I collected 23 recipes this spring, eventually trying eight of them, two or three at a time. None of the recipes fully satisfied, so I created one I like. This recipe is a hybrid of some of the flavors and proportions in the tested recipes. I did not test recipes containing sugar. CAP’N JIMMY’S KENTUCKY PICKLED EGGS
12 large hard boiled eggs
1 ½ cups white vinegar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard seed
2-3 small dried hot red peppers
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced onion
Careful preparation of the eggs is essential so they will be neither too firm nor rubbery in texture. Allow the eggs to warm to room temperature and place in a large kettle of water. Heat the water to just the point of boiling and then simmer for 15 minutes. You will know the water has reached simmering stage when small bubbles form on the bottom of the kettle. If the water reaches boiling, reduce heat. I always boil an extra egg and test for doneness.
Combine the vinegar, water and other ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Be sure to break the red peppers into small pieces (one teaspoon to one tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes may be substituted for the whole red peppers). Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. The considerable amount of red and black pepper do not really make the eggs “hot”, only more flavorable.
A nice variation: If you enjoy flavors of some of the sweet spices, add one teaspoon (no more) of mixed pickling spice. I like the eggs nearly as well that way.
Pack the eggs into a sterilized quart jar and pour the hot liquid over them to within ¼ inch of the top of the jar. Be careful to avoid air pockets and wipe the top of the jar dry with a clean papertowel. Seal with a clean lid and let cool for a little while. Refrigerate. The eggs will be nicely pickled in 2 weeks, but are better in 3 weeks.
Notes: Always sterilize jars by boiling 15 minutes, even when the eggs are to be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure all the equipment you use remains sterile during the canning process.
JimInKy, Lexington, Ky.