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I hard boiled several fresh eggs, and pickled them with a chilli and garlic flavoured pickling vinegar which had been simmered for ~15 mins, storing them in jars that had been sterilised in the oven for half an hour or so and cooled. (I didn't follow a recipe as such, more a combination of different ones.) Everything had cooled when it was jarred.

They've since been stored in a dark cupboard at UK room temperature.

A couple of weeks later and the pop-up button on the lids is up under pressure.

Am I right to conclude that this effort has been a failure and the eggs are spoiled?

If so, where did I likely go wrong?

Updated to add: This is one of the recipies I followed (since I used their pickling vinegar): https://www.sarsons.co.uk/recipes/pickled-eggs

But having also looked at this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pickled-eggs

.. amongst others, I additionally boiled the vinegar and flavourings for about 15 minutes and sterilised the jars in the oven at 180C for about half an hour. (I underestimated the volume of vinegar needed so topped up with fresh unboiled pickling vinegar.)

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    "I didn't follow a recipe as such, more a combination of different ones." That was a really bad idea. – Sneftel Jun 12 '20 at 8:12
  • So if I read your question correctly, you filled the cooled eggs + brine in a jar, and stored them at room temperature, no further canning/heating step? – Stephie Jun 12 '20 at 8:27
  • @Sneftel Maybe so. But to be clear, they were all substantially similar, and in particular I followed carefully the sterilisation steps because this was an area I knew could catch me out erring on the side of caution if recipes differed. – Mark Rogers Jun 12 '20 at 8:49
  • @Stephie That is correct. (None of the recipes I found said to do otherwise.) – Mark Rogers Jun 12 '20 at 8:51
  • I've added additional info about the recipes I "followed". – Mark Rogers Jun 12 '20 at 8:57
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As somebody who ferments things, unexpected ferments generally should not be trusted. Even I throw them out, even though I'm pretty sure they're safe, personally.

Based on these two recipes and others I Googled, it seems like fermentation is not expected or desired. It seems like the two recipes you link to assume that the acidity of the pickling brine will be enough to preserve the eggs at room temperature for some time. We store vinegar at room temperature all the time!

But there are a lot of variables that could affect this. How much sugar did you use? How much chili and garlic? were they fresh or dried? How big were your eggs, and how much vinegar did you use relative to everything else? How much water did you add to your brine mixture before simmering it? And how long did you let your brine cool?

Although sterilization is hugely important, so is the pH of the brine and salinity/sugar content of your additions. So if you're inventing recipes, make sure you take some time and really think through how your additions could be altering the pH of the overall solution. If you're lowering it, consider how that might change the method.

In order to keep this from happening again, I would recommend hot-packing your eggs, and consider looking into canning them. Hot-packing means take your jars out if the oven, put your eggs in them, pour in your hot brine, and close the lid. Then let them cool and transfer to the fridge.

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  • Thanks, I think the lesson I draw from this is to test the acidity of the brine... – Mark Rogers Jun 13 '20 at 19:00
  • Sorry, hit POST by mistake and can't edit. To your comments: no water was added, minimal sugar (I didn't want a sweet result), the garlic was fresh but boiled with the vinegar, the chillies were dried but also boiled. Hot packing sounds like a plan, but presumably the eggs themselves are at room temperature at the point of packing? – Mark Rogers Jun 13 '20 at 19:04
  • They don't have to be. you could toss the shelled eggs into the brine to dimmer for another couple minutes before packing. just ladle hot eggs into hot jars and then distribute the brine. – kitukwfyer Jun 13 '20 at 19:51
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Vinegar is acidic so it dissolves the carbonate of the eggshells producing co2 gas in the Prozess. Had the same happen to me, eggs were still good. foul semell would be bad

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    Hard boiled eggs are shelled before pickling. – Sneftel Jun 12 '20 at 11:23

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