Pickled Eggs

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I don't make my pickled eggs very sweet though occasionally I'll add a couple roasted, peeled beets that I've sliced, diced, or julienned. I like their flavor better than canned or jarred beets though those would work.

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 T Kosher salt
1 1/2 c white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp white peppercorns, whole
1/2 tsp green peppercorns , crushed a little with your fingers
1 tsp whole allspice
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 thin slice fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter (optional)

Using a narrow-tined fork gently pierce each egg through the white to the yolk 4 or 5 times, leaving the egg intact. Pack the eggs into a clean 1 quart jar.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Let liquid cool for about 15 minutes.

Pour liquid over eggs in the jar, tightly cap, and refrigerate. It will take 5-7 days for the eggs to absorb the flavorings (best after a week and a half or two). They will keep, refrigerated, for several weeks.
 

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
This sounds great. I like pickled eggs though I haven't made them.

If you think it could work, what would be your choice of pepper if you wanted to add some heat? Smoked, fresh, powdered, pickled?

I have a one-track mind ... I like the heat ... I'm thinking finely chopped smoked habs.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Me too.

I've done them with whole fresh Thai peppers and with dried piri-piris. The Thais were an afterthought; I just stuck a couple in the jar with the eggs--worked fine. The piris I put in with the liquids after boiling (but just before simmering). I didn't use the ginger with the piris--didn't seem like it would work--liked it with the Thais though.

I think smoked habs would be a good choice.
 

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
BTW: you captured my interest with the shallots and the low sweetness ... some of commercial ones I have bought were similar to sweet pickles (Bread N' Butter?) and I didn't care for them

Does the pepper heat penetrate the eggs or remain in the liquid on the surface?

If you used the smoked habs, would you put them in the bottom of the jar or add them to the simmer step?


Thanks Kevin
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Put them in just at the end of the boil when you're about to lower the heat, cover, then simmer. You can leave them whole or chop or mince them as you wish. (I like them whole cause they look cool.) The heat from the pepper will permeate the liquid and hence the eggs. You can taste the liquid at the end of the simmer and add more pepper(s) if you want. You can then simmer another 10-15 min or just add them to the liquid and let it cool. Once you make this once you'll have a good idea of adjustments you may want to make. The quantities of spices and shallots can be varied, others can be included, etc.

I've not done this with smoked peppers as yet but you've got me thinking about it now. I have a bunch of moritas and, I'm sure, way too many duck eggs waiting on me.
 

Phil R.

TVWBB All-Star
I've never had pickled eggs before, but someone was telling me about them recently. So, searched on TVWB for a recipe and low and behold...

Kevin, I'm going to be trying this recipe tomorrow. No need to boil the jar/lid? I guess the acidity is high enough to prevent growth of nasties as well (I will keep it in the fridge though).

Can't wait to try a pickled egg!
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
The acidity is high enough. Wash the jars well though then air dry--but you certainly could sterilize if you wish. Definitely store in the fridge. Though the acidity is high enough, tchnically, for shelf storage, you'll get better shelf life and, to me, more vibrant flavor if you fridge.

I never posted again here but I did end up doing the pickled duck egg thing. I ended up doing one small-ish jar with the peppers. Very good but I decided for the next jar to use more peppers, most left whole but some chopped. Even better.

I also tried Gary's suggestion on another batch a few weeks after. These were free-range chicken eggs of varying sizes (guinea on up). I smoked those then added fresh whole hot peppers to the brine along with a chopped morita. Very tasty. I got egged out after all that but it's been a while and I'm definitely due for a reprise.
 

Phil R.

TVWBB All-Star
Kevin,

I was doing some reading today on nitrates and nitrites and came across the following account. Thought you might be interested in it. The author claims the problem came from pricking the eggs (introducing c. Bot spores). I think that may have been the case, but they don't treat the fact that the guy also stored them above 40 degrees F.

Botulism Poisoning from Pickled Eggs
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Thanks for that--an interesting read. I'm going to run it by a few microbio contacts and see what they say.

Did you come across other cases. I haven't but am still digging. Just from the data presented I'd guess (and it's only a guess) that the eggs were contaminated when they were pricked with whatever they were pricked with. Pricking eggs doesn't allow for much quicker penetration of the pickling liquid than not because of the nature of eggs (one would have to gouge them). Were the introduction of the C. bot. to have occurred that way, the warmth of shelf storage--especially the time in the sunlight--would certainly allow for outgrowth in the yolks as time, temp, anaerobic environment, and higher pH would been in perfect alignment. I'm not seeing another possibility but I'll see if anyone gets back to me with better insight and let you know.
 

Phil R.

TVWBB All-Star
Kevin,

I assumed the same. The thing I was curious about was that the concentration in the yolk was greater than that in the white. The only thing I can think of is that the whites may be more hydrophilic than the yolk, and that the acidic solution (aq) couldn't penetrate the yolk as well as it could the white (my assumption is that the yolk and the membranes surrounding it are fattier...just a guess). In short, it seems the pH of the solution was good enough to prevent growth. I just don't think it was able to reach the yolk in time. Or, it wasn't able to "acidify" the yolk completely and growth and production of the toxin occured.

