I’ve been expanding my flock of chickens for some years now. I can’t resist hatching a few batches of chicks each spring/summer and on the other hand keeping all the older non-laying ones in a state of perpetual retirement instead of culling them is not the best economical decision but what can you do? After a life-time of service it’s only right they get to peacefully live out their remaining years. It’s not cheap feeding chooks properly and I’ve outlayed a lot with good fencing/ enclosure for them. Even so, the rewards are great and they can’t just be counted in terms of dollars and cents. As well as the obvious gift of eggs, and the bonus of manure for the garden I get this lovely sense of contentment and peace when I see them happily doing their thing. Don’t get me wrong when a bad egg comes along and doesn’t want to cohabit peacefully with his or her fowl family I will do the deed. It’s not a job I enjoy but with a karakia I’ll send them on their way to chook heaven.
When the chooks are in full-on laying mode I give away trays and trays of eggs to whomever crosses my path but this year I want to store some as well. I’ve pickled my first batch and if the whānau enjoy them I’ll be making lots more. On researching pickling eggs nearly everyone says it’s unsafe to preserve with an airtight seal to store on the shelf. I’ve previously eaten eggs that have been airtight sealed and I understand that the Amish have been doing this for many a year no problems. If you make them unsealed they can last in the fridge for 4 months. Most people do this. I’m planning on doing both.
I’ll be taking you through the process of making Dill pickled eggs. There’s also famously golden eggs using turmeric and pink eggs using beetroot. Those are next on the agenda and the mokos are looking forward to making these with me as soon as we have enough eggs. From what I understand you can use many different spices just depending on your taste.
There are a few different things good to know before you start. You must use vinegar that has no less than 5% acidity. White vinegar or a mix of cider vinegar and white is preferred. You will need about 10 good sized eggs for a one litre jar and 2 cups of the brine for a one litre jar.
Ingredients for 1 litre jar; 10 average sized fresh eggs, 1 cup vinegar (white or white and cider), 1 cup water, 2 TBSpoons plain salt (not iodised), 2Tbspoons sugar, 1/2 onion chopped, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp coriander seed, 1 tsp dill seed, 1 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns and a few sprigs of fresh dill if you have it.
Method: Wash and STEAM your eggs. This is by far the best way to cook the eggs as the shell with come away easily and you won’t get chunks of the white sticking to the shell. If this happens you can’t use them in the recipe so best to prepare a few extra in case. The damaged ones disappeared into the mokos mouths. Place gently in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water or add some ice to cool.
In a pot make up your brine solution with the water, vinegar, salt and sugar.
Bring to the boil dissolving the salt and sugar and leave aside. Cover your one litre jar(s) with hot water and boil for 15 minutes to sterilize.
Then carefully peel the eggs, rinse and leave aside. Assemble the chopped garlic, onion and selection of spices.
Remove your hot clean jar(s) from the pan and place the onions and garlic on the bottom. place some eggs over the onions and sprinkle the spices over these as you make more layers to the top of the jar.
Leaving some space at the top pour your brine mix (which has been brought back to a simmer) over your eggs.
If these were for storing out of the fridge in the pantry I would use my easy overflow method SEE HERE
Otherwise lid and store in the fridge for up to 4 months. Leave at least 2 weeks to take on the flavours of the spiced brine.