A while back, a co-worker of my roommate’s sent a request my way. He wanted pickled eggs. Not to be mistaken for a pickled egg mooch, he offered something up in trade – some of his home brewed beer. Now, anyone who knows me well knows I’m not much a beer drinker. I WISH I was a beer drinker. In fact, I made a concerted effort to become a beer drinker a few years back. I committed to trying a different beer every time we went out for a whole summer, thinking maybe I could acquire a taste for the stuff, just like coffee. I mean, the those first few mostly-chocolate mochas I choked down in high school at Java Joe’s watching my friends bands play tasted like dirt. But I persisted, and coffee now ranks high among my favorite flavors on earth. Not the case with beer. I tried pilsners, pale ales, dark beer, imported beer, domestic beer, light beer, red beer, IPAs, nut browns, nothing stuck. I simply don’t like beer. The only way I ever willingly drink it is when Tony at the Ould Sod argues with me over whether it’s called a Black Beauty or a Snake Bite, then grudgingly pours me a pint of half Guiness, half pear cider. Delish.
But I digress. If Austin wants to give me home brewed beer, I’m gonna let him. Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up bartering it for something else, or take it to the next San Diego Food Swap! In any case, I was happy to grant his request, barter or not.
Seeing as how I’ve never eaten a pickled egg, much less attemped to make one, I had to find a recipe that sounded good first. Low and behold, Punk Domestics posted just that on their facebook page moments after I started the search. Who am I to argue with that kind of serendipity? The recipe came courtesy of Neo-Homesteading, and was a bonus two-in-one. First, you pickle the beets. Having only eaten those canned salad bar style canned beets before, I was a little dubious about the lack of cooking. Aren’t pickled beets supposed to be soft, bordering on mushy, and candy sweet? NO!! Turns out, I’ve been duped by the pickled beet all my life. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the canned ones. Every salad bar salad I’ve ever eaten winds up with tinged pink, from when I inevitably stir everything all together. The beets I pickled myself were glorious. Crunchy, sweet, briny, dangerously snackable. (blogger doesn’t seem to think that’s a word – pfft) It required huge quantities of self control not to eat them all before I even got around to step two in the process, using them to pickle the eggs. This first batch was spoken for, but they’re definitely going into my regular pickle rotation. Word to the wise if you decide to make your own – they’re not kidding about using gloves. My finger tips were stained light purplish pink for a solid two days after this little experiment.
The beets were done pickling in just two days, then it was time to move on to the eggs.
I made the additional brine, and used my handy dandy mandoline to make quick work of the onions. I used it for the beets too, btw, to get those wonderfully thin crunchy slices.
Adding the beets to the boiling brine softens them into something more akin to the canned version, but the flavor is still far superior, trust me. I didn’t have the exact spices the recipe called for, so I skipped the whole allspice berries and added some whole black peppercorns.
Homemade Pickled Beets and Pickled Beet Eggs
Pickled Beets – make 1, 1 quart jar
2 large beets, sliced very thin (I used a mandoline)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
In a small sauce pot, (or large pot according to how big of a batch you are making) combine sugar, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk until dissolved. If making spiced pickled beets, add the spices. Slice beets thinly. Place into sterile jars (if processing to be shelf stable) Cover with hot liquid. Process jars according to your altitude or place in the refrigerator. They are perfectly pickled within 48 hours and should last for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. (For Processing: Its 10 minutes for pints, 20 minutes for quarts)
(Spiced pickled beets- add 1/2 sliced onion to each jar as well as 4 allspice and 8 whole cloves)
Beet Pickled Eggs**
1/2 quart (or 1 pint) pickled beets including liquid, about 1 cup of liquid
8 cloves, whole
4 allspice, whole
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
6 or 7 hard boiled eggs, peeled.
** I made more pickled beets than the recipe called for to start with, knowing I had a dozen and half eggs I wanted to pickle. I wound up making the adjustment by measuring my beet liquid, which came to 2 1/2 cups. I adjusted the rest of the ingredients up as necessary.
In a pan combine beets, onion, vinegar, sugar, spices and beet liquid. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Lay some beets and onions into the bottom of your jar. Place peeled hard boiled eggs on top of the beets. Pour liquid over top. If you have liquid or beets remaining that will not fit simply store them in an air tight container…
Place in the refrigerator 24-48 hours. The longer you allow them to rest the further the purple color will penetrate into the egg. They will last in the fridge approximately 1 week.