Pickled eggs are a popular snack that is quickly gaining traction across the world.
This was first done as a simple way to keep eggs fresh, especially for people who had a lot of eggs or had to travel a long way and needed to keep food fresh.
But even with the prevalence of this trend as of late, some people are still hesitant to give it a try.
And well, if you listen to all the scary stories of food poisoning and botulism, it is easy to understand why.
This article will give you more details about pickled eggs to help put your mind at ease. You’ll learn how to make pickled eggs, how to store them, and how long they last unrefrigerated.
How Long Do Pickled Eggs Last Unrefrigerated?
Pickled eggs should only be taken out of the fridge when you are eating them. You cannot store them in the pantry, either. The jar must always be kept in the refrigerator.
When you take them out of the fridge, they should not be left out for more than two hours. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, any longer than two hours will put the eggs at risk (1).
You should always keep your pickled eggs in the fridge.
Also, they should be eaten within three to four months to prevent them from spoiling. The cold temperature of the fridge will prevent bacteria from multiplying.
Do Store-Bought Pickled Eggs Last Longer?
You’ll also need to keep store-bought pickled eggs in the fridge.
Once you open the jar, you should finish the eggs within four weeks.
You can only keep store-bought pickled eggs for a few weeks once you have opened the jar.
What Are Pickled Eggs?
Pickled eggs are usually chicken eggs cured in brine or vinegar.
Most of the time, pepper, onions, cloves, and cinnamon are the spices in the pickling liquid. But, this varies between regions and individual taste preferences.
Although pickled eggs have origins in Germany, they are quite a popular snack in pubs across the UK.
Pickled eggs are also fast becoming known in the US, where they have become an excellent way to deal with excess eggs if you keep chickens.
Chicken eggs are the most common for this snack, but some people also use duck and quail eggs.
How Are Pickled Eggs Made
The process of pickling eggs is quite simple, and recipes have been passed down for generations.
The pickling liquid is either made from vinegar or brine, and a variety of additions influence the flavor of the eggs. Popular additions to the pickling liquid include peppers, jalapenos, and beets.
To pickle eggs, you first have to boil the eggs, place them in a jar, and pour the pickling liquid over them until they are covered.
They are then kept in the fridge for several days for the eggs to absorb the pickling liquid.
Ideally, you want to wait for at least seven days before eating them, but some recipes ask that you pickle them for much longer.
Problems with Pickling Eggs
As much as pickling recipes are easy to follow, there are specific methods you need to follow to ensure that the eggs are safe for consumption.
One of the well-known risks of pickled eggs was documented by the CDC in 1997 (2).
A man made pickled eggs at home, but he didn’t know how dangerous it could be to do it wrong.
This is what makes people nervous about eating pickled eggs.
Let’s consider what you should do to avoid the same fate.
Firstly, the man pricked the eggs to speed up the pickling process. The yolk of eggs has a higher pH and takes much longer to absorb the vinegar.
While pricking the eggs with the toothpick may get the vinegar to the yolk quickly, it also provides entry points for disease-causing bacteria like Clostridium botulinum.
Secondly, the man stored the eggs at room temperature and exposed them to sunlight.
This would have encouraged the bacteria to multiply in the jar, and since they love a higher pH, they increased in the yolk of the egg.
Thirdly, the man put the pickled eggs into a glass jar with a metal lid, but there was no indication that he sterilized the bottle beforehand. His incorrect methods are what enabled botulism-causing bacteria to multiply within the egg.
How to Make and Store Pickled Eggs Correctly
The hard-boiled eggs you use must not be pricked or cut. They need to take up the pickling liquid naturally.
According to a study done at Clemson University in 1972, egg whites absorb the pickling liquid in just a day (3). But it takes about six days for the egg yolk to reach a pH of about 4.0.
So, the eggs must remain pickled for a minimum of six days before they are safe for consumption.
In addition, you must sterilize and dry the jar in which you will store the pickled eggs. This eliminates the presence of bacteria before adding your ingredients.
Once in the jar, the pickled eggs must be stored in the refrigerator at temperatures no higher than 7℃ (4). This will further prevent any bacterial growth while the eggs pickle.
Pickled eggs need to be kept in the refrigerator from the moment you pickle them. It takes approximately one week for the pickling process to be completed.
To avoid any disease-causing bacteria from multiplying in your jar:
- Never forget to use clean utensils for prep. Sterilize your jar
- Do not prick the hard-boiled eggs, and
- Keep the pickled eggs in the fridge at all times.
The only time you need to take the eggs out of the fridge is when you are ready to try them.
So, you don’t have to worry about getting sick if you eat pickled eggs as long as you prepare and store them correctly!