easy and rather great. These eggs were preserved with oxygen packing, and nothing else. They were affordable, organic, and time-saving. One less thing on my plate (or one more thing, depending on how you look at it). I’ve also found similar eggs at other grocers, but none without extra ingredients. This is not the end of the world, and citric acid is not a bad addition for preservation if you find these. I haven’t been able to find organic ones, and they are not nearly as affordable (but still convenient). Here’s an example.
***A Most Important Step: Stop the cooking action, right away! Place cooked eggs in a bowl of ice-water to stop the cooking process. This ensures a moist, rather than dried-out yolk and a peel that comes right off.***
***Keep ’em: Hard boiled eggs can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. According to the Center for Disease Control, they can be kept safely at room temperature, as long as there’s NO cracks in the shell, for only 2 hours.***
Need a cheap, healthy meal or snack so you can save your pennies for a new bike component, running gear, or skis? Me, too. I look no further than the humble whole-food-awesome-protein-source, egg.
If you’re not sure what to think about eggs, you’re not alone. They’ve certainly had an on-again, off-again relationship with health experts in the last few decades. In fact, they are often the villain of “high cholesterol foods” and were even labeled as “worse than cigarettes” not too long ago (for my thoughts on that ridiculous headline & store, click here.) Despite the bad press, I believe they can be, and should be, a part of most everyone’s healthy eating plan. For athletes, they offer the highest bioavailable (highly absorbed) protein, work as a moderate-speed protein in recovery (being utilized somewhere between fast-acting whey and slow-acting casein), and provide many, many hard-to-find vitamins and minerals.
And, for anyone trying to optimize his or her strength to weight ratio, they may be a key ingredient.
First, eggs contain 7 grams (per large egg) of protein. Albumin, the main egg protein, is considered the “gold-standard” protein in terms of absorption and is the protein all other proteins are measured against in this respect. The egg white, where approximately eighty percent of the protein is located, is an extremely lean source of protein. Eggs contain leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, which specifically helps prevent muscle breakdown and promotes lean tissue protein synthesis. After a tough workout, eggs provide a perfect, moderate speed source of protein to help repair your muscles and keep them from being used as fuel (add a whole-food carb source to round out your recovery).
Next, the yolk contains many important vitamins. Choline, a B-Vitamin, is important for brain function and homocystine reduction. Why is this important? A build-up of homocystine is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. All four fat-soluble vitamins are found in the yolk: Vitamins A, D, E, and K. In fact, egg yolks are one of the only naturally occurring sources of vitamin D. And for minerals, eggs contain phosphorus, calcium, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc.
And guess what they don’t contain? No transfats, no high fructose corn syrup, no preservatives or colorings, no chemicals you can’t pronounce, and no list of 50 ingredients. Nothing to slow your hard-working muscles down. Buy local if possible. If not, cage-free, vegetarian fed and organic to get the most nutrients and reduce risk of any harmful bacteria. They are a whole, natural food that can be a daily staple.
For fat loss, more than one study has shown reduced intake of junk calories following an egg breakfast vs. a carb one (such as a bagel) because they keep you full and encourage healthy hormone responses to the meal. For a simply dish or snack, hard-boiled them, scramble them, or even fry them (with a healthy oil). If you’re looking for a more elaborate preparation, try a frittata or omelet. Don’t forget them as recovery fuel. And, as I’ve already stated, they promote upgrades in your gear. Skip the costly convenience foods or powders and just add eggs!
Bonus Recipe: Curried Egg Salad
Place 6 peeled hard boiled eggs in a bowl and roughly chop them. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt or 2 Tbsp avocado, 1 Tbsp chopped chives, green onions, or shallots, 1/4 cup minced celery, Dash of cayenne, more to taste, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve in sandwiches, in lettuce leaves, or by itself.
Love ‘em, hate ‘em or indifferent, you’ll likely hear about eggs in nutrition and medical news for years to come. When you do, if it’s important to you, I urge you to get to the bottom of the headlines (of egg, pharmaceutical and cycling nutrition studies). And keep in mind, whole, real foods are seldom the issue. Years of processed food consumption and inactivity, on the other hand, usually are. Eggs are still on my list of go-to whole foods that offer plenty of nourishment. They are frugal and a great source of protein for athletes.
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