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The Devil in the Eggs

deluxestogie

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Yesterday evening I read a news story on an FDA recall of shell eggs. I usually ignore that kind of info, but it concerned over 200 million eggs shipped during a 10 day span from a single producer. That represents a staggering 20 million hens laying for a single company.

I clicked on a link, and scanned the lengthy list of brand names. Yup. Great Value Large Eggs. I had a full dozen that I bought four days ago. So I brought out the carton, and compared its barcode to the evil list. Yup. Guilty!

The problem is a possible Salmonella contamination. I already assume that every hen's egg on the planet is contaminated with Salmonella. You've got to eat live Salmonella to get sick from the bacterium. There is no lingering toxin. All eggs get cooked; all hands get washed. No exceptions!

The guidance said to immediately return the eggs to the store for a full refund. Well, my cheap eggs cost less that the gas it would require to obtain the refund. Choice: throw away 1 dozen fresh eggs OR hard boil a dozen eggs immediately. I chose the latter. A dozen eggs went into a pot, and were boiled for 20 minutes, cooled, then returned to the fridge in two half-cartons brightly marked, "HARD".

I mostly use egg for blending into my one-meal casseroles. Sometimes I use them in baking. Occasionally, I'll fry up an omelet or some over-easy eggs.

Within a week, I can probably consume 1/2 dozen hard boiled eggs if I pace myself. (Lunch: 1 hard boiled egg, a baby pickled beet, some cheese and salad dressing.) When I was still eating sandwiches, egg salad was always a possibility, but these days, I would probably be spooning it up like a chilled stew. If I go to the bother of making real, deviled eggs, I might slip into a binge mode, and suck down a 1/2 dozen halves at once.

How the hell does an industry say, "Oops!" about 200,000,000 eggs? Salmonella species grow out in culture in about 18 hours. It took them 10 days to notice. Nice work, boys.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Having never pickled an egg before, I limited myself to what would fit in a pint jar. Five peeled eggs made it. To this, I added a few whole cloves of garlic, some mustard seed, some black peppercorns, a sprinkle of freeze-dried chives, and one dried chile japones.

I made up a sweet brine, using apple cider vinegar (1/2 cup) and water (1/2 cup), along with some Splenda for the sweet, and a 1/2 tbsp salt. For grins, I added a bit of the juice from my jar of pickled beets. Once the brine was bubbly in the pot, it was poured into the jar of eggs and spices.



When it has cooled, I'll refrigerate it for a few days.

What fun. Total prep time was about 10 minutes.

What if everybody did this with the 200,000,000 recalled eggs? Assume 12 eggs per quart jar. That would require a over one million gallons of vinegar, nearly 17,000,000 one quart jars...and you'd have to corner the market on black peppercorns.

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

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Never pickled an egg before? Is this a cultural thing? We had them in our house. Mom makes me a jar every Christmas. But. Like, didn't every corner store, gas station, bar, and golf club have a jar of pickled eggs and another jar of pickled sausages sitting beside the cash register between 1970 and 1990?
 

greenmonster714

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Hard to believe y'all haven't had a pickled egg. If you like pickles and you like boiled eggs. You'll like pickled eggs. Around here they sell pickle sickles. Simply frozen pickle juice. Never run into pickle sickles till I came down south. I tried one once and it wasnt bad.
 

deluxestogie

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Is this a cultural thing?
Pickling of fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs was one of the few ways to preserve them without refrigeration. (Cheesemaking and butter solved the problem of preserving dairy.) Today, different cultural groups continue some of those old practices because they just taste good (to some folks).

I grew up in Atlanta, back when it was a provincial, southern city. I never saw a pickled egg until I moved as a teenager to eastern Pennsylvania, around Philadelphia. The concentration of second generation immigrants from locations that continued to pickle eggs was greater than in the deep south. Here in southwest Virginia, there is a higher population of 3rd and 4th generation German immigrants whose ancestors arrived near Philadelphia, migrated to western Pennsylvania, then down into Virginia.

At any rate, I too have never eaten a pickled egg. They are about the easiest pickles I've ever made from anything. Put peeled, hard boiled eggs into any old brine, with any old spice. Refrigerate for 3-4 days.

Bob
 

Hasse SWE

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Sounds like a good way to keep both me and the Salmonella away from the eggs.. But when you say so I think I have seen it in old cooking book's.
 

deluxestogie

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Sounds like a good way to keep both me and the Salmonella away from the eggs.
As I mentioned, I've never been tempted to try one. But thanks to Salmonella, I have a quick score for my bucket list. (Next up...Komodo Dragon steak.)

Bob, I think you'll find it to be more like two to three weeks.
Here's the absolute truth. (I saw it on the Internet!): "It takes about two to three days for the pickle juice to flavor the eggs. However, they will have a stronger flavor if they are left to soak for six to eight weeks."

Fair warning....pickled egg farts are deadly. Two pickled eggs and a six pack of white castle burgers will make your dog get up and leave the room.
Hmm...I believe that it's the egg yolk that supplies all the sulfide from hard boiled eggs. As for the White Castle burgers (Hey! Aren't they "Crystal" burgers down there in Alabama?), it's all those tiny, shredded onions.

Years ago, after my dog and I completed 10 difficult days hiking the Duncan Ridge Trail, in north Georgia, I decided to reward her with a bacon double-cheeseburger from the first Burger King we came to. In the grass behind the rear of the parking lot, I unwrapped it for her. To my amazement, she sniffed it suspiciously, then carefully disassembled it. She moved the large slice of raw onion to the side, then hungrily consumed everything else.

Bob
 

Charly

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Years ago, after my dog and I completed 10 difficult days hiking the Duncan Ridge Trail, in north Georgia, I decided to reward her with a bacon double-cheeseburger from the first Burger King we came to. In the grass behind the rear of the parking lot, I unwrapped it for her. To my amazement, she sniffed it suspiciously, then carefully disassembled it. She moved the large slice of raw onion to the side, then hungrily consumed everything else.

Bob
A real Gourmet ! for sure !
 

deluxestogie

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Egg Albumin Chromatography



The small proportion of pickled beet brine that was added to my egg pickling brine allows a measure of its penetration into the hard boiled egg. It's diffusion rate is likely different from that of other components of the brine (e.g. pepper, mustard, capsicum, garlic, etc.). After only 3 days in the brine, the entire white of the egg feels much firmer and more cohesive (less crumbly). The white has a pleasant, mildly pickled taste. The yolk seems unchanged. So, even though the betacyanins (the purple stuff) have made it almost to the yolk (and are rather pretty), most of the flavor of the brine has not left much of a mark.

I'll check again in 3 weeks.

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Bob:

My Lab dog would eat just about anything, including broccoli. But not pickles or olives. It seems she didn't like things that were pickled. I never tried a pickled egg on her. Probably because I never tried a pickled egg on me!

Wes H.
 

deluxestogie

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I actually found the pickled egg tastier than an ordinary hard boiled egg. The texture is more appetizing, and the flavor is better. They are so easy to make, and eggs are so inexpensive, you should give it a try. Then you can say, "ick!" if it strikes you as peculiar.

I'm glad to have tasted one, and thank CV for suggesting it. My expectation is that they will be even better after a few weeks in the brine.

It works with any pickle brine, and doesn't require the sometimes bizarre ingredients mentioned in the fancy recipes. You can even drop a couple of hard boiled eggs into a jar of pickle brine, either before or after all the pickles have been eaten.

Be courageous.

Bob
 
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