Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Canning Pickled Eggs ~ A Tutorial


Canning pickled eggs is somewhat of a risky business according to the canning authorities. However, many country women have been doing it for years and with absolute success. I was introduced to this idea by the West Ladies in their Canning DVD and was excited since I was over-run with eggs at that time (they gave no indication of it being controversial in their video as they probably never had problems). They (witness #1) gave a recipe on their DVD which I wrote down. Later I went to consult the Ball recipe book for more specifics but found that they wouldn't print a recipe. Thus began my sleuthing. The author of Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens claims she has been canning pickled eggs for years (from her bantams) without any problems (witness #2). After doing some "eggs"tra research, I adapted the West Ladies recipe to a stricter set of rules which should create a safer canning experience. 

Four important RULES to follow…

Here are the basic principles that I followed which I applied to the "revised" recipe:
  • First, use medium size eggs or smaller (not large) when canning in order to ensure that the brine penetrates to the middle of the egg in order to safely preserve them.
  • Second, do not use any knicked or cracked eggs once they have been peeled (can't give the reason for that but I didn't want to take any chances since that was a suggested practice with some people).
  • Third, do not overcrowd your pint jars with eggs as that may not allow the brine to penetrate into egg completely (which seems to be the main concern). I suggest five medium sized eggs per pint jar.
  • And last, I cut out the water in their (the West Ladies) brine recipe and replaced it with more vinegar to make sure that the pH levels are nice and safe which was also a concern.

Now that I have probably frightened half of you with the dangers of canning pickled eggs, are you ready to attempt this hazardous activity*?


To begin, sterilize seven pint jars. You can either place them in the dishwasher, run them through the complete cycle and leave the jars inside to stay warm until ready to use. Or, hand wash the jars and place in your canner. Cover with water and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. This water should be kept hot for processing your pickled eggs in the boiling water bath once they are ready (so keep it simmering). If you are doing the dishwasher method, then now is the time to fill up your canner ¾ full of water and bring to boil as you start preparing everything else.


Next, place your seven washed lids in a sauce pan to simmer and keep gummy until ready to place on the jars. There is more information about canning basics here.


Boil about 40 eggs (I gave you extra in case you accidentally knick an egg when peeling which you shouldn't use) until they are nice and peelable (is that a word?). I cooked them for about twenty minutes. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook in the boiling water bath so a softer egg is good but it also may be hard to peel so do your best to not over-boil the eggs. Carefully peel them to avoid nicking/cracking of the eggs, set them aside and then prepare the brine.


For the brine, bring to boil 2 1/2 quarts of vinegar (at least 5% acidity) and 1 cup of canning salt (I use fine sea salt).


While brine is waiting to boil, add 1/2 tsp. turmeric and one peeled clove of garlic to each of your sterilized pint jars.


You can also add 1/2 tsp. of crushed cayenne pepper to each jar but that is optional. I personally think it enhances the flavor and gives it a prettier look.


Now, gently place five medium, perfect (no nicks or breaks) and whole peeled eggs inside each pint jar.


As I mentioned earlier, resist the desire to cram more eggs into each jar than the five mentioned above because you want the brine to be able to fully penetrate and safely preserve the eggs. An overcrowded jar might jeopardize that goal.


Pour the hot brine into the filled jars making sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace from the top. 


Next, wipe the rim of each jar in case anything splashed on it during the preparation which would hinder the final seal.


Now, using your trusty magnetic wand, place a sterilized lid onto each jar. (See this post regarding all the handy canning supplies and what their uses are.)


Now, carefully screw on the lid but do not make it too tight (just turn until firm) because potential air bubbles need a chance to escape during the boiling water bath processing. Place your prepared jars into the canning rack to be placed in the canner full of boiling water. This is called "processing".


The jars should be completely submerged in the boiling water (at least an inch above the jars) and should be processed for ten minutes. Do not start timing them until the water returns back to a rolling boil.


Once the timer goes off, remove the jars from the canner and let them rest for 24 hours prior to handling them. I would use these gems up within the year so be sure to label and date each jar.

These are tasty inside potato salads, macaroni salads and also add spunk into a green salad. My husband likes to eat them plain.


*You can find my free printable of "Pickled Eggs" canning labels here*


You can either print them out on plain paper and affix them with a glue stick (I do this since it cleans off easier than sticker labels) or you can print on label paper or plain sheet sticker paper. You can also use a sharpie and mark the contents and date directly on the lids. If you would like a printable "pickled eggs recipe" I would be happy to email you one. I just don't want to post it on a public site and have someone who has not read the safe canning methods involved with eggs to use the recipe. Leave a comment in the box with your email should you like one.



* Disclaimer: No guarantee is given that the information provided in this website is correct, complete, and/or up-to-date. I have made my best effort to share safe techniques. I make no promise regarding accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this blog. Therefore you are responsible for the results of your efforts. The information contained on this blog is provided for general information and educational purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. The owner of this blog does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Thank you for understanding.

