Eggshell Membrane Review


Eggshell membrane originates from chicken eggs and is the clear, film-like lining found inside the eggshell. In industrial factories, egg processors create over 24 million eggshells each year in the United States alone. Using these shells, the membrane can be obtained through various processes, including mechanical, chemical, steam, and vacuum procedures.

The resulting product is a dried powder that is sold in capsules as a supplement composed of numerous proteins that give it the potential to improve joint health.

Eggshell membrane has only recently come into the spotlight for its benefits for joint health. In light of this focus, it is increasingly being sold as a dietary supplement targeted toward those with osteoarthritis and joint pain.

Although many companies are beginning to sell eggshell membrane supplements, the two current human studies on its effectiveness for promoting joint health both use the Weber Naturals brand.
All eggshell membrane supplements come from chicke
All eggshell membrane supplements come from chicken eggs. Image by anne_hechtfisch licensed under CC by 2.0


How Many Minutes for Hardboiled Eggs? How Many Minutes for Soft-boiled eggs?

With all that in mind, here are the cooking times for various types of boiled eggs. The times start after the water has come to a boil and you’ve turned off the heat.

  • 2 minutes – The white isn’t fully set and the yolk is totally raw.
  • 4 minutes – The white is fully set, but the yolk is thick and runny.
  • 6 minutes – The white is fully set, and the yolk is mostly set, but still a little runny in the middle.
  • 8 minutes – The white is fully set, and the yolk is set, but tender.
  • 10 minutes – The white is fully set, and the yolk is fully set.

Remember to transfer your eggs to ice water as soon as you take them out of the pot to stop the cooking immediately. Otherwise, your eggs will continue cooking even after you’ve taken them out of the water.

More info about raw egg membrane as a natural bandage

As I said, this was told to me by a young boy as I cooked with him, and it simply works so I am sharing it. However, looking this up on the internet, I have found some other info about the healing properties of egg membranes.

This article is about a study of using egg membrane on burns prior to skin grafts: 

This 2004 post is the well-written personal story or some travelers who have used egg membranes on their young son’s knee wounds, other kid wounds, and even on spider bites: . I highly recommend reading it.

A future personal note: When I was 17 my entire face and my hands were burned, 2nd degree, by boiling starches in a kitchen accident. I have no idea if plastering my face, hands, arms and chest with egg membrane would have healed the skin. If I was unlucky enough for such a burn again knowing this remedy, I’d likely try it. Maybe the healing power would act in the time it takes to get to the hospital.


Bad News, Part 1: Too Hot is Bad

Look at what happens to whites and yolks with too much heat: the whites go rubbery and the yolks go dry and greenish, complete with sulfur smell.

Bad News, Part 3: Water Boils Hotter than the Perfect Egg Temperatures

It just gets worse, doesn’t it? Water, even at higher elevations as we learned in PART I, boils at temperatures higher than the set-up temperatures of both egg whites and yolks.  Obviously, you don’t want to boil any egg too long or too hot.

Are you ready for the good news?

The Good News: Eggs Cook From the Outside In

When you boil and egg, the egg white heats up and cooks first. It takes time for heat from the hot water to penetrate to the the yolk which cooks last.

If you stop the cooking process at just the right time, the white will set firmly and the yolk will too at the same time but at a lower temperature  because of the delay in the heat penetrating inward.

The problem here is that nature likes to achieve an equilibrium. This applies to temperature as well as to gas exchange, as we discussed earlier. With temperature, the cold egg in the boiling water is out of equilibrium with the water. First the whites heat up and cook. The yolk heats up and cooks slower. If the egg stays in the water too long, then the termperature of the water, the egg white and the yolk will eventually all be the same. The resulting hard-boiled egg will be a dry, rubbery, sulfurous puck of over-cooked proteins (and other stuff) fit only to give to unwelcome uninvited relatives.

The trick is knowing how to heat up the egg and when to remove it from the heat. As for the secret to doing this:

There is no one true way to cook a hard-boiled egg

Sorry to disappoint you but it’s the truth. There appear to be three things that are common to most successful hard-boiled egg methods:

  1. Don’t let the eggs get too hot.
  2. Don’t cook the eggs too long.
  3. Cool the eggs off immediately after cooking. If you can, peel them right away after cooling.

The last item deserves a little explanation. Cooling the eggs immediately does two things:

  • Even after you removed the eggs from the heat source, the proteins inside continue to bind if they remain hot inside the shell. Cooling immediately stops the eggs from continuing to cook from their own internal heat. This helps keep the whites from going rubbery and the yolks from drying out.
  • When you cool immediately, the still somewhat flexible egg white and yolk will contract thermally inside the more-rigid shell. This has the effect of separating the egg contents from the shell and membranes, thus making it a good time to peel.

