Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Easiest Hard-Boiled Eggs

I used to like to buy fresh, free-range eggs from local farms. Now I have a few backyard hens that supply us with fresh eggs.

My main reason is to avoid the cruelty of supporting the raising laying hens in the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that produce the cheap eggs mostly found in big box stores. For more about this issue, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/ and a host of other websites. The details are hard to stomach.

But a side-benefit of eggs from free-range hens that eat grass and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air is that the eggs are healthier. Again, a quick search will find websites such as http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/Health-Benefits-Free-Range-Eggs.aspx that explain that these eggs have a better nutritional content and less "bad" cholesterol than CAFO eggs. It just stands to reason that less-stressed hens that eat a better diet will produce a better product. Since there are no federal standards about what "free range" means, however, I prefer to buy from local farmers whose hens and coops I can see with my own eyes, to be sure they are being well cared for. These farmers will be proud to share their feeding and husbandry practices and obviously love their "girls."

Having said that, one doesn't want to go overboard with eating the egg yolks. One egg supplies on average almost a day's supply of cholesterol. And cardiac patients should follow their doctors' and nutritionists' advice about eating eggs. But for healthy individuals, whole eggs supply a terrific nutritional punch.

Enough of that! On to my favorite recipe for hard-boiled eggs! I purchased this Nordic Ware Egg Cooker:

I am thrilled with the results. Since my free-range eggs are not USDA-graded, they come in all different sizes. I tend to pick the largest ones to make hard-boiled eggs. These eggs are HUGE compared to the eggs  bought in stores, so I added 1 minute to the microwave cooking time that come with the directions. These are the easiest eggs to peel I have ever made, too. If you like hard-boiled eggs and have a busy lifestyle, I heartily recommend this product.

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