My husband loves pickled eggs. I was never a huge fan- always likening their taste to a picture in my mind of the wagon driver in Dances With Wolves. I love hard-boiled eggs with vinegar, but the thought of a “canned” egg just didn't make me jump with glee.
I have never been able to find jars of pickled eggs that we liked in a store either. Since I don't have a canner and have no desire to get one, making pickled eggs was just out of the picture for us.
That is, until we started lacto-fermenting veggies. I started thinking of all the different foods that were probably preserved in brine before the canning process we know today was developed. Since it was likely that eggs were originally dry-packed in salt or stored in brine to preserve them, it is the lacto-fermented egg that is the true pickled egg.
I didn't have to mention my idea twice to my husband- he was immediately on board. So, we gathered some basic supplies and began our adventure.
Here is what you will need:
- 1 half-gallon mason jar with lid and seal
- Large stock pot to boil eggs
- 1 dozen fresh eggs (or however many you want to ferment)
- garlic and dill
- kosher salt (preferably iodine free)
- distilled water (you can use tap water if your water source is pretty good)
To start things off, you are going to boil your eggs. Actually, boiling is a misnomer because you want to just simmer and then turn off the heat. The hot water will cook your eggs to perfection. This video explains it well:
After your eggs are cooled, peel them and gently rinse them to get rid of any little specks of shell. If there are little cracks or flaws from peeling don't worry. As long as your eggs are not breaking apart down to the yolk they will pickle just fine.
Here is the recipe for the actual fermentation process:
hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cooled
distilled or tap water
garlic cloves, peeled (about 5 cloves per dozen eggs)
fresh or dried dill weed
half gallon mason jars
Place 2-3 cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of dill at the bottom of your mason jar(s)
Pack eggs into jar, adding more dill and garlic in layers
In a pitcher or pyrex measuring bowl, mix 1 tsp kosher salt into 2 cups of water
Pour salt brine into your jar. Repeat these last two steps until the brine covers the eggs. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space at the top of the jar to allow for gases to be released. Put the seal on top of the jar and screw lid on securely, but not too tight.
Set the jar(s) in a cool dark place for about 3 days. Check after 3 days for signs of bubbling. Ferment to taste.
Your eggs will not bubble as much as raw veggies do because they are already cooked. If you see what appears to be bubbles on the surface of the eggs, you have fermentation!
You can add whey to help speed up the process, but I have found that I don't like the taste of whey in my products. To each his own I guess.
People are often concerned with fermentation and the risks of spoiled food. If you make sure to clean your jars well, keep an eye out for bad produce/food, and always smell before you eat– you will be fine. Your fermented food should smell a little sour. It has been said that any spoiling will make the jar smell so bad that you would be crazy to try to eat it! Many canning books and publications from the government use scare tactics to keep people from attempting to ferment. This is a natural process- more natural than pasteurization or pressure canning.
So- the big question on your mind now is, “How do they taste?” I only tasted one, but they were surprisingly good. They are not as tart as the vinegar kind, but they have a certain tingle that makes them very tasty.
My husband and oldest daughter approved- they ate the whole jar in a few days, garlic cloves and all.