Pickled eggs recipe is for a refrigerator pickled product.
This is NOT a canning recipe.
Do not store these on the shelf! These eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks up to 3 or 4 months.
Pickled eggs are peeled hard-boiled eggs in a pickling brine. The eggs are not processed, so they must be stored in the refrigerator.
Again (cause I really don't want you to miss this), any pickled eggs recipe is for a refrigerator product.
To my knowledge, there are no pickled eggs recipes that are available for storage on the shelf. You may wonder why you can purchase pickled eggs on the shelf at the supermarket. That is because they are commercially processed, and that is an entirely different process than what is available to a home cook.
The lovely thing about pickled eggs is the variety. Many different recipes exist for pickled eggs.
In this batch that I'm working on, I took several recipes and halved them so I can make smaller batches of several types. You can always do a full batch, which will produce enough brine for approximately 12 eggs.
Regular eggs from the store work fine. Farm fresh eggs are best, but they are also the hardest to peel! As you can see from the pictures, my eggs are not...well, they are not picture perfect. :0
I have this how to hard boil eggs article for making hard-boiled eggs by boiling them. This is the method I used to use. However, since I wrote that post, I discovered steaming eggs! It gives the same resulting hard-cooked eggs but with much easier peeling, especially with farm fresh eggs.
Add a couple inches of water to the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil. Put eggs in the basket into the pot and cover. Steam for approximately 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and run cold water over the eggs to cool them. When you can handle them, start peeling.
3 different recipes are available below. These steps are the same for each recipe:
There are many pickled eggs recipes online. These are recipes that have been tested for home storage (in the fridge) and come from the NCHFP website.
Remember, I made small batches. I took each of the recipes, divided them in half, and measured them out into jars. Then I heated each recipe to a boil for 5 minutes before pouring them over jars with the eggs.
Notice that your eggs should be cooled so you can handle them to peel, but the brine should be hot when you pour it over the eggs.
I've read that keeping the brine hot when you pour it over your eggs keeps the egg whites more tender. I have no idea why! I've never tested it myself; I always pour my brine over hot.
Full disclosure here: The NCHFP recommends sterilizing your jars before you make pickled eggs. (Sources listed at the bottom of this article.)
"Be sure to wash all utensils and surface areas (including hands) very well and sanitize jars for 10 minutes in boiling water before filling with boiled eggs if you expect to keep them for more than several days."
I'll be honest, I don't "sanitize" my jars for pickled eggs. I do, however, wash and rinse very thoroughly!
This product is not processed and so is not going to be preserved as food is when it goes through the pressure or waterbath canner. Thus, the reason for only putting this in the refrigerator. However, everything DOES need to be super clean.
This is my thinking...you make your own decision. You've got good sense, use it. Do what you feel is right.
If you feel more comfortable sterilizing your jars, that is great! Go for it. Here is some information on sterilizing jars with the canning process. That page also has full instruction on how to sterilize jars.
Pickled eggs will last for 3-4 months in the refrigerator according to the NCHFP. They don't give a hard and fast expiration date, but state "for best quality". I don't keep mine that long. A month or 6 weeks, and I'm ready to dispose of them. That is personal preference. You'll be safe going with the suggested 3-4 months with these recipes.
Remember...they MUST be kept refrigerated. Do not leave them out on the counter! Botulism has been reported with eggs that were left at room temperature.
You can actually eat them right away if you want, but you'll be disappointed. For that pickled flavor to penetrate your eggs, allow them to sit in the fridge for a week or two. Even longer will give more flavors.
I would not advise reusing pickled egg juice. You should provide a fresh brine for each batch.
Page last updated: 2/28/2020.
Washington State University Extension: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/fch/documents/eb1104.pdf