Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How To

There are many things about cooking that I have yet to learn.  For instance, I am terrible at peeling hard boiled eggs.  No matter what I do, little bits of shell are left clinging to the side.  If I manage to get all the shell off, there are craters of white missing.  There must be some way to do this so-called simple task quickly and easily.

Other tricks of the trade that continue to allude me have to do with choosing ingredients.  In the produce aisles or the farmers market, I'm often trying to choose good ingredients.  If I'm going to spend my hard-earned money on food, I want to make sure it's the best.  It really frosts my cookies when I get something home and it's sub-par.  

One item that is always tricky to pick out is a good melon.  Something about that rind is have no idea what's going on under there!  So here are a few tricks I use to pick a melon.  I can't guarantee that any of them work for sure, but it's better than facing a stack of fruit unprepared!

Pickin' a Melon

  • Smell - Give your melon a whiff.  Does it have a sweet, melon-y smell?  If so, it's probably ripe.  But beware of a melon that smells super sweet!  It might be over-ripe.
  • Heft - If your melon is heavier than another melon of a comparable size, it's probably ripe. 
  • Melon Button - You know the part at the top of a melon where it was attached to the vine?  Well, someone told me if this "melon button" was on the small side, the melon was ripe.  My source, by the way, was some dude in the fruit aisle of the grocery store, so this tip is particularly suspect.  

So, what about you?  Do you have any tips for picking a melon or any other ingredient?  And if you know how to peel a hard boiled egg, please, please share.


  1. Desperation Dinners authors Beverly Mills & Alicia Ross say that heavily salting water when boiling eggs will make peeling easier. It usually works for me.

  2. I use a lot of salt in the water too. And as I'm plucking it from the pan, I give Humpty a smack on the side of the head. Then I peel under cool water so the little bugger doesn't burn me. Tends to work out okay usually. One in 20 turn out looking like albino zebras.

  3. I'm not sure if it helps with peeling, but I always transfer the eggs right from the boiling water to a bowl of water with ice cubes. Helps stop the cooking process, avoiding the gray-ish ring around the yolk. I also peel under cool water, but I thought I'd share the ice water trick so Anonymous doesn't have to burn fingers anymore!

    I'm enjoying your blog, dear Erin! :)

  4. Ok, I think I've got it...salty water, smack on the head (the egg, not the husband), ice cube bath, peel under cold water. I will test this out and report back in! Thank you, and keep those tips comin'!