Didn't see any other cases, but I wasn't really searching for them. I was reading a "works cited" from an article about nitrates and nitrites.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
It wasn't even found in the white from what I can see. The eggs were hard boiled first so would be safe, as the article notes. The duration of pickling to illness was 7 days, not long enough for any significant vinegar penetration into the eggs, imo (even cooking hard boiled eggs in vinegar doesn't allow for much in theway of penetration into the yolk), but certainly long enough for toxigenesis at those storage temps.

C. bot. would not have been present in the cooked eggs. It had to have been introduced and pricking could certainly have done that.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Jim-- For commercially made eggs--those with preservatives--shelf life should be 4-6 months after opening. For homemade eggs, one should wait a week before consumption, or nearly so; shelf life should be 4-5 weeks, fridged.

Phil-- Those I've heard from agree that introduction of the C. bot. had to come from the pick or whatever he used to pierce with. One then wonders what he did use, what he might have done with it immediately before piercing the eggs--or what he handled before touching the pick. It's pretty fluke-y. I find no record of a similar occurrance before or since. Still, I'll have to evaluate the difference between pierced and unpierced eggs in terms of flavor and see what's what. However, it seems prudent to fridge the eggs, regardless, as soon as they are cool enough to do so.
 

Phil R.

TVWBB All-Star
Originally posted by K Kruger:

Phil-- Those I've heard from agree that introduction of the C. bot. had to come from the pick or whatever he used to pierce with. One then wonders what he did use, what he might have done with it immediately before piercing the eggs--or what he handled before touching the pick. It's pretty fluke-y. I find no record of a similar occurrance before or since. Still, I'll have to evaluate the difference between pierced and unpierced eggs in terms of flavor and see what's what. However, it seems prudent to fridge the eggs, regardless, as soon as they are cool enough to do so.
Kevin,

It said in the MMWR he used a toothpick. Like you said, the whole thing could have been avoided had he just fridged the eggs. I guess one could also sterilize (with a pressure cooker) whatever instrument is going to be used to prick the egg...but still, kind of pointless if the eggs are kept below 40 F. The thing that is so shocking to me is that the low pH solution still didn't prevent outgrowth in the yolk...theoretically, I would think it should have. Obviously, it didn't penetrate well enough.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Nope. Pricking the eggs--something I've always done--does seem to allow for liquid penetration (I'll really need to try both ways to see) but, as noted upthread, it takes a while. I'm not sure if it ever actually gets all the way through--well, I'm sure it must eventually, but I rarely have eggs longer than a couple weeks--I love the things.

Outgrowth wouldn't ahve occurred had the vinegar penetrated rapidly. I suppose one could inject with the liquid after chilling the eggs in the liquid (or cooling some liquid separately so that it chilled quickly then shooting the eggs with that). That's a thought, anyway, as it would allow for thorough flavoring very quickly, nowithstanding the rarity of the potential C. bot. problem.


It said in the MMWR he used a toothpick
I mean more along the line of like a plastic one from the cupboard? a wooden one from his pocket? one that happened to be sitting on the counter a while?--that sort of thing.
 

JimH

TVWBB Pro
Thanks Kevin, I'll be able to put some up for consumption down at the bay. Quick and easy breakfast before fishing!
 

Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
Originally posted by K Kruger:
Phil-- Those I've heard from agree that introduction of the C. bot. had to come from the pick or whatever he used to pierce with. One then wonders what he did use, what he might have done with it immediately before piercing the eggs--or what he handled before touching the pick. It's pretty fluke-y. I find no record of a similar occurrance before or since. Still, I'll have to evaluate the difference between pierced and unpierced eggs in terms of flavor and see what's what. However, it seems prudent to fridge the eggs, regardless, as soon as they are cool enough to do so.
What if the eggs were not quite hard boiled? I've done it before when making hard boiled eggs for egg and olive salad. I'm talking the very center of the yolk, less than the size of a small pea was not quite cooked, just a little mushy. You figure the very center of the yolk is the last part to cook in a hard boiled egg. Just a thought.
I make red beet eggs often and it takes about 2.5 - 3 weeks for the yolks to turn red. Now I add the warm eggs to the hot red beet egg brine because it penetrates the eggs faster if you add everything when it's hot, read that somewhere. I leave them sit in the jar, with the lid open till cooled and place in the fridge with the lid still open slightly overnight till cold. No C. bot. for me yet. :D
 

Phil R.

TVWBB All-Star
Originally posted by Bryan S:

What if the eggs were not quite hard boiled?
Wouldn't matter because C. botulinum doesn't hang out in egg yolks...in other words, you wouldn't find it in the egg even if it was totally uncooked.
 

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