28 comments:

  1. Thanks ..I love pickled eggs and so do my family. I don't think they would last half a year with my brood :)
    Blessings

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  2. I love this. Thank you for sharing. Found you from the Above Rubies blog hop we both did! I'm your newest follower. Hope you'll return the favor and follow my blog and/or FB fan page!
    http://www.countrifiedhicks.com
    http://www.facebook.com/countrifiedhicks

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    1. Thanks for your interest. I will have to make a visit over ;)

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  3. I would like a copy of your printable pickled egg recipe, please. I am overrun with eggs right now and this recipe will be perfect ro use some of them. Thanks, Patrice

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    1. Sure! But I need your email address… If you don't want to print it here, just email me and I will send it to you that way. My email is ~ pleasewritetojes@hotmail.com

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  4. I just want to THANK YOU so very much for posting this recipe. I have been canning for 30 years or more. During that time, I have seen many changes--some good and some bad. I am a careful, clean, conscientious canner who uses both boiling water baths and a pressure canner as needed. I have seen the "rules" from the USDA get stricter and stricter and stricter as the years have gone by. I understand the need for safety, but it can get to a point where no one will can anything at all out of fear! Sometimes I wonder if that is the goal since the USDA caters to mega agribusiness now and not small farmers and gardeners. Sometimes I wonder if we are being kept in a state of fear about growing/making/preserving our own food so that we'll buy it instead.

    In any event, people have canned eggs and other things for years and years without problem. I know of one botulism case with eggs where someone used an unclean environment, no processing whatsoever, and left the jar in the sun on a windowsill for two weeks. That is the ONLY case of botulism with eggs, and no wonder of course.

    I make pickled eggs (I have my own chickens), dilly beans, bread and butter pickles, etc., with a vinegar/water mixture (too much vinegar can make eggs rubbery) and we have all survived and thrived on them. Congratulations to you for posting this recipe! I am glad that you made your disclaimer and then allowed the rest of us to be adults and make our own choices.

    Good luck to you and thank you again for your recipe and your common sense!

    - Melanie

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    1. Hi Melanie,

      Thank you for your comment! I couldn't agree more! I believe they are trying to scare us into complete reliance on "their" system. Who "they" are I will leave up to your imagination. And yes, we are grown ups here and can make educated decisions. We have much printed material, online materials and experience from prior generations which gives us plenty of information to process for ourselves IN EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES.

      Happy Harvesting! :)

      P.S. Thanks for the tip about the vinegar/rubbery eggs! And please visit again, I would love to hear from you!

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  5. If you can still provide a copy of the printable recipe, I would love one. I am starting my pickled eggs adventure and would like to add your recipe to my book. Thank you for your information. Happy canning!naumann595@yahoo.com

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  6. Made a few jars of these on 8.13, cracked open a jar today 8.25. Well saturated and quite good! Thank you for the recipe, it was my first canning venture. They won't last long and I'll put bologna sausage slices in the leftover brine. ~Heather

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    1. Thanks for your follow up :) Hope you enjoy many more canning adventures!

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  7. Can't wait to try this. Would adding onions and jalapeño slices to the jars pose any risks?

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    1. Hi Christine! To be honest, because eggs are a more "delicate" food to can because of the different issues of making sure the brine is penetrated by the egg, I would probably skip adding anything extra. It may be okay but I am super careful when I can and wouldn't personally take the chance… Other recipes aren't so scary to adjust but I am careful on this one. Hope this helps :)

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  8. I would love the recipe you have if you could send to em10158@yahoo.com. I also have the West Ladies DVD but haven't been able to find additional information on canning eggs. So glad to have found your blog! Thanks. Mindy

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  9. I would love to have the pickled eggs receipe also. Use to can and garden years ago and am now getting back into it. I have started to stock my pantry also. I am worried about the what if's. and when's. layc@mst.edu

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    1. Glad to hear this! I will send the recipe now :)

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  10. Just a note of my experience with canning pickled eggs, before I knew what a hazard they are!
    I used basically the same procedure you outlined, and consumed the last jar a couple of weeks ago, and they were well over a year old.
    I noticed in the report of the ONE incidence of botulin poisoning from pickled eggs that the fellow did nearly everything wrong beginning with piercing the eggs with a toothpick, presumably to expedite the pickling process. Then he had them where they got too warm.
    I am not by any means advocating anything here, simply pointing out that the single known case of food poisoning from canned, pickled eggs can be traced to improper canning procedure.

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    1. Thank you for sharing all of that information! It helps to know that improper canning procedures were involved (as is the case most of the time unfortunately)...

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  11. Just a note of my experience with canning pickled eggs. I followed the same procedure, and ate the last jar a couple of weeks ago, when it was well over a year old.
    The single episode given indicates the poor guy did nearly everything wrong, beginning with piercing the eggs with a toothpick. I imagine he wanted to make sure they got pickled quickly, but almost certainly that introduced the botulism spores to the interior of the eggs, followed by leaving them where they could get botulism friendly warm.
    I am not advocating anything here, but I am going to be canning about five dozen pickled eggs this weekend. They will spend about a month in an unheated storage room, in light proof cardboard boxes, before any get sampled.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to share this!

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  12. I have my own eggs and i cant seem to peel the eggs without any cracks or nicks. Dam near impossible.
    Elora

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    1. Elora, I sympathize with you! I ended up with a pile of eggs for egg sandwiches that night. We have our own eggs too and not knicking them was trying. However, I was too nervous that I might jeopardize the safety so I didn't use them. Sorry I couldn't tell you the reason for it, maybe it would work out but after all the horror stories I read about canning eggs, I wasn't going to take any chances… ~ JES ;)

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  13. I sent a request for you pickled egg recipes with my address, but i dont know if it went through.
    Elora

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    1. Hi Elora, I just checked my email and it didn't go through. My email address is : pleasewritetojes@hotmail.com.
      Take care, JES :)

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  14. Replies
    1. Hi there! I would not since beets are a low acid food and I tend to stay on the safe side when canning. We do share a pickled beets recipe if you are interested. Happy canning, jes

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