Earlier this week one of our Golden Laced Wyandotte pullets laid this…

"Excuse me, but you're blocking my light!"

Poor Pullet.

Golden Laced Wyandotte

At first glance it resembled a goose egg more than a pullet egg!

...but we don't have any geese...

It’s officially a record for this year’s pullets, weighing in at a hefty 86 grams!  Anything over 71 grams is a ‘Jumbo’ by USDA sizing standards, and even our old hens don’t lay eggs this big!

86 grams...oh my!

As we mentioned in our Double Yolks post, over-sized eggs in our nest boxes almost always contain multiple yolks.

A normal Golden Laced Wyandotte egg (right), compared to this week's jumbo (left)

I’d never boiled a multi-yolker from our chickens before.  In fact, I don’t tend to make boiled eggs much any more, primarily because our eggs are so fresh, they’re darned near impossible to peel!  As the shell is removed from a boiled super-fresh egg it invariably results in large chunks of egg white being pulled away. They’re edible, but it makes them rather ugly.

One way around this is to intentionally set aside some eggs to ‘age’ in the refrigerator for a few days…but I always forget to do that in advance of when I want them.

However, I recently read a post from June at Four Green Acres, and she had a tip to try placing baking soda in the water when boiling very fresh eggs.  We followed June’s instructions, boiling the egg in baking soda and water.  We then plunged the egg into an ice bath until well chilled.

As soon as the egg is cooked, it's plunged into an ice bath

Still skeptical, we then peeled away the shell.

Well, what do you know...it worked!

As you can see, the egg came out very near perfect.  I’ve tried other tricks in the past for peeling fresh eggs, including using the ice bath before, and always had less than desirable results.  I can honestly say though that the baking soda trick really seemed to help!

My sciency brain though wanted to know why it worked, so I pulled my copy of Harold McGee’s bookOn Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen off the shelf.  McGee concurs that very fresh eggs are characteristically difficult to peel.  He explains that the albumen of a very fresh egg is more acidic (has a lower pH) than an old egg.  This causes the proteins in the albumen to stick to the shell membranes more strongly than the albumen proteins adhere to each other, which is why they’re impossible to peel.  Egg whites become more basic as they age though, which causes them to become less sticky, so the proteins within the albumen cohere to each other, rather than to the shell membrane, and thus makes the egg easier to peel. For boiling very fresh eggs, he recommends adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water to raise the pH, making the water, and the eggs cooked in it, more basic, mimicking an aged egg.

Now we know this trick really does work, unlike some others we’ve tried, we might just have to try boiling a few more eggs for breakfast.

This week's giant egg was a double yolker!

Oh, and yes, this week’s giant egg was indeed a double yolker, and was very tasty too!