Does salt prevent eggs from cracking?

The first potential myth I decided to look up was:
Always salt cold water before boiling an egg – it prevents the shell from cracking.

Bare in mind that I am not going to libraries or talking to specialists – I’m sitting on my couch and Googling this stuff, much like you can. Still, I will try to get as “scientific” as possible and will provide you with my references.

I must say, I was quite impressed with the amount of popular opinions, posts and articles I found by just typing in: boiling eggs salt water. Apparently, my Mum isn’t the only one defending this whole salt theory. Many egg opinionators defend such a thesis, adding that it is easier to peel eggs that have been cooked in salted water. However, most of my sources did not provide a reasonable – scientific? – justification for this.

That’s until I ran into this blog. I have to confess I haven’t read all the guy has to say about eggs yet, but he sure seems to know plenty about them. Or, at least, it would seem he has researched the subject more than most.

In short, here’s what Khymos says:

  1. Eggs crack because the air trapped inside them expands during the heating process.
  2. Eggs’ pores are teeny, so the expanding air can’t escape fast enough through them.
  3. This is particularly true for eggs that aren’t very fresh (as the pores become gradually clogged upon storage).
  4. There are two ways to avoid the cracking of the eggs: pierce the eggs before boiling them or add salt (or vinegar) to the water!

The reason for this is: adding salt to the water will help the egg white coagulate faster and plug any crack formed.

Yay! Not a myth – Mum was right!! Give it up, D.

(I’m not spending 31 euros on this, but if you really want to, there’s a 1973 issue of the British Poultry Science entirely dedicated to the matter.)

One down, two to go.

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