Pickled eggs are typically hard boiled eggs that are cured in vinegar or brine. As with many foods, this was originally a way to preserve the food so that it could be eaten months later. Pickled eggs have since become a favourite among many as a snack or hors d’œuvre popular in pubs, bars and taverns, and around the world in places where beer is served.
After the eggs are hard boiled, the shell is removed and they are submerged in a solution of vinegar, salt, spices, and other seasonings. Recipes vary from the traditional brine solution for pickles, to other solutions, which can impart a sweet or spicy taste.
The final taste is largely determined by the pickling solution. The eggs are left in this solution from one day to several months. Prolonged exposure to the pickling solution may result in a rubbery texture. A common practice is to puncture the egg with a toothpick to allow the pickling solution to penetrate to the egg’s interior, but that can introduce botulinum spores into a suitable growth environment. Botulinum is a bacterium that produces botulinum toxin, which causes death from botulism. Errors in food preservation can cause other kinds of food poisoning too.
A variant in Pennsylvania Dutch country is the Pickled Beet Egg where whole beets, onions, vinegar, sugar, salt, cloves, and a cinnamon stick are used as the brine. The eggs take on a pink colour due to the beets and have pleasant sweet and sour taste. Pickled red beet eggs are a common food at picnics and pot-lucks in the Pennsylvania Dutch country.
Pickled eggs may be served as part of a main course, hors d’œuvres, or garnishes.
A typical British recipe for pickled eggs includes eggs, vinegar, salt and sugar. The eggs are then boiled, peeled, then boiled with the other ingredients. They last for a very long time and are traditionally found in British pubs and fish and chip shops.
- 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons pickling spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spices and salt in small saucepan.
- Bring to boil, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain liquid through sieve or cheesecloth, if desired.
- Place eggs in 1 litre capacity jar with lid. Pour hot liquid over eggs into each jar; Cover jar with lid.
- Refrigerate for at least two days before using.