Eggs are the quintessential comfort food: they are affordable everywhere. You can eat it any way you want, raw, fried, hard-boiled, or poached, and you can eat them any time of day.
They are an essential ingredient in most dishes, snacks, and desserts. Pastries and cakes would never be complete without them, and all cuisines of any culture have use for eggs.
Most importantly, they are healthy and nutritious; more than the apple, it is indeed the one that keeps the doctor away, at least when consumed correctly. But sometimes, we cook and eat it the wrong way.
An example of it would be overcooked hard-boiled eggs. We seldom mind how hard we boil it, and people mostly lose track of time, forgetting they have boiled some eggs, and the result is an overcooked one.
Are there any adverse effects on our health if we consume overcooked hard-boiled eggs?
What Are Hard-Boiled Eggs?
Hard-boiled eggs are cooked through boiling with a solid egg white and yolk. This one is the direct contrast to a soft-boiled egg, which has a slimy or soft inside.
There are several reasons why people prefer hard-boiled eggs over poached eggs or soft-boiled ones. One is that they make for good ingredients in most dishes, the most popular being many types of salad; a hard-boiled egg is a perfect complement to vegetables and dressings.
It is very healthy, and health buffs would want a combination of veggies and others with excellent protein content. But other than that, many consider a boiled egg healthier than a fried egg, mainly due to the absence of oil, which more often contains cholesterol.
But we are only talking about health benefits. A hard-boiled egg is easy to cook, very economical, and one of the better comfort foods but, most of all, delicious; no one can resist its appeal, especially when done correctly.
The problem is, what if you overcooked it? What happens to an overcooked hard-boiled egg?
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What Happens to an Overcooked Hard-Boiled Egg?
An overcooked, hard-boiled egg is still safe to eat, provided some warning signs are absent. If you overcook it, it will contain high levels of iron sulfide, a lethal chemical compound.
Consumption of hard-boiled eggs with high iron sulfide content can lead to food poisoning.
Fortunately, you can easily recognize if an egg is extraordinarily overcooked and has a high iron sulfide content. The egg yolk will quickly turn green if it has a high iron sulfide content.
In some instances, the overcooked hard-boiled eggs produce a foul smell, mainly due to their high iron sulfide content. That is another indication that eating those eggs is no longer safe, so you better discard them.
Texture also indicates an overcooked hard-boiled egg. If you overcook them, they will have a rubbery feel and an unpleasant texture and taste when eaten.
The best thing to do once you see it happening to hard-boiled eggs is to dispose of them. It is a clear sign that consuming them is no longer safe.
You need to look for those things and better discard the hard-boiled egg if ever they exhibit those signs.
What Are the Signs I Have a Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg?
Your hard-boiled eggs will exhibit a perfect look, texture, smell, and taste if it happens to be perfectly cooked. For one, it will have that appealing smell, as if enticing you to eat them.
That smell will suggest that you have the perfect hard-boiled egg, but aside from that, it will also have a nice, soft, smooth texture. Though we call it a “hard-boiled egg”, the surface of egg white should be smooth and tender, not hard.
It should easily give way when you decide to eat them, unlike those overcooked hard-boiled eggs. Finally, that egg yolk will have that bright yellow throughout and no sign of discoloration or green.
The combination of the three indicates that you have a perfect boiled egg.
But How Can I Cook a Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg?
The question of how long you boil eggs so as not to overcook them is open to question, but most experts agree that you can boil them for 9-12 minutes. After that, you let the eggs stay in hot water for another fifteen minutes.
Some also suggest putting them in ice water or giving them an ice bath to prevent overcooking them. Other experts suggest that to give you a more leisurely time peeling hard-boiled eggs.
But if you wonder what can happen if you ever decide to overcook hard-boiled eggs intentionally, the egg, from the white to the yolk, will turn green. It is not advisable to eat them.
What to Do With Overcooked Hard-Boiled Eggs?
Provided the egg is not spoiled and all the warning signs we mentioned are not present, the egg will still be edible. But like other overcooked food, it will never have the same nutrients nor be as delicious as perfectly cooked eggs.
It would be best to put them in some dishes like the salad dishes we mentioned. The most famous of those are some egg salad dishes.
Another popular alternative would be a deviled egg, a mixture of overcooked eggs with mayonnaise and mustard.
But again, if warning signs like green color, foul smell, and rubbery texture are present, better discard those eggs and cook new ones. There is no use compromising your health by consuming overcooked eggs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Get Sick Eating Overcooked Hard-Boiled Eggs?
It depends on how overcooked it is and if warning signs like foul smells and extreme discoloration are present. You may exhibit some symptoms of food poisoning, but for the record, no one has ever died from consuming a hard boil, overcooked egg.
Why Do Boiled Eggs Have a Strong Smell?
They have that smell because they release iron sulfide as you boil them. That is what makes it have that discoloration, too, that color green present when you overcook them.
Cooked perfectly, it will not have a foul smell, it may even be pleasant and enticing, but if you genuinely overcook them, too much iron sulfide will give it a very strong, if not foul, smell.
A hard-boiled egg is healthy and nutritious and has many uses, from toppings to comfort food and snacks. They are delicious, but it will be best if you cook them perfectly.
The duration of boiling eggs may be debatable, but there is an agreement on when it is too much.
Experts generally agree you can cook them for up to twelve minutes; more than that, you will have overcooked, hard boiled eggs.