The Naked Egg Science

Here’s what you need
Let’s get to the fun stuff. In order to make a Naked Egg you will need the following items:

  • Vinegar (at least 16 ounces)
  • A couple of glasses or cups
  • Raw eggs

The process is really very simple. Carefully place the egg in a cup and fill the cup with vinegar so that the egg is completely covered. Don’t worry if the egg floats a bit. Just get enough vinegar in the cup to mostly cover the egg.

An egg soaking in vinegar with part of it's shell dissolved.
Now the hard part – you will have to wait as the acetic acid in the vinegar begins to react with the calcium in the egg shell. In just a short while, you should see some bubbles appearing on the outside of the egg. These are bubbles of carbon dioxide gas from the reaction. It can take 12-24 hours before a good portion of the shell is removed. A good sign of progress is a white frothy scummy layer on the top of the surface of the vinegar.

After a day of soaking you can carefully remove the egg from the vinegar. I would suggest pouring the liquid into another cup and catching the egg in your hand. Using a spoon to fish the egg out might seem like a good idea, but I’ve seen a few eggs break or get damaged when using a spoon to remove them.
At this point you may be able to literally rub the shell off the egg with your fingers. It will rub off as a white powdery substance. Give it try, just be very careful, you don’t want to break the egg, it’s getting more fragile as the shell is slowly dissolved. Depending on your particular egg, you may already have a naked egg. However, I would suggest you fill a cup with fresh vinegar and soak the egg for at least one more day.

After two days of soaking you should have a pretty cool Naked Egg. Notice that the egg is a bit bigger than when you first started. This is because some of the vinegar (and some of the  water in the vinegar) has moved through the membranes to the inside of the egg. The membranes are semi-permeable and allow water to move through them. This is called osmosis.

Not Recommended !

 I would NOT recommend eating a naked egg prepared this way. Keep in mind you created your egg by soaking a raw egg in vinegar sitting at room temperature for a few days. That is not how to treat eggs you are going to eat! Even if you stored the egg in the refrigerator, I still would not recommend eating the raw egg.

A big thank you to one of our visitors who grabbed a great photo of what happens when you soak a naked egg in corn syrup for a few days. I might call it a “dehydrated naked egg.” And side-by-side is a brilliant red naked egg soaked in red food coloring.

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