Some Hard-Boiled Instructions

Some Hard-Boiled Instructions

Here are some well-considered ways to cook hard-boiled eggs from people who have put some science and some empirical experimentation behind their work:

  • From the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco:

“First, place the eggs in a saucepan. Add enough water so that there is an inch of water covering the eggs. Heat the water until it’s just about to boil, then take the pot off the heat and cover it. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 25 minutes, then plunge them in ice water.”

  • From the American Egg Board’s Incredible Egg website:

“PLACE eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. HEAT over high heat just to boiling. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan. LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large). DRAIN immediately and serve warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.”

  • From J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Serious Eats food science blog:

“Lower your eggs straight from the fridge into already-boiling water, or place them in a steamer insert in a covered pot, steaming at full blast on the stovetop. If boiling, lower the heat to the barest simmer. Cook the eggs for 11 minutes for hard or six minutes for soft. Serve. Or, if serving cold, shock them in ice water immediately. Let them chill in that water for at least 15 minutes or, better yet, in the fridge overnight. Peel under cool running water.”

Elevation Matters

What the instructions above don’t tell you is that they are probably based on cooking at sea level. If you remember PART I, you’ll immediately realize that cooking times are going to change a bit as you go higher in elevation. If you live in Denver or Idaho or Wyoming or some other high place, that cooking time is going to lengthen a bit. Above 10000 feet (3048 meters), your egg white might not even set up without the help of a pressure cooker. I know some folks who have worked as cooks at Yellowstone and they hate to boil eggs!

The moral to this story is: you now know the science so go forth and determine your own optimum cooking method and cooking duration. Get some eggs and experiment to find your own variables that are a best fit for the eggs you either gather yourself or buy at the store, and for the elevation where you live. You don’t need salt or baking soda or any other gimmicks. You just need the science you’ve learned in this series of articles and the willingness to spend a few hours in your kitchen finding out what works best for you.

One Last Word: Vinegar

You may have seen it mentioned that some people like to add vinegar to their egg water. This actually isn’t a gimmick. There’s a real reason behind this, which I will discuss tomorrow in a separate blog post as part of my participation in the “Merry Blogmas 2017” campaign.

Dosage for Joint Health

  • Dosage for both human studies that examined the effects of eggshell membrane on joint pain was 500 mg per day
  • Single-ingredient supplements typically come in dosages of 500 mg
  • In stacked supplements (typically with glucosamine, which has also been suggested to help with joint health), dosage is slightly lower at 250 mg

How to Avoid a Green Ring

The dreaded grey-green ring around a cooked yolk is caused by sulfur in the yolk interacting with hydrogen in the egg white. This is either due to over-boiling the egg or using water with a high level of iron. This recipe cooks the eggs gently, avoiding overcooking and a green ring. If you have especially hard water, consider using filtered water to boil eggs.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Tips

  • Buy the eggs in advance. If I’m cooking sunny side up eggs, fresh eggs will yield the best results every time. But if I’m hard boiling them, the opposite is true! Boiled farm-fresh eggs are more difficult to peel than older eggs. If you want to make perfect hard boiled eggs, it pays to buy them in advance and cook them after a few days in the fridge.
  • Store the eggs upside down. This tip comes from Jack’s mom, who makes the BEST deviled eggs for family gatherings. In order for the yolks to land right in the center of the hard boiled eggs, she recommends storing the raw eggs upside down before you cook them.
  • Don’t skip the ice bath! Overcooked hard boiled eggs have an unappealing greenish ring around the yolks. We want our yolks to come out sunshine-yellow, so transfer the eggs to an ice bath to stop the cooking process as soon as they come out of the pot. This step is also crucial for making hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel. The ice bath helps separate the egg membrane from the shell, so you’ll be able to peel away the shell without ripping off chunks of egg white.
  • Peel them carefully. The ice bath should set you up for success here, but that doesn’t mean the shell will all come off in one piece. Gently rap the egg on the counter to break the entire shell into small pieces. Carefully peel it away along the fractures, leaving the egg whites as intact as possible.

How Do You Cook the Perfect Boiled Egg?

The best way to figure out what works for your setup is to boil a dozen eggs and start pulling the eggs out of the water in thirty-second increments after about 3 minutes. But who wants to waste that many eggs? Well, luckily I have a friend that farms eggs and I’ve been busy experimenting in my lab to come up with an (almost) foolproof method of boiling eggs.

Since the main problem with boiling an egg is the narrow window of time during which the egg is perfect, I asked myself how I could slow the cooking down to expand that window of perfection. I found my answer in the way I cook my chicken for chicken soup

This is how I adapted the technique for eggs. Put refrigerated eggs in a heavy bottomed pot and cover with cold tap water so they’re covered by about 1″ (2.5cm) of water. Bring the water to a full boil (100 degrees C) over high heat, and then remove the pot from the heat. Let the eggs cook the rest of the way using the residual heat in the water. As the temperature of the egg rises, the temperature of the water will fall, which will give you a much wider window when your egg is perfectly cooked.

Need Ideas for Using Hard Boiled Eggs?

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Hello, we’re Jeanine and Jack

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.