Introduction: Tickled Pink Pickled Eggs

I've always liked pickles, as a child my mother nicknamed me 'pickle' due to my love of pickled onions.

My dad used to enjoy pickled eggs. Often he would have them as a snack in with a bag of crisps, which seems to be quite a traditional English pub snack.

I've made pretty standard pickled eggs before and many other pickled veggies. Here I've combined a few different ingredients to give a more interesting look and some variety to the snacking.

Apologies for the poor pictures, my camera's not working so I was using my phone.

Step 1: You're Gonna Need Eggs...

I use chickens eggs. You can buy them from the store if you like, although I get mine for free, well sort of.

For those who believe eggs come from a supermarket please see the photos above. They actually come from Chickens originally. I like to know where my food comes from and I also can directly control the quality and treatment some of it receives. If I do ever have to buy them I try and ensure they are free range.

I keep a few chickens as pets. In return for my feeding them, cleaning their coop and generally keeping them happy they provide me with eggs. I generally end up with quite a glut of them as, during the summer with all three laying, I just can't use them quickly enough.

Step 2: Ingredients

Okay, so we're going to need a few things. What you use can vary according to your taste and what you have available. I've used Beetroot to give the pickles a pink colour and also provide a crunchy pickle themselves.

Distilled Vinegar, enough to fill your chosen container (this is the clear vinegar)
Eggs, I used 13 for this recipe
2 medium sized raw beetroots
2-3 carrots, sliced about 5mm thick on the diagonal
1-2 reg peppers, sliced
Pickling spices (optional)
A little sugar if wanted

Step 3: Cook the Vegetables

  1. I put the beetroots, still with their skins on, into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. These need to cook for 30 minutes
  2. After 20 minutes add the sliced vegetables to the beetroots and cook for the remaining 10 minutes. Then drain them a and allow to cool
  3. Once cooled you should be able to peel the skin from the beetroot quite easily by rubbing a knife across it. (When handling the beetroot it's advisable to wear gloves or your hands will be stained pink too)
  4. Chop the beetroot into 1cm dice, or small chunks
  5. Add this in with the other vegetables and stir so they're all mixed together

Step 4: Prepare the Vinegar

I like to add some spicy flavour to the vinegar, but you can leave this out and just use it as is. Some people alo advocate adding up to 50% water to the vinegar to stop the eggs being too rubbery and the flavour being too strong. I like strong flavours, but feel free to experiment and dilute to your taste.
Before you start it may be advisable to open a window, the toasting spices can tickle your throat and make you cough. The heated vinegar is also quite a pungent smell and can be a little unpleasant.
  1. Put a pan on the heat and add some spices to help release their flavours and natural oils, I used the following, but you might want to create your own spice mix:
    • 1tsp Mustard Seeds
    • 1tsp Coriander Seeds
    • 1tsp Crushed Dried Chilli
    • 1tsp Black Peppercorns
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 1tbsp Sugar
  2. Once the spices have started releasing their aroma add your vinegar. Bring this close to the boil, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves
  3. Remove from the heat and allow the flavours to infuse as the vinegar cools
  4. If you have made more than you need simply store in a bottle and use for the next batch.

Step 5: Checking Then Cooking the Eggs

  1. Put your eggs into a large pan and add plenty of cold water. Fresh eggs will lie on the bottom, slightly older ones will turn upright, bad ones will float to the surface. You should dispose of any floaters, the ones that turn up are at your discretion, though I don't tend to have any.
  2. Now put the pan of good eggs on the heat and bring to the boil
  3. Once on a rolling boil you need to cook them for 7 minutes, use a timer
  4. When 7 minutes are up I then drain the eggs and fill their pan with cold water. This stops them cooking any longer and prevents that dreaded 'black ring' around the yolk that overcooking them causes.
  5. Now you need to peel them. I do this in the pan as the water helps to wash the loose shell away. You'll notice some are easier to peel than others. I think the older eggs are easier to peel. A couple of my eggs look half chewed where the shell was difficult to remove
  6. Remove the eggs from the pan and allow to dry whilst you prepare the other components
You can see why the floating test works for the eggs once you've peeled them. As eggs get older the airspace at the rounded end gets larger. This is so that a developing chick has space to move into before escaping from the shell. Once the shell is removed from the boiled eggs you can see how large the airspace is, most of mine barely have any as they're only about a week old.

I keep the egg shells and add it to my chickens feed, it helps them to digest their food and it also gets re-absorbed and helps them to create strong shells on the eggs.

Step 6: Sterilise Your Container

It is very important that the container you are going to use for preserve is sterile. Any bacteria will ruin your food and may adversely affect your health.

There are a number of ways to sterilise jars, I won't go into too much detail as it's fairly straightforward, but I tend to do one of the following:
  • Wash the jar then dry in the oven. I start with the oven cold so as not to shatter the glass.
  • Put a number of open jars into the dishwasher on a high heat setting. I tend to do this when I'm making large batches of preserves
Once sterilised your jar is ready to use. Be careful and use gloves when handling hot jars.

Step 7: Put It All Together

Now, you want to add the ingredients into the jar in layers so it all mixes evenly.
  1. Start with some of the vegetables
  2. Add a layer of Eggs
  3. Now add more vegetables
  4. Add more eggs
  5. Keep doing so until you've filled up the the neck of the jar
I then use a jug to pour in the spiced vinegar.
Ensure that everything is covered by the vinegar before sealing

Step 8: Wait....Wait Some More...then Eat

The eggs are best left to soak in the vinegar for at least a month. They can stay in the vinegar for a very long time and will just get better.

As I say, I like my eggs in a bag of crisps.

You can eat the vegetables too and all of these go nicely as part of a salad or ploughmans lunch.

The eggs will have taken on a lovely pink colour, and all the flavours form the vinegar.

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