Pickled Eggs

Pickled Eggs

Serves: n/a
Cost: ~€3 for 12 eggs
Preparation time: ~20 minutes + 1 month
Calories: ~85 per egg

Allow me to tell you a story! Back when I was about 21, I’d just moved back from Paris, where I’d spent a couple of years pretending that I enjoyed studying, and graced my dear mother and father once more with my presence around their home. After a few months moping around the house it soon became apparent that I would really have to get a job, so off I went, on the search. Eventually I noticed an advert – a local bank, looking for tellers, and while it was the bottom of the corporate ladder I thought that this must surely be a gateway to a bright future. After my application and a couple of rounds of interviews I was informed that I was successful and the job was mine. What fun, I thought  – what a wonderful opportunity! Hrmm…

My training started and pretty soon I was fully ready to take in and give out cash, as well as assistting the customers in other issues. For a while it was great – there were no demands on me, no-one was saying I had to do fulfill quotas every day – I was enjoying myself. I got to wear my smart suit and sit on my chair behind some plate glass and I felt like the bee’s knees! One day though, my supervisor told me of an additional duty that I had to start doing, and this I was not happy with at all.

Selling, in a word. Making profit for the bank. Of course they won’t say that. They’ll tell you they’re genuinely interested in making your money work harder for you, making sure you are benefiting the most from your hard-earned dough. The truth is that they don’t care at all but I tried to commit to the cause. Every customer I had: “hey, would you like to benefit from our awesome new savings account?”, “hey, I noticed you have debt, maybe you’d like to get another loan and consolidate them all?” (not mentioning, of course, that the interest of the new loan would be high as all hell). I should point out that I have no problem with a company making profit. For private companies, it is their “raison d’être” but for me it seemed exceptionally unpleasant, especially since I’m really not a salesman. I believe people will buy something if they want it – if they need it. One does not need to be told what to buy.

Anyway, I’m digressing. Shortly after starting at the bank I moved out from my parents’ home, leaving them with some blissful peace and quiet once more and into a place which I was sharing with a colleague in the city centre, literally 30 seconds from the bank. When I started at the bank, my salary was low. I’m not just talking “boo hoo, I can’t afford a new BMW”-low, I mean minimum wage low. Considering that at this time I was swimming in quite the financial predicament after my time spent at University living in the not-so-cheap city of Paris I was hemorrhaging money each month and it was clear that I needed a second job. First of all I requested permission from the bank (company policy, which I find hilarious – pay employee a pittance, hold the power to decline an attempt to get a second job) and then went in search of an evening job. Eventually I found work as a bartender in a pub not 30 seconds walk from my apartment in the other direction – talk about handily situated. It was here that I served such delights as “Charles’ Mystery Shots”, which were literally made up from anything I could pull from behind the bar, regardless of whether or not they might suit each other, including liberal doses of Tabasco Sauce and Baileys. The best thing of all about working in a bar though? The bar snacks!

Perhaps one of the most famous things to be found in English pubs, which you don’t really see so much anymore is a great big jar of pickled eggs, perched up on the bar, next to the Guinness tap. The owner of the bar happened to have exactly one of these giant jars. He picked it up one day from a wholesaler and positioned it under the till, on the off-chance that someone might ask to buy one. Of course, no-one did, and there it sat for many months, until eventually they became my occasional snack – a bit of delicious sustenance to see me through the long, quiet evenings (it wasn’t a busy place – just a few locals propping up the bar). If you’ve never had a pickled egg, try one – they’re not for everyone but I find the pickling action on the whites makes for a firm, slightly chewy texture which results in a fantastic snack. You can mess about with the spices a lot as well, to really get creative. I put the price for 12 pickled eggs as being around €3 – I like to buy happy eggs from happy hens. If this isn’t so important to you then you could probably get them for much less, or even free if you rear your own.

A note – I just spent significant time reading up about pickled egg recipes online after seeing an article about food poisoning. It would appear that many recipes advocate storing the eggs in the fridge – at least until they have pickled fully, which will take about a week. Many British recipes do not mention this, and simply state you should try and store them in a dark place. Whichever method of storage you decide to go for, remember to remove the eggs from the jar using a clean spoon, to avoid introducing contaminants into the pickling solution!

Anyway – have a great week people, I’ll be back on Thursday with a sweet treat and some photos of Stockholm as well!

