History Of Pickled Eggs
Pickled eggs are exactly what the name implies – eggs pickled in brine.
This simple dish has a rich history. Pickled eggs were one of the first popular bar snacks.
You may see bowls of peanuts and chips at your bar of choice, but it’s a rare sight to see a jar of pickled eggs on the counter.
However, at the beginning of the 19th century many American bars offered hard boiled eggs to their patrons. Eggs were a cost-effective option for tipsy bar-goers to get some sustenance.
But that’s not all. Eating boiled eggs usually made clients thirstier, so they’d tend to order more drinks.
At the time, hard boiled eggs had another key appeal – hygiene. A boiled egg’s edible interior is kept protected by its shell.
In mid-19th century New-Orleans, boiled eggs as bar snacks were popular for their durability. Eggs could stay on the counter for a few hours without turning rancid.
Boiled eggs were also offered at so-called “free lunch” counters. Bar owners hoping to encourage more clientele would offer a free meal, usually a boiled egg.
But how did boiled – and eventually pickled – eggs become a bar staple at all?
German saloons cropped up all across the United States at the start of the 19th century. These saloons introduced pickled eggs as a savory bar snack to compliments beers and lagers. (Source)
In chilly European countries, pickling food was not a choice but a necessity. Eggs were pickled to preserve them during cold winter months. (Source)
It’s unlikely you’ll find boiled eggs in most American bars due to health and safety regulations. Despite this, they are still a commonplace bar snack in some German cities. (Source)
Another reason why pickled eggs have lost favor?
Free bar food today usually consists of processed snacks. Pretzels, salted nuts and chips have replaced comparatively healthy pickled eggs. (Source)
Health Benefits Of Pickled Eggs
Pickled eggs aren’t just for casual snacking to compliment a cool beer. They are an excellent source of protein.
Brand-name pickled eggs contain anywhere from 70-90 calories per egg, depending on the brand and the pickling brine ingredients.
One plain cooked pickled egg contains approximately 80 calories. 50 of those calories are from fat.
Still, eggs are relatively high in fat. If you’re watching your cholesterol, a pickled egg might not be the best food of choice.
Not to worry, there is a solution: pickled eggs without the yolks!
An egg without its yolk contains significantly less calories. Most of an egg’s calories are in the yolk.
Whole eggs are also packed with cholesterol. If you remove the fatty yolk, you remove the source of an egg’s cholesterol.
One plain pickled egg with no yolk contains only 27 calories. A yolkless pickled egg contains 4 grams of protein, about the same amount as half a glass of milk.
If you’re on a low carbohydrate diet, you’re ideally going to be eating low-carb meals and snacks. Yolkless pickled eggs are almost entirely carbohydrate-free! (Source)
Pickled foods can also be a good source of healthy bacteria, vitamins, and amino acids.
Pickle juice contains high quantities of sodium, which may reduce cramped muscles after vigorous physical activity. (Source)
How To Make Pickled Eggs
To make your own pickled eggs at home, you’ll need eggs and a sealable glass container. The brine you’ll pickle your eggs in can vary depending on your preferences.
The glass container should be sterilized beforehand. This is to reduce the chance of potentially dangerous bacteria growing.
Hard boil however many eggs you can fit in your glass jar. Then, all you need to do is peel them and add them to your pickling mixture.
For aesthetic purposes, try to peel your eggs as neatly as possible. You don’t want gouged-looking eggs!
There are a range of different recipes for pickled eggs. Depending on the region, the ingredients for the pickling solution can vary.
Preparing brine is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is combine your ingredients in a saucepan and boil, then pour over your hard boiled eggs.
An example of a basic brine recipe is the following:
- Add three cups of white vinegar to a saucepan.
- Add a quarter cup of white sugar and one teaspoon of salt.
- Boil the mixture until all sugar has dissolved.
Once everything is cooked and ready, combine the eggs and brine immediately after cooking and allow the jar to cool for several hours.
After the jar is cooled down, put it in the fridge. The eggs should last for several weeks – make sure to keep the container well-sealed. (Source)
You can open the jar once a day for the first week to avoid gas building up. The longer your eggs sit in the brine, the more flavorful they will be.
In the United States, eggs are usually pickled in white vinegar. Beet juice can be added to the pickling solution to give the eggs a unique pink tinge.
If you want to spice up your eggs, you can add a chili pepper to your mixture or a few drops of Tabasco sauce. Others prefer to enhance flavor by including cooked beets or sliced onions.
Pre-prepared pickled eggs available at the supermarket tend to be more sugary than homemade pickled eggs. You can make your own sweet pickle juice by adding brown sugar to your brine.
In the United Kingdom, malt vinegar tends to be substituted for white vinegar.
Additional spices added to the brine include:
An easy “cheat” recipe is using leftover pickle juice from commercial pickles. Just boil eggs and add them to the pre-prepared pickle juice.
Pickled eggs will usually last in your fridge for up to two months. For commercially bought eggs, shelf-life is mentioned on the label.
Pickled eggs should be eaten cold or at room temperature. To keep your pickled eggs fresh, use a fork instead of your fingers to pick them from the jar. (Source)
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