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.