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This time of year I have a ton of extra eggs. In the winter I have fewer. I have, therefore, been experimenting with egg preservation techniques.

I like pickled eggs a lot. They aren't very versatile so they can't be my only preservation solution but they are tasty and interesting.

Unfortunately, pickled egg recipes always say that the product must be refrigerated. This prevents me from storing the eggs until winter as I do not have that much fridge space.

The brine is fairly acidic and very salty. Why do they have to be refrigerated?

What do I have to do to make my pickled eggs shelf stable?

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I'd rather sell them :) – Diana Jul 26 '12 at 4:37
In an answer re: egg refrigeration, the linked article also tested methods of holding eggs at room temp, and the 'waterglass' method had decent success for 3-4 months. – Joe Jul 31 '12 at 15:45
@BlessedGeek- Century eggs are another experiment that I am excited to try but the flavor is much different of course. – Sobachatina Nov 2 '12 at 14:04
I suppose it's not pickled so I'll just make this a comment, but you seem like a potential customer for the "water-glass" (sodium silicate) technique for storing eggs. – Ecnerwal Mar 23 '15 at 2:10

12 Answers 12

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Seems this is very common in Britain, where I come from, so did the business!

The recipe here allows storing in a cool, dark cupboard for up to six months, and it recommends leaving the eggs at least a month:

Here's another with more interesting spicing:

This one looks good, and I like the instructions for eating!

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I read the whole last post just to get to "instructions for eating". LOL! – Jolenealaska Jul 25 '14 at 12:02
In (mainly more old-fashioned) English pubs, pickled egg and a bag of crisps (US: potato chips) is a common snack. The egg is placed in the open bag of crisps, which is then held closed, given a little shake to distribute the flavour of egg to the crisps, and crisp flavour to the egg. In my local, this delicacy is referred to as "egg and chips", with customers having their personal preference as to flavour of crisps. Mine is Salt & Vinegar. – Phil M Jones Sep 4 '14 at 8:24

Yes being from England I have always stored my pickled eggs in a dark cupboard for at least a month (if they last that long from sticky fingers...) and ONLY after opening do I put them in the fridge. We also use Malt Vinegar to pickle them and yes you can get malt vinegar over here as my friend brought me some from Wisconsin and walmart now sell it.

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This is something asked very frequently on a canning site I am on and the answer is always a resounding NO. There is NO way to make pickled eggs shelf stable. To preserve eggs however I have heard that dehydrating them can work. Regarding the pickling, the chances of growing and subsequently eating Botulism is rather small but as it is a deadly neurotoxin any chance is too much for me personally.

This outlines a bit of information regarding how to safely pickle and store them:

Specifically this bit:

Storing Eggs

After making the eggs, the eggs require some time to season (i.e., pick up the flavors from the pickling brine). Keep them refrigerated at all times. If small eggs are used, 1 to 2 weeks are usually allowed for seasoning to occur. Medium or large eggs may require 2 to 4 weeks to become well seasoned. Use the eggs within 3 to 4 months for best quality.

Also this:

Caution: Home pickled eggs stored at room temperature have caused botulism. For the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), see The Editorial Note in this report cautions against room temperature pickling and storage, also. The CDC further cautions that to reduce the risk for botulism when pickling, food items should be washed and cooked adequately, and utensils, containers, and other surfaces in contact with food, including cutting boards and hands, should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and warm water. Containers (e.g., jars and lids) in which pickling will occur should be sterilized (e.g., placed in boiling water for a prescribed period).

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It's been my personal experience that they don't need refrigeration. I have been making them for over a year and keep them stored at room temperature and have not been made ill by eating them.

However I would like to make two things very clear:

  1. I never dilute the vinegar in the brine recipe to less than 5% acidity by adding water. I know a lot of recipes call for adding x amount of vinegar and so much water but doing this makes conditions more favorable for bacteria to grow because the PH level has been altered.
  2. Also I pickle them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. After this time they have been (Pickled) resistant to spoilage, and are safe for room temperature storage.

Remember, if you are going to store your pickled eggs at room temperature, do not add water to your vinegar brine recipe.

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How long can you store them at room temp after using this method? – lemontwist Jan 5 '13 at 13:28

Being an elderly man who has frequented a bar or two in his day I must say that I have never seen pickled eggs, pickled pig's feet, pickled bologna, or any of the other pickled delights that beer drinkers are prone to nibbling on kept refrigerated. In days of yore many bars advertised free lunches of such goods with the purchase of a beer or two. The pickled products were kept in huge jars, submerged in vinegar and at room temperature. I never heard of anyone becoming ill from eating them.

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I know this is not a SCIENTIFIC test with control groups and such, but I will share my thoughts on this matter and how I've been pickling my fresh egg surplus for over 25 years with absolutely no ill effects, or refrigeration.

