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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
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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

8 Answers 8

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Seems this is very common in Britain, where I come from, so google.co.uk 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: http://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/food/recipes/pickled-eggs

Here's another with more interesting spicing: http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/fetch-recipe.php?rid=misc-pickled-eggs

This one looks good, and I like the instructions for eating! http://www.pubbuddy.co.uk/pickled_egg_recipe_kitchen.php

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I read the whole last post just to get to "instructions for eating". LOL! –  Jolenealaska Jul 25 at 12:02
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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 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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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

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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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

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 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. –  sourd'oh Jul 15 at 8:21

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 at 9:11

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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