Simply put, pickled eggs are hard boiled eggs preserved in a pickling solution. And while often considered ‘bar food’, pickled eggs are actually a tasty method of storing and preserving the bounty of eggs today for the eating enjoyment of eggs tomorrow – or in this case, a couple of weeks.
“Pickling is, of course, a centuries-old method of preserving a wide range of foods. Eggs are pickled the world round, but they seem to have first become a barroom staple in pubs in the industrial north of England as part of the 19th-century ploughman’s (or peasant’s) lunch. They caught on because they were cheap (and) they did not spoil …” www.esquire.com
There are hundreds of different recipes out there and I’ve provided links to a few below. Recipes vary from the traditional brine solution used for pickles to other more exotic and international solutions, which can impart a sweet or spicy taste. The final egg taste is largely determined by the pickling solution and the amount of time the eggs are left to pickle.
One of the most popular recipes originates from the Pennsylvania Dutch, pickled beet eggs or red beet eggs, includes whole beets in the pickling solution to impart a pink or red color to the eggs.
Recipe for Beet pickled eggs taken from simplyrecipes.com
1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 to 2-inch sized pieces, cooked*
1 cup beet juice*
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 onion, sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
6 hard cooked eggs peeled
*Simmer the chopped beets in a cup of water, covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes, or used canned beets. Use the beet juice from the cooking water, or the juice from canned beets.
Hard-boil the eggs, let them cool then remove the shells and place in quart sized glass jar. (Tip; It’s best to use a tall jar as it takes less liquid to cover them than when using a wide bowl.)
Combine beet juice, vinegar, sugar and spices in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Pour mixture over eggs in the jar, place some or all of the cooked beets in the jar (optional). Cover tightly. Let eggs sit for two days before eating, the longer the eggs marinate in the liquid, the darker the color and stronger the flavor will be. (Tip; Prolonged exposure to the pickling solution may result in a rubbery egg texture.)
Links and Resources:
English Pub Style Pickled Eggs at Food.com
Jalapeno pickled eggs at Simplyrecipes.com
Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipe found at Yankee Magazine online
Quebec Pickled Eggs at Yummly.com