One of my favorite Spring food traditions growing up was my Mom's fantastic pickled eggs. It was a tradition her mother and grandmother passed down through the family and always coincided with Easter. While the kids enjoyed the pretty hues of the hard-boiled dyed Easter eggs, the adults always snacked on vibrant bright purple hard-boiled eggs pickled with red beets. I have made them in the past but not consistently and this year I was craving them. So, I took my mother's basic recipe and spiced it up a bit to really satisfy my craving for the tangy and savory with a hint of exotic. They are delicious! Make them about 4 days before you want to start eating them. They get better after a few days. Here's the simple and wonderful recipe.
makes 6 eggs
6 large organic good quality eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 c. red beet juice from plain canned beets or your own juiced fresh
1 c. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
4 green cardamom pods
2 whole star anise
1. Remove the eggs from the fridge and let them warm to room temperature. Place in a large pan and cover fully with water. Bring the water to a good boil with big bubbles. (If you boil the water first and then lower the eggs into it, they usually crack and the white will leak out into the water). Once the water is boiling set a timer for 11 minutes. For medium eggs, 10 minutes will work.
2. While the eggs are cooking, add the red beet juice, vinegar, sugar, cardamom and star anise to a small saucepan and gently simmer just long enough to dissolve the sugar and get the spices to begin infusing the juice. Turn off the heat and let the pickling liquid cool down.
3. Drain the eggs after boiling and run cold water over them to cool completely. Peel the eggs by tapping the bottom end where the air pocket resides and then rolling along a hard surface to crack the egg all around. I usually do this with a paper towel under to keep it clean. Peel the egg and place in a bowl of cool water. Repeat with all eggs and let them cool completely in the water.
4. Add the eggs to a very clean jar with a tight lid. It doesn't need to be air-tight but a good seal will help. Make sure that your eggs and liquid are completely cooled before adding to the jar. If you are using canned beets, add the beets to the jar too. Gently pour the pickling liquid over the eggs and push down to submerge completely. I found that laying the beets on top of the eggs helps keep them under the liquid so that there aren't white spots or patches on the eggs. You want uniform purple.
5. Close the jar and place in the refrigerator and leave for at least 4 days. Then, open the goodies when you need a yummy snack. I had a bonus surprise with the egg I used to photograph this post -- a double yolk! I like them simply sliced in half and sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt and ground white pepper.
Of course, for a larger household than one or two people you can double the recipe and do a dozen at a time. If you do this, you may not need to double the spices. It depends how strong you'd like it.