Pickled Eggs

Video Recipe

Ingredients

Pickled Eggs ingredients

  • 12 Eggs
  • ~1 litre of Vinegar (different vinegar results in different flavours)
  • 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • 2 tsps Black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

You’ll also need

  • A large mason/preserving jar

Instructions

  1. Start off by boiling the eggs – bring them to the boil in a large pan of cold water and boil them for about 10 minutes, to ensure they are hard all the way through.
    Boiling the eggs
  2. Transfer the cooked eggs into a bowl of cold water and run cold water into the bowl to help them cool down. Carefully peel the eggs and set aside while you thoroughly wash your pickling jar, including the seal. Place the eggs carefully into the bottom of the jar before adding in the sugar, salt, peppercorns and cayenne pepper. Pour in the vinegar so the eggs are well covered and seal the jar.
    Peeled eggs
  3. Swirl the jar around gently to help dissolve the sugar and properly dissipate the peppercorns and cayenne pepper. Store in a cool, dark place for about a month before enjoying. The minimum time needed to pickle them and develop the best flavours is usually at least 2 weeks. If you prefer, store the jar in the refrigerator – regardless of your pickling method, always use a clean spoon to remove the eggs from the jar. Enjoy!
    Pickled Eggs

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50 Comments

  1. I remember you saying that my deep fried hard boiled eggs for sambal telur was one of those things you had never seen before, and you thought you had seen every way possible one could prepare eggs. Well, pickeld eggs was a first for me when I first moved here! Imagine my surprise when I saw jars of these little white oval balls, read, and then realised they were eggs! I enjoyed reading about the stories of you when you first started working. It’s nice to know that everyone starts out struggling too, I’ve been forced to learn to be really frugal and careful with my money as a student, and foresee the next few year like this too :/ ah well, but I know one day I’ll be able to have a comfortable home and life and to be able to afford life’s little luxuries like you and your wife (:

    Reply
    • Thanks Shuhan – I enjoy my life a great deal now. Still looking forward to buying a house with my wife one day. It bums me out that so much money each month goes down the drain in rent. All I want is a kitchen which I can have laid out the way I like, some land where I can grow veg and keep hens… :D

      I spent a long time feeling like I’d been tricked by the system – I’d gone to University… well, I’d least given it a shot, and I’d got a job which is supposed to be reputable and there I was earning what can barely be called a salary. Talk about annoying :(

      Reply
  2. Love your story Charles!:-) There are times when the job requires us to do things we are not happy with even when we are already happy with whatever we are already doing and they put it in such a nice way to make you feel guilty for even thinking of not wanting to do it. Of course, they term it progress but it really depends on what you are really comfortable with or if you are interested, else, you can’t really do it. In times like these, we make our own moves instead of moping over it because, believe me, we can make our own decisions. Yes, financial issues do come into the picture, trust me, I have been through times like these and it will never leave us at any point in our life and it will just appear in various ways. I totally know how you feel :-)
    The pickled eggs idea sounds really new to me, and I am wondering how it really tastes like!:-)
    You always have such amazing innovation in cooking/baking or whatever wonder it is you do with your food, haha, that is a talent and a skill you have:-)

    Reply
    • Thanks Christy – I was pretty happy after a few months because they announced that they were getting rid of trying to sell stuff completely. Two months went by and we didn’t have to annoy the customers at all…… and then they changed it again :( Sigh!

      Still, it’s all better now :) I hope you get a chance to try pickled eggs one day – they’re really yummy :)

      Reply
  3. Oi, husband, where’s the “Eat the random 13th egg” step? ;-)

    Reply
    • What random 13th egg? Don’t know what you’re talking about? :D

      Reply
  4. So this is the recipe you have mentioned! What a brilliant idea! I am so glad you have posted it because pickled eggs have always looked and sounded very appetising to me and somehow I haven’t tried making them. Blogging friends’ posts are always a very big encouragement. I have never seen them in any pub here of course, but sometimes in the films and in English cookery books too I think.
    I must say I have really enjoyed reading your post today. Not only because it was amusing but because thanks to you I have just learnt two words in English (or rather a word and an expression): teller and I felt like bee’s knees (the latter sounds very funny!). Thank you, Charles, for the wonderful recipe and an English lesson.

    Reply
    • Thanks Sissi – I’m glad I could teach you the words… I’m not sure where the expression “bee’s knees” came from actually… do bees even have knees? :D

      As for teller, it’s where the acronym ATM (cash machine) comes from: “Automated Teller Machine” :) I