REAL Pickled Eggs

Getting at least 15 eggs a day right now, now is the time to make lacto-fermented hard-boiled eggs.  I imagine this is the way our ancestors probably did it, more than likely…and these eggs are nothing like the “pucker yer lips” vinegar kind from the grocery store.  These eggs have a lot of flavor, my favorite way to eat them is finely chopped and added to a salad…but they are at their best with a bit of pickled radish, homemade salami and a beer 😀

First, you must hard-boil the eggs.  With super fresh eggs, just hours from the hen, this is a lot easier said then done.  Really fresh eggs from healthy hens do not like to peel easily, and that’s a good thing!  It means that the egg is capable of supporting and growing a baby chick.  Most people don’t realize this but really fresh eggs are a pain in the ass to peel after they have been hard-boiled…unless you prick them first…

I use the sharp end of a corn cob holder, it's the smallest sharpest thing I could find without resorting to buying an actual egg pricker

The fat rounded end of the egg always has an air pocket and pricking this pocket allows a bit of water to get inside the egg and separates the membrane from the shell.  When the egg is ready to be peeled the shells just slip right off.  You can also refrigerate them for at least a week, or let them sit on the counter (eggs stay good for a week to 10 days at room temperature).  Doing this will cause them to dehydrate a bit and with less fluid in the egg the membrane becomes looser and not as tightly held against the shell, thus making it easier to peel.  I’ve done it both ways and either way works just fine.

After hard-boiling and peeling all of the eggs, assemble the brine and whatever flavorings you intend to use.  For this batch I used garlic, dill, salt and the leftover brine of a batch of lacto-fermented baby beets that was hiding in the back of the fridge leftover from last Fall.

a sprouted garlic bulb and fresh dill from the garden and real sea salt

I have this awesome old jar with a rubber ring that I bought from a flea market for $2.00 about 7 or 8 years ago…it is PERFECT for making large amounts of pickled eggs.  Layer the eggs, with each new layer, sprinkle a bit of salt and a clove or two of garlic and some chopped fresh dill.

This jar holds about 28 hard-boiled eggs.  Once you have all the eggs layered with the salt and flavorings, add some brine from a previous ferment…pickled radish brine works well but the brine of pickled beets is traditional as it lends a nice pink color to the egg.  Add as much brine as you’d like, and then fill the rest of the way with pure clean water, either from a well or spring or filtered (the chlorine and flouride and other “nasties” in tap water WILL kill the bacteria responsible for fermentation…and just imagine what it’s doing to your body!)

Let the jar sit out on the counter for a few days, with the lid loosely closed to let the gases of fermentation escape…taste the eggs everyday until they reach your desired level of fermentation, once this happens store in the fridge (or some other cool place, like a basement or root cellar) to slow the fermentation down and keep it.

one week later, half the eggs are gone...

when using the brine of lacto-fermented beets the eggs become a lovely pink color...the finished product is infused with garlic and dill and the "zingy freshness" that is inherent to all fermented goodies... sprinkled with a bit of salt and it's YUMMO 😀

24 thoughts on “REAL Pickled Eggs

  1. I’ve never tried pickled eggs, the ones I’ve seen in the stores never sounded appealing. But these kind of do. I may have to give this a try once our chicks start laying eggs. I’ll have to do something with all those eggs!

  2. Thanks for the recipe and especially the egg peeling trick. I’ll have to try it with soft-boiled eggs, now thems is a real pain in the ass to peel when fresh. I don’t like hard-boiled eggs (unless in a sandwich or some such), but this sounds like a good way to give ’em a kick.

  3. What would I use in place of the beet brine? My hubby has been asking for pickled beets and I’d love to make him some.

  4. I’ve been struggling with peeling hard boiled eggs from our hens for a long time and tried numerous things with no luck. I will try the pin prick method today and see how I do. It would be wonderful to be able to cook up a batch of hard boiled eggs without hacking them to pieces while peeling them. I’m getting into fermented foods too and will try pickling a batch of eggs. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  5. I followed directions from another site before I found this one. There was way too much salt in it for me. The eggs were so salty I couldn’t eat them. How much salt do I actually have to use in the brine?

    • Well the purpose of the salt is to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria so it is needful to use quite a bit, especially since this is a cooked “meat” product and not just vegetables. As long as you are using REAL grey colored slightly moist feeling sea salt it is not unhealthy at all…I suggest experimenting to see what works best for you using as much salt as you can tolerate 🙂

      • Sandor Katz recommends a 5% brine solution as a good starting place. 3.5% if you want it less salty. Rather than salting as I go, I weigh the water(in grams is easier) in a separate jar, then multiply the water weight by .05 or .035 and add that much salt. Even if you don’t use all the brine you make, it’s the right proportion. Also, if you use a high- mineral salt like Redmond’s, it will be less salty.

  6. Hey so I tried to make eggs like this but put some ginger and beets right in the jar. They became very very mushy. I then used the brine for cauliflower and it became mushy also. Any tips on why it would get mushy?

    • beats me, might have something to do with the mix of protein and veg all in one jar?…whole grape leaves added can help things stay crisp while they ferment, I always add them to batches of fermented cucumbers 🙂

  7. Hi,
    I love this recipe. I make them all the time for my husband. I do have a problem though and i’m hoping you have an idea. Every 3-4 batch goes bad and I don’t know why. I’m using dill pickle juice plus some fermented beet liquid for the pink and a 4% brine. This most recent batch I did 3 jars using the same leftover fermented juice and the same brine. 1 of 3 jars is off. Any idea what is causing this?
    Thank you so much!

    • I’m not for certain but I don’t think it would work as the bacteria for fermenting is different strains than that found in kombucha.

    • I have used aged Kombucha (21 days on 1st fermentation) as a starter. It works just fine. It will give the eggs a slight vinegar taste without actually using vinegar. 2oz Kombucha per quart jar (10 eggs) and top it off with a brine as directed in the recipe above.
      What I think is the best fermented eggs I have made is adding fresh Thai Basil, dill, garlic and the brine off of crock made red cabbage sauerkraut. It adds a slightly salty/sour bite and a bright pink color to the eggs. I hope this answered your question.

  8. I’m trying this recipe today. My issue with vinegar pickled eggs(I do enjoy) is that the whites get really stiff in the brine. Are the Lacto-eggs a bit softer than the vinegar brine eggs after the process is finished?

    • I have made both. In the past I would try to “pickle” the eggs using the leftover juice from dill pickles or jalapeños and add dead apple cider vinegar (pasteurized, not like Braggs with the mother in it, I did not know better then). This process was done in the refrigerator only. The eggs took longer (2-3 weeks) to not taste just like hard boiled eggs. For the most part they were kinda rubbery in texture, but good.

      The ones I make now are fermented at 75 degrees for 5 days to a week in a half gallon mason jar with a 3-piece airlock attached to the lid. The key is to add enough veggies (garlic, peppers, basil, onions, dill etc.) whey or kombucha and salt to where the lacto-fermentation will start. Make sure the air lock is under pressure after 24 hours or refrigerate. No pressure on the airlock means fermentation has failed to start or you have an air leak. Do not leave eggs out at room temp if oxygen can get to them, they might be OK, they might not be. If done right these eggs are not rubbery and really good. I don’t know how long they will keep in the fridge (a month or two I assume) because they never last that long before another batch is being made. I hope this answered your question

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