The best part about keeping backyard chickens is the fresh eggs. But, maybe you’ve been told, “Never try to hard boil fresh eggs; they’re impossible to peel.”

Full disclosure: long before I had chickens, I’d buy a couple dozen eggs a month before Easter, just so those older eggs would peel easily. (Don’t be alarmed at that—the USDA reports store-bought eggs are fresh up to 45 days after packaging.)

With this procedure, however, fresh eggs literally peel themselves because you aren’t going to boil the eggs. You’re going to steam them.

Gather your freshly laid eggs, a steamer basket and the largest pot or pan you have. Place the basket inside and fill the pot with hot water, so that it’s just touching the bottom of the steamer basket. Cover the pot and turn on the heat. When you see steam coming from under the lid, gently place one layer of eggs in your pot. Cover and set a timer for 12 minutes.

During this time, find a big bowl and fill it with ice and water. While you wait, did you know that eggs are the protein by which all other proteins are measured? Go ahead and use that fun fact to impress your non-chicken-keeping friends.

At the 12 minute mark, turn off the heat and work quickly to place the eggs into your ice bath. This will stop the eggs from cooking beyond the 12 minutes. When you get all the eggs in the ice bath, set the timer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, the eggs have cooled. They are ready to eat or (label) and place in the refrigerator to enjoy later. Peeling an egg under some warm running water is also a good practice to remove all the little bits. Fresh, hard steamed eggs are a little culinary pleasure. Make certain you have the freshly ground pepper on hand.

By the way, this steaming procedure works on four week old eggs as well. Bon appetite!

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