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My pickled egg recipe

Lately the raving feedback on my pickled eggs has inspired me to post here the home-made recipe I use.

What are pickled eggs?

They are a Pennsylvania Dutchy native food, originating from the pre-refrigeration time, when salting pork and beef, and soaking vittles in salt and vinegar, was the only way to preserve food, to keep it from going bad.  Only so much food could be kept cool in a spring house, or hanging cured in a smoke house.

So pickled eggs are hard boiled eggs that are soaked in a salty brine with various flavors tossed in to suit your own palate. One thing I have not tried are deviled eggs made from pickled eggs. I will bet they’d be mighty tasty.

You need a sealable one gallon glass jar; I re-use an empty (repurposed) pickle jar with a steel lid.

Into the empty and cleaned jar empty one can of sliced beets in beet juice. Brine or citric acid in the beets is fine, but just keep a running tally in your head or on a slip of paper of how tangy or savory the brine is going to taste.

Then either from the hot sink tap or on the stove top heat up four to six cups of water in a pot, and according to your own taste, add two to four tablespoons of salt and a table spoon or two of granulated white sugar. Mix in the salt and sugar in warming water until it is dissolved.

The hardcore Germans among us will want more sugar. A lot more sugar. A sickening amount of sugar. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those odd sweet tooths that people brought over from Europe. I myself like my eggs savory, not sweet.

Turn off the heat. No need to boil or simmer. Just get it hot enough to turn the salt and sugar into a solution, and then pour half to 2/3 of it into the big jar. Reserve the rest; it might be needed.

Then pour into the jar two cups of apple cider vinegar. You can spruce this up with balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar, a bit of white or wine vinegar, and you can always put in more or less to suit your own taste buds. But for the sake of starting out, let’s just begin with two cups of apple cider vinegar, which Heinz sells in gallon and two-gallon jugs.

Now add 12-18 hard boiled eggs (peeled!) to the jar.

[Note: Eggs boil best when the water is a roiling boil and the eggs are added quickly, boiled high for five minutes under a lid, and then kept under lid for 30 minutes after the heat is turned off. Eggs boiled this way will peel easily and perfectly]

A table spoon of mashed or minced garlic, a quarter teaspoon of dill weed, and a dash of basil into the jar will together give a nice flavor.

At this point your jar should have some room in it before the liquid reaches the very top, just below the lid. You can throw in a couple sliced carrots and some sliced onions. Now, there will be a tiny bit of room left at the top, and you should fill this in with more vinegar and \or the reserved brine, depending on your taste buds.

Close the lid tightly, go to the sink, and slowly turn the whole jar upside down, then back, then upside down again. A few of those turns and everything inside is mixed up. In the winter time you can put the jar in the pantry or mud room for a few days to let the eggs pickle. In the summer you will have to have a very cool basement corner, or else put the jar in the fridge for a few days.

After 2-3 three days, the eggs and vegetables are pickled. The eggs will be colored reddish-pink throughout, even into the yolk. The vegetables will be yummy. Use a spaghetti strainer to reach into the jar and pull out a couple eggs and some vegetables. Put them on a plate and serve cold. We also put them sliced into salads.

Yum. Big treat.


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