Monday, May 7, 2012

Food from the Prairie: Pickled Eggs

   On a farm, fresh eggs are a harvest that ebbs and flows; sometimes a feast, sometimes a famine. Preventing spoilage is a constant challenge. Often clean fresh eggs are simply refrigerated in cartons which are flipped over every few days to delay spoilage; this is not a long term solution. My prairie grandmothers used a basic pickling brine as a method of storing eggs.
   Strong believers in the 'waste not' movement, they used any left over pickling juices for their hard boiled eggs; a favorite was the bright pink brine from spicy pickled beets. Recipe found here. The eggs were cooled and peeled before being placed in the beet brine and allowed to 'work' for several days before eating.
   In and amidst the daily doings of life, extra brine was not always available; therein a recipe was required. A basic pickle brine recipe filled the gap. Being flexible cooks like me, this recipe is set for a dozen hard boiled eggs, but can be easily doubled or divided for your needs.

Pickled Eggs
Boil together:
2 c. white vinegar
1 c. water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon each:
celery seed
minced garlic

For canning: place three to four eggs in pint canning jar. cover well with brine, process 10 minutes in basic water bath canner. 
Or: place all twelve eggs in large canning jar (gallon size), cover with brine, refrigerate. Let 'work' a few days before serving.

   These flavorful eggs were served by my grandmothers with cold meats and crackers, but they are wonderful as an egg salad, sliced on a salad, or placed in a sandwich. 

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