From the mild to the wild. Okay. None of them are particularly mild. If you want mild, eat a plain boiled egg. But what fun is that?
How can a food go in and out of fashion so many times? Eggs have alternately been vllified as the most unhealthy food on the planet because of of their small-pack load of cholesterol; and glorified because of their high vitamin and protein content in such a small durable portable package! Many consider hard boiled eggs (and thus pickled eggs) to be the perfect after-workout food!
It’s hard to imagine a cookbook that doesn’t use the incredible edible because they are so versitile — working their magic in everything from souffles and custards to omlettes, pop-overs, egg noodles, and quiche to mirangue. We use them to hold our meatloaf together and to make our ice cream richer. And then we hide them in the garden for Easter.
I grew up with scrambled eggs doused in ketchup and Yabasco. I grew up with my grandmother’s egg salad and my mother’s awful deviled eggs. I grew up with fried egg sandwiches at midnight, and creme brulee for desert. My recipe for cheesecake even calls for eggs!
But pickleing them? Really?
This is one egg I didn’t grow up with.
So I went on a little egg hunt of my own, and came back with a handful of recipes from around the net for pickled eggs — that really do give you a bold bolt of protein in just a few bites. They are a great snack and bar food — keeping you fortified for a long evening of chatting, gaming, flirting, TV-watching — whatever tickles your fancy — and sipping away on your favorite soda, brewski, cocktail, or other potent potable!
I also include my own favorite recipes for pickling the little wonders. None is totally original with me — drawing on old friends, bars I’ve known and loved, and simple ideas made complicated by others for their flavors… and somewhere you’re bound to find a recipe that sparks your imagination.
The huge jar pictured here on the left is visually appealing — lots of baby-cut carrots, peppers, and garlic cloves. I haven’t found a specific recipe for this mix — but it looks fairly self explanitory. There are a lot of similarly inspiring photos around the internet if you do a simple search.
Here are the main variables that separate one pickled egg from another:
- does the recipe use sugar? If so, how much? are these candy sweet pickled eggs (like bread and butter pickles) or sour pickles, like dills and kosher garlic pickles?
- what kind of vinegar is used? You’ll get a really different pickle if you use common cider vinegar, as opposed to something like rice wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar — or malt vinegar for that matter. If you switch to a fruity vinegar — like cranberry or blueberry — you many not have to add sugar to get a sweet pickled egg!
- is the vinegar diluted with another liquid like water, beet juice (the most traditional for tavern eggs, this is what turns them that recognizable florescent pink color,) fruit juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, Tabasco, beer, wine, cider, or spirits, green tea, coconut water, orange water, or kerosine (kidding)??? If so — what is the dilution ratio? This will determine HOW tart your pickled eggs are.
- are the pickled eggs flavored with veggies or fruit, or herbs and spices? Do they mix with other picked veggies like onions, peppers, celery, carrots, beets? Are they floating in fresh herbs, or pickling spices? If so, are the veggies and flavorful ingredients left in the jar with the eggs to be eaten as pickles themselves or ignored?
- is the brine cooked before pouring over the eggs, or are the ingredients added to the jar to meld their flavors as the eggs pickle? Cooking the brine tends to add more of the flavor of veggies, herbs/spices, or fruits to to the brine, and thus to the eggs.
- are these pickles processed in a refrigerator, or canned in a hot bath of boiling water and left to pickle on the pantry shelf?
- how long are the pickles left to cure before being ready to eat? As a general rule, the longer the cure, the more tart and flavorful the pickle.
Here are some of the best recipes I’ve found on the net: (go on your own egg hunt and I’m sure you’ll find more!)
TIP: Many of these recipes call for fresh beets, or canned beets and their juice to produce that fuscia color — you can get beet powder from Frontier Co-op foods online! It’s shelf stable, and their 1lb-package will color/flavor dozens of batches of pickled eggs! Make ’em just as pink as you please!!!
- Follow this link to The Bald Chef’s Redneck Bar Pickled Egg Recipe and Demo on youtube! Not as entertaining as it sounds — but all the basics are covered well.
- Also on youtube — you’ll find this talkative young woman, who turns out to have a really good recipe for Pickled Eggs with Peppers. She’s cute and silly — and enthusiastic about sharing her good ideas for pickling slices of a variety of peppers in the same brine as the eggs. Be prepared for her over-sharing….
- If you visit wikipedia — they have a vast wealth of information, including how to avoid botulism and food poisoning from a picked egg (or any other pickle) environment.
- There’s this Red Wine Vinegar Pickled Egg recipe from the Houston Chronicle that takes the florescent pink color up a notch!
- You can try ifood.tv for a complete overview that’s really helpful
- And — if you visit foodrepublic.com, you can try their modestly titled recipe: The Only Pickled Eggs Recipe You’ll Ever Need — but be forewarned that they use soft-boiled, rather than hard-boiled eggs. (which is a little different, and off the beaten egg path.)
