A modern heritage foodstead
It’s time. Time for the springtime rituals of Easter baskets & hard-boiled eggs. Like chocolate bunnies, those eggs are everywhere and you can only eat so many egg-y things before either they or you go bad.
So, rather than avoiding waste by being stingy with the single healthy, natural thing in the standard-issue Easter basket, after the day is over, pickle the excess. Pickled eggs will keep for months, make sure none go to waste and add a powerful new culinary staple to your pantry.
I’ve gone through plenty of recipes seeking the perfect blend of simplicity and yumminess and what follows is my favorite. For now. It’s a forgiving recipe though, so feel free to nip and tuck to suit yourself.
Like all simple recipes, the deliciousness is proportionate to the quality of the ingredients. The number one most important step is this: start with great eggs.
I am a believer in the power of the farm fresh, pastured egg. Of course, I’m lucky because my neighbor keeps a big flock of free ranging hens and is a generous sharer. Kind of like healthy mother culture, he gives me three dozen eggs, I return a pint of pickled eggs and my emptied egg cartons and the circle of life continues. Don’t have a chicken-farming friend? You can find one here.
Since your whole reason for this glut of hard-boiled eggs is probably for the fun of dying the eggs with your kids, you should know it is not necessary to buy white eggs to make pretty dyed eggs. The brown shells will dye to softer shades, although yellows may be a little disappointing. Since most farm-fresh eggs are brown, this is a public service announcement designed to save you from the white battery hen eggs in the supermarket.
Once you have your awesome eggs, please pay extra special attention to the process of hard boiling the eggs. With a little extra care, your pickled eggs will be radiantly beautiful. Like pure sunshine, really.
Neglecting your eggs will create that icky green ring around the outside of the yolk which is a real downer for me. Of course it makes no difference in the taste, and I’ll still gobble them up, but a beautiful ring-free yolk makes me really happy.
The Secret to Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs:
You may or may not know that freshly laid hard-boiled eggs are difficult to peel. They are – I kid you not. Try to store the eggs in the refrigerator for at least a week before boiling. If you find that eggs you have already boiled just won’t peel nicely, store the cooked eggs in the refrigerator for a few days and they should become easier to peel.
Or, you may try steaming instead of boiling – this quickie from the always entertaining and informative Alton Brown brings up a few good pointers. Note: Alton Brown is referring to store-bought eggs, so his advice about the freshness of the eggs is a little off for laid-today eggs from the farm. His tip about centering the yolks is right-on and one I learned the hard way.
I don’t steam my eggs because I really don’t have a good steamer, and I’m about to do three dozen, not four. So, this is how I do it:
Peeling your eggs:
Pickling your eggs:
I’ve tried lots of different recipes and this is my favorite for both flavor and ease. I am a huge fan of the pickled vegetables you get in restaurants in Mexico so like to add some carrots, chiles and garlic to my eggs. The pickled carrots are a tender-crisp treat and a colorful addition to whatever I end up making with the pickled eggs.
Storing your eggs safely:
I am the first to admit I may be a little too fearless when it comes to food safety. I have been making pickled eggs for some time and had been storing them on a shelf in my basement. But apparently the National Center for Home Preservation doesn’t share my confidence in non-refrigerated storage. If you’re new to preserving, check out their website and this page on pickled eggs – it’s an invaluable free resource.
Eating your pickled eggs & carrots:
My favorite ways to eat pickled eggs:
All Right-ey. Now that you know you can cook your eggs all at once and store them ready to eat for months, there’s no reason to hold back! Dye all the eggs you want and enjoy this handy way to amp up the flavor and protein content of your meals.
What’s your favorite way to eat pickled eggs?
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday. What’s that you ask? It’s an ambitious and enlightening collection of posts from bloggers all over about issues near and dear to my heart: real food and natural living. Check it out!