Pickled Eggs

By Dawn Barnes,
Senior Extension Agent Family and Consumer Sciences

pickled eggsPicking a subject for an article can be difficult at times and at others it suddenly arrives via a phone call.  Yesterday, a call came in requesting information about the correct storage of pickled eggs.  Some of you reading this may be familiar with pickled eggs and others may be wondering what I am referring to and asking if it is something edible.   Yes, they can be eaten if they have been prepared and stored properly.  More on that in a bit.

I have been familiar with pickled eggs most of my life but didn’t have much knowledge about the history.  I made a quick non-scientific search on the history of pickled beets and found they go as far back as the 1700s and are associated with the British, the Germans, the French, and the Pennsylvania Dutch.  More recently, many may remember them as an item seen on the bar or store counter.

Eggs were pickled to make them available for a longer period of time.  The process includes boiling small to medium sized eggs and peeling.  A boiling brine of vinegar, salt and spices is poured over the peeled eggs. The eggs are submerged in the brine, placed in the refrigerator and left a couple of weeks to allow the eggs to take on the flavors before eating.  For best quality it is suggested to use the eggs within 3-4 months.  Remember to always keep them in the refrigerator.

To seek more safety information, I searched USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP).  Both agree that it is not recommended to can pickled eggs at home.  The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service stated that commercially pickled eggs should be refrigerated after opening and be used within seven days.  Again, home pickled eggs should also be refrigerated. The NCHFP calls attention to the fact that botulism has been associated with home pickled eggs stored at room temperature.

If you are a lover of pickled eggs, or just curious, you can find six recipes and detailed, safe, directions for making pickled eggs at https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/pickled_eggs.html.  The recipes include the more traditional ‘pink’ pickled eggs that contains beet juice and an unusual one using pineapple juice.