Perfect Pink WAPF Pickled Eggs
When we lived in Costa Rica, my son developed a love for pickled eggs that he forgot about until last week. Since he does all the heavy lifting around ye ole homestead, keeping him fed to his liking is Job One. Plus, with 30 layers in the backyard, another way to eat eggs is always welcome! I jumped online to find a recipe. "Surely, there's a good 'real food' recipe for WAPF pickled eggs out there," I thought to myself. But nothing came up in my search except "conventional" recipes. The recipes on the interwebs are all over the place: some call for 2 C vinegar and no water, some for 1/4 C vinegar with 2 C water, some said everything in between. They all call for sugar, too. Then you have to cook the sugar and vinegar... there's no life after that! Then there was a wild and varied array of spices to add: peppercorns, turmeric, dill, cayenne, garlic, onion, cumin... Apparently, you can add pretty much anything to an egg pickling brine... But there was no consistency, no "basic recipe" with options. Uh oh. Uh oh because, while I love food, I am not a cook. Not by a long shot. Fortunately for my family, DH (Hal) is a fantastic cook, owned a restaurant and everything. He's one of those people who can walk into an empty kitchen and whip up something tasty, pretty and satisfying. Cooking aside, I love everything else about food. Eating it, of course, but also tasting new foods and flavors, sous chef-ing for my husband, chopping, stirring, watching -- my favorite channel is the food network. My sons judge how tasty something is by how many times I say "Mmmmm" during the first helping. I'm a certified foodie, but an eating foodie rather than a cooking foodie. This is my loooong way of saying: I need a recipe. Don't rattle off a bunch of ingredients and expect me to have a clue about putting it together. I need a detailed basic recipe before I can branch out. You'll notice how my other recipes are sooooo detailed? They're not so much recipes as instructions. That's what I need. I didn't get that with the pickled eggs search. I'm also a purist. I didn't want to use vinegar and sugar, darn it. I wanted to do it the real way, the ancient traditional way, with fresh whey and salt. So I did what every self-respecting WAPF* chapter leader does: I asked other chapter leaders. Badda bing! Here ya go: basic detailed pickled egg instructions with wonderful WAPF-inspired options below that! *WAPF = Weston A. Price Foundation
Basic Traditional-Style WAPF Pickled Eggs
1/2 Gallon Ball jar and lid
Filtered water to cover eggs in the jar
2 Tbsp whey - how to make whey (If you don't have any, you can leave it out or substitute any of the WAPF-inspired brines down below.)
Optional ingredients: I also add garlic (5 crushed cloves/dozen), 1/2 beet peeled and cut into small chunks (for the pink)
Hard-boil your eggs. Here's the perfect method: put eggs in pan, cover with cold water. Heat to just before boiling. Turn off heat, cover, let sit for 17 minutes. Pour off hot water, add cold water and enough ice cubes to chill the eggs down fast. Once cooled, peel carefully so as not to break the skin down to the yolk.
Put optional ingredients in the bottom of the jar.
Put eggs in the jar as they are peeled.
Mix 1 Qt filtered water with 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp* real salt and mix. Pour over eggs. If needed, add more salty water till eggs are covered, leaving 1" of air between water and lid.
*Adjust salt to your liking.
Cover, not too tightly, or use a Fermenta Cap. Gently turn jar upside down a couple of times to mix. Let sit in a cool dark place for 3 days or so, turning jar occasionally. When eggs are pickled to your taste, store in refrigerator.
Vanessa at Natural Family Today (where I got the basic recipe) says that, because your eggs are cooked, they will not bubble as much as raw veggies do when they are fermenting. "If you see what appears to be bubbles on the surface of the eggs, you have fermentation!" Now for the fun part!
WAPF-Inspired Pickled Egg Options
No exact details here because I don't have them. This is the real cook's section: give it a go and, when you figure out the exact recipe, please share so we can try it, too. Tamari Brine: Strong black tea base with tamari added for the brine and "pickling" action -- it replaces the salt. Spices are star anise, garlic, a little ginger. Soy Sauce/Tamari Brine: Water base with soy sauce/tamari for brine. Add raw whole garlic, chunks of raw onion. For both of the above, the white eggs absorb the brine and turn brown and salty! I am definitely trying these. How hard could it be, right? Sauerkraut: Pickle eggs in the brine or even in with the sauerkraut. To pickle with the kraut, make sure the entire egg is covered with kraut so you can't see any egg even when looking at the side of the jar. Beet Kvass: Pickle eggs in kvass. Several people mentioned this -- love the idea! (Here's a recipe if you like.) Pickle Brine: Re-use brine from your pickles Pickled Eggs in the Shell: This is not a WAPF-inspired idea but very cool. You can pickle eggs in the shell because the brine will dissolve the shell over time. Or, for a marbled egg, roll the egg in the shell along a hard surface to crackle, then put in the brine. When ready to eat, peel and rinse to see the marbling. How long do they last? One friend said that she'd eaten pickled eggs up to two months old! Remember, these are left out for 3 days during the initial pickling, then refrigerated after that. There you have it! You'll see a picture of a finished egg as soon as this second batch is done. My son ate the entire first batch immediately... Have you pickled eggs? Please share your secret recipe!