Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter and Pickled Eggs - Weekly Email


Happy Easter! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday, spring break or just a beautiful Southern California weekend.

A couple of announcements.

First, I have accepted a new position as sous-chef at the Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club, effective in a couple of weeks. This will have a significant impact on my schedule, so my presence at the farmers' markets will certainly change. I will continue to be available to answer questions via email, but it may be awhile before I have a regular schedule of time at various farmers' markets again.

It will also likely take me some time and effort to get up to speed in my new position, so if these emails are shorter, or non-existent, please be patient.

Second, I have a class and a demo coming up. I will be teaching a class on fermentation (yogurt, vinegar, and kombucha) on Sunday, April 18th at Delilah Snell's Road Less Traveled Store in Santa Ana. Sign up for my class or one of the many other food preservation classes (sauerkraut and kimchi, working with chilis, foraging) here:

The demo will be on Sunday, May 16th at the Hollywood Farmers' Market to celebrate the 19th Anniversary of the market. Delilah and I will be demonstrating some food preservation techniques as well as giving out samples. I look forward to seeing many of you at the demo!

Today is Easter and for those of you who celebrate it, you will probably be left with a significant number of hard boiled eggs at the end of the day. There are many things you can do with fresh hard boiled eggs, but after several days, you might start getting a bit tired of them. You don't want the eggs to go to waste, though, so what do you do?

Pickle them, of course.

Pickled hard boiled eggs can be preserved in the refrigerator for months, to be eaten at your leisure. However, after you taste one, they probably won't last all that long.

Making pickled eggs is very simple. Hard boil some eggs and peel off the shells. Then make a flavored brine, bring it to a boil, and pour it over the eggs. Refrigerate for several days to a couple of weeks to allow the brine to penetrate and flavor the eggs. Enjoy.

Pickled eggs aren't canned, but refrigerated. Submerged in the brine they will be good for three to four months in the refrigerator. Although they aren't canned, a quart canning jar will usually hold a dozen large or medium eggs. Just make sure the brine completely covers the eggs.

There are dozens of recipes for pickled eggs, ranging from traditional beet pickled eggs to spicy to obscure (curried pickled eggs, anyone?). Also, feel free to play with the recipes, varying the vinegar, the sweeteners and spices. For example, use rice wine vinegar and substitute soy sauce and mirin for the water in a traditional recipe to make an Asian-influenced pickled egg.

There are a couple of tricks to making pickled eggs. Older eggs, because they've lost some of their moisture content, are easier to peel after they've been boiled. Fresh eggs are much more difficult to peel.

For snacking whole, I prefer medium-sized eggs. A large egg often seems like a bit much to eat on its own. A medium-sized egg is a much more convenient snacking size. They also pickle more quickly. A large egg can take 2-4 weeks for pickling all the way through, a medium egg 1-3 weeks. Of course, you don't have to wait until they are pickled all the way through, but they sure taste good.

Any egg can be pickled. Quail eggs, which are readily available in many markets nowadays, make a wonderful garnish, or cute amuse bouche. Heck, instead of an olive or pickled onion in your Martini, why not a pickled quail egg for something different and unique from your bar? They'd go well with a Bloody Mary as well. Duck eggs can also be pickled and if you know someone who raises pigeons, they'll probably have a surplus of squab eggs available for pickling.

Not only can you be infinitely creative with the flavoring of pickled eggs, but there are many options when using them in recipes.

Like any pickle, their tartness is a good counterpoint to fried foods. Pickled eggs are traditionally served in the UK with fish and chips, but they can match with many different fried foods. Beer, especially your heartier ales, is also a traditional pairing.

In addition to eating out of hand, consider substituting pickled eggs into any hard boiled egg recipe. Just remember that not only the flavor is changed but that the texture of pickled eggs is slightly different, a little more rubbery than a standard hard boiled egg.

For example, why not turn pickled eggs into deviled pickled eggs? They're served as an appetizer at the Tar Pit. Consider also, for example, a rice vinegar/soy sauce pickled egg, and then deviling the yolk with wasabi mayonnaise. Let your imagination be your guide.

Egg salad sandwiches made with pickled egg are delicious. The pickled eggs straight up may be a bit too tart, so consider balancing with some regular hard boiled egg. Chopped, they also go well in potato salad, taking the place both of the egg and the pickle. Use an egg slicer on the hard boiled eggs to make a beautiful garnish for a salad, especially if you have a highly-colored egg with a good color gradation. How about beet-pickled eggs with a beet salad? Sliced eggs also look quite nice on top of a soup, try one with chicken noodle.

Feel free to chop the pickled egg white and yolk separately, perhaps for a variation on a Cobb salad, or to serve with some cured salmon or an inexpensive caviar.

For a summertime treat, why not a pickled Scotch Egg? Or use them as part of a Ploughman's Lunch.

With all the flavor variation for the pickling brine and all the different recipes you can use hard boiled eggs in, pickled eggs are a wonderful thing to have in your refrigerator.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

"Yooper"-style pickled eggs from the Upper Pennisula of Michigan

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has five different recipes, including Pineapple Pickled Eggs: [PDF]

The Kitchn has a couple of recipes for unique pickled eggs:

That's it for this week. If you have any questions about canning, pressure canning, fermentation, dehydration, freezing, pickling, curing, smoking or brewing, feel free to email me at

Be sure to check out the blog, which is updated several times a week (usually):

And/or join the Facebook group:

Ernie Miller

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