Ask LH: How Do You Remove Those Tiny Shell Fragments From Raw Egg?

Ask LH: How Do You Remove Those Tiny Shell Fragments From Raw Egg?
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Dear Lifehacker, What’s the best way to get those little bits of egg shell out of a cracked egg? Sometimes I try to be cool by cracking eggs with one hand, but if my attention lapses for a second a bit of egg shell can escape into the bowl of shelled eggs. When I try and retrieve the little thing it lets me get really close to grabbing it but at the last minute inevitably slips through my fingers, teasing me to the point of madness. Any ideas? Thanks, Shell Shocked

Dear SS,

I feel your pain. Because egg liquid is thicker than water, it tends to “push” submerged shell fragments away the moment you penetrate the surface. This means that the fragment is no longer in the same place by the time your spoon or finger reaches it.

The easiest solution is to simply pour the egg through a strainer prior to cooking — but this only works with beaten eggs. In all other situations, you’re going to need a utensil with a very thin edge combined with some wily fine-motor skills.

One possible solution is to use a larger piece of egg shell – this is much thinner than any tea spoon yet still has a curved shape for scooping. The trick is to push the fragment to the edge of the bowel and slide it out. Alternatively, keep a pair of tweezers in the kitchen.

Of course, the best solution is to not get shells in the bowl in the first place. Apparently, cracking the egg on a flat surface (as opposed to the edge of the bowl) results in less fragments. This also stops the yolk from running down the side of the bowl, which can lead to food contamination.

If any readers have their own shell-removal hacks (or a foolproof way to crack eggs), let SS know in the comment section below!


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  • How is pushing the fragment to the edge of the bowel possible and even necessary? Once it’s out of the bowl isn’t the job done?

  • Flat surface is pro-top number one. Though I’ve never had much difficulty personally, my housemate does use bigger bits of shell successfully.

    Best bet (and this will help with bad eggs, too), is to crack into a cup first. Mainly do this for poaching, but you do get some lee-way with the shell here.

  • I use my finger. Approach slowly, then use my finger to push it against the bowl. Slide it out. Easy.

  • I remember reading one suggestion (in the context of cake batter) that if all else fails what you can do is just let the eggshell settle to the bottom of the pan, bake the cake and then dig it out from the bottom of the cake. Admittedly I’ve never tried it myself.

  • It never occurred to me people couldn’t just grab it with their fingers. A paring knife or something similarly thin and sharp would do the job though.

  • Try putting the shell in a blender and pulverize it into a powder. Then sprinkle the powder over the cooking egg. This way you get all the nutrients the egg has to offer. Komodo dragons eat the whole egg. The reason they live so long.

  • If all else fails getting the tiny pieces of egg shells, since the egg shells seem to be caught in the white of the egg, use an empty heavier spring water bottle, remove the lid and invert upside down and squeeze the bottle and place on top of the egg yolk and let go of the squeeze and the yolk will suck up into the bottle. Now use the bottle trick to suck the area where the chip of egg shell is located and suck it up and hopefully it will catch the shell chip.

  • egg shells add texture

    really though, maybe get mcdonalds to read the thread… they are experts at having shells in eggs…

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