A Lemon Wedge Can Make Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs So Much Easier

Sometimes, something as simple as boiling eggs to perfection can be a chore. Do it wrong and you might end up with gray, rubbery whites and yolks that are dry and starchy, or undercooked eggs with runny yolk you never asked for.

Even if you manage to boil the eggs nicely, peeling them can be difficult, especially when the whites are firmly attached to the shell. Nobody wants to peel off the egg whites in the process of de-shelling. While there are several ways to make the process a breeze, there is one unlikely ingredient in your kitchen that will set you up for a hassle-free egg-peeling experience — lemons.

All you need to do is throw in a lemon wedge or two in the water while hard-boiling eggs. After the eggs are cooked as desired, give them an ice bath or run cold water over them. The shells should come off effortlessly when you peel them, no blowing required. Don't toss these in the trash right away — eggshells can be used around the house as fertilizer for plants, seed containers, pest control, and much more.  

The science behind this trick

Around 95% of an eggshell is made up of calcium carbonate, which can be easily dissolved with lemon juice because it contains a high amount of citric acid. If you submerge an egg in water containing citric acid and leave it there, the shell will eventually dissolve. The dissolved shell can then be used as a natural calcium citrate supplement, as long as it's clean and safe to ingest.

When you boil eggs with an acidic substance like vinegar, it partially breaks down the shell as well. So you can probably imagine how adding a lemon wedge would have a similar effect. You can also rub the eggs with lemon juice before hard-boiling to keep them from cracking. And lemon juice can also elevate your scrambled eggs.

For the record, farm fresh eggs aren't ideal to boil since the albumen tends to stick to the inner shell membrane, making it hard to peel without damaging the tender white. It's always better to use eggs that are at least three to four days old.