I may add that my 4 children were raised eating these eggs, even in the hot Southern summers, and they are all very much alive with children of their own... and for me, that's proof enough of my method...okay, my deceased wife's method... and no she did not die of food poisoning.

After the obvious hard boiling and peeling of the eggs, ensuring that the egg didn't get marred or damaged, I put them into sterilized mason jars, with sliced jalapeno, chili or habanero pepper rings.

I then boil about 2 cups of pure white vinegar with a 1/4 cup of pickling salt and one 500 mg, generic white vitamin C tablet until all solids are dissolved.

I then pour it right up to the top leaving no air space, so that when the lid and ring are put on and tightened, the excess is forced out. As the jars come to room temp, the lids will emit a "POP" when the suck inward. If no "POP" is heard and the lid does not get sucked in, those jars go in the fridge, the others go in my pantry... That's it.

I have never had a jar fail, however, there would be a simple way to know if it did and you have bacterial growth, the liquid will cloud up badly, the lid will swell and in drastic contamination, will leak... but that has never happened.

Remember this, from a chemistry standpoint, bacteria is more likely to grow in sugary environments, and there is little to no sugar in my method, plus the capsasin in the peppers is highly acidic, as is the ascorbic acid in the Vit C.

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Points of fact (1) capsaicin is not highly acidic, and is actually poorly soluble in water and weakly acidic solutions (2) ascorbic acid is a weak acid (3) there are many species of bacteria that contribute to foodborne illnesses and only some of them prefer sugar. – Didgeridrew Mar 22 '15 at 4:17

Pickled eggs don't spoil usually because they are eaten fairly quickly. I agree with the above person not to dilute the brine with water. I have been making pickled eggs for over a decade and have never had spoilage problems I think because I don't dilute the vineager when mixing with other spices etc. You can leave them out indefinately if the temperature is fairly consistant. For example, you don't want to keep the jar of eggs in drastic changes in light or temperatures. Keep them in a place where the direct sun doesn't hit them, and keep them in a place where the temperatures don't vary much. You don't need a refridgerator for pickled eggs if the brine solution is strong enough. I think people put them in the fridge so they get cold. They seem to taste better cold, but it's not necessary to refridgerate them.

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I used to visit this little hole in the wall bar many years ago that had a 5 gallon jar of pickled eggs. The label on the jar was torn off in a recognizable way. The same jar was used throughout, and there were never more eggs, always less, but not by much. I was one of maybe 3 people that would eat the things, being young and bullet-proof, (so I thought) and I swear that jar took two years to empty. It sat on a shelf behind the bar, in a dimly-lit area. I never experienced any ill effects.

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"I never experienced any ill effects" is not an argument valid in food safety. You dodged a risk of getting ill, but you cannot say if you had a chance of getting ill in one in a million and it was really safe, or one in a ten and you got really lucky, or anywhere in between. To pronounce something safe, a complex prediction model is needed, with lots of data points. – rumtscho Sep 4 '14 at 9:11

I am 54 now I have been eating pickled eggs since I could walk and talk. My grandmother had a shelf in the corner of the kitchen where there was always pickled food,the eggs were the best and they were never kept cold no one got sick or died in her house.

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Vinegar is a natural preservative. I don't see how it would spoil.

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Just because you don't see how something could spoil doesn't mean that it won't; while vinegar may in some circumstances be a preservative, you should provide detail as to when that is true, such as the strength required and how to recognize it to improve the quality of this answer. – SAJ14SAJ Apr 5 '13 at 6:44

mixing the vinegar with water WILL dilute the vinegar AND make the PH go up (more toward neutral) and I am of the opinion that a 5% vinegar solution is ideal for pickling. So I suggest NO water in the solution unless you want to keep them refrigerated, and even then I might

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Welcome to the site! Have you read the question? The first rule for an answer here is "answer the question". Could you please remove the long rambling about general food preservation, pressure canning and your personal history? I see one paragraph on not dilluting vinegar, but can't tell whether this is a general statement or refers directly to the eggs in the question. The rest is unfortunately off-topic. – Stephie Sep 2 '15 at 8:52
As Stephie pointed out, most of your post was unrelated to the question. I kept the paragraph which has a suggestion of how to proceed, but I find it a very poor answer. Just because diluted vinegar is a bad idea, I don't see any proof that undiluted vinegar is safe enough for the purpose. – rumtscho Sep 2 '15 at 22:00

dilution doesn't affect pH. It is more favourable to bacteria because the acid is more dilute, not because it is weaker.

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WHAT? Of course dilution affects PH. If you mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a tablespoon of water, the resulting mixture is going have a higher PH (be less acidic) than the undiluted vinegar. That doesn't change the PH of the vinegar, but that's irrelevant here. What is relevant is the PH of the brine. – Jolenealaska Jul 12 '14 at 23:47
By your own logic, the acid becomes diluted which would obviously change the pH. The pH is going to be a weighted average of the ingredients combined. – SourDoh Jul 15 '14 at 8:21

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