- There’s even a whole website devoted to the glories of the pickled egg — at pickledeggs.com — recipes, links, photos — you name it. If it’s pickled and it’s an egg, they try to have it covered!
- This page, from spoonuniverity online gives us some really wonderful ideas for naturally decorating Easter eggs — but also an excellent basic pickled egg recipe (since those pink eggs are sort of dressed up for Easter as it is….)
- Also, just about the best visual reference/instruction can be found here on Wikihow — which gives you step by steps, where just about any ingredients/recipe can be inserted into the process.
- And finally — once you’ve got some of these tasty eggies, Epicurious offers this recipe for Deviled Picked Eggs! Bring on the pink!
1. From Men’s Health Magazine,
the BEST PICKLED EGG
Recipe by Kevin Sousa, chef/owner of Salt of the Earth in Pittsburgh, PA
What you’ll need:
1 cup beet juice (you can use the juice from about 1 ½ cans of beets or run 4 to 5 medium-sized fresh beets through a juicer)
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 dozen eggs, hardboiled
How to make it:
1. In a medium pot, combine all the ingredients except for the eggs and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
2. Peel the hardboiled eggs and place them in a jar with an air-tight lid. Cover the eggs with the pickling liquid until fully submerged. Refrigerate for a week before serving.
BIG OL’ JAR OF PICKLED EGGS GIARDINAIRE
And here is my entry. Since I’m not particularly fond of most “pickling spice” blends, I’m opting for my own mix of spices, seasonings, and other pickled treats to make it an interesting 1 gallon jar! (yes, they will be pink and other colors, too!)
18 hard boiled eggs (there have been lots of good instructions linked on this pages — pick one!)
2 c large green olives (not pitted)
1 c button mushrooms, washed
1 med red onion, sliced thin
1 small fresh beet, peeled and chopped to 1/2″ pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed flat with the blade of a knife
1 c carrot slices (1/4″ thick)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
6-8 jalapenos (about 1 1/2 c sliced) 1/4″ slices *(with seeds will make the pickles hotter; without seeds will be milder)
1 poblano pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 bottle (12 oz) Dirty Sue Olive Juice
4 c organic apple cider vinegar
2 T black pepper corns
2 T sea salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 t smoked paprika
1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
- in a stewpot, bring to a boil: vinegar, garlic, half the onions, carrots, half the bell pepper slices, half the jalapeno slices, poblano, peppercorns, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, paprika, and brown sugar.
- simmer this mixture for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 1 hour.
- add worcestershire sauce, dirty sue, mushrooms, remaining pepper slices, and olives to the mixture and set aside until cooled completely.
- remove bay leaves.
- strain the brine
- layer peeled eggs with strained veggies. when the jar is full, pour brine up to the top. If neede for volume, add additional cider vinegar.
- refrigerate for 1 week before enjoying
SWEET HOT EGGY-BOMBS!
I got this recipe from a college friend years ago — and while his name has completely vanished from my memory, the eggs remain. Everything in the jar is, as billed, very sweet and very hot (that’s a hint that there’s more than eggs in this jar of goodies!) Not surprisingly, I find the best use for these eggs is chopped and added to a salad (like tuna salad! or potato salad! Or macaroni salad! heh heh!) They’re also excellent deviled. Or — if you dare — enjoy the eggs and all the other goodies straight out of the jar at your next backyard BBQ or picnic!
(My old friend’s recipe also used a handful of bonnet [scotch bonnet or habanero) peppers YIKES! but as those are just tooooo hot for my taste buds to tolerate, I have omitted them. If you MUST torture yourself and others, go ahead and add a few — whole. They’re pretty, but deadly hot, and don’t add much flavor.)
This calls for a 1 gallon jar. And a crowd.
18 hard boiled eggs
1 package 10-14 oz) small deli sausages or “lil’ smokies” style sausages. In a pinch, use slices of cooked Kielbasa)
18 whole jalapenos + 2 sliced jalapenos
18 fresh small spring onions, trimmed
16 oz jar gerkins tiny sweet pickles
4 c organic cider vinegar
1 small bottle Tabasco sauce
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t ground ginger
1 T whole allspice
1 T whole black peppercorns
1 T mustard seeds
1 T finely ground black pepper
1 T red pepper flakes
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c honey
1/2 c Trappey’s Red Devil or other Louisiana style pepper sauce
1 c ginger ale
- boil and peel eggs
- lightly score the whole jalapenos
- layer eggs, whole jalapenos, onions, gerkins, and sausages in a 1 gallon jar.
- combine Tabasco, cayenne, black pepper, red pepper flakes, sliced jalapenos, peppercorns, allspice, mustard seeds, ginger, brown sugar, honey, white sugar, ginger ale and Louisiana pepper sauce in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- add 3 cups of the vinegar and pour over eggs+all.
- add more vinegar until jar is full. Seal the jar. Allow to cool completely at room temp for 1-2 hours.
- Refrigerate for 4-5 days before using. The longer the jar chills, the sweeter and hotter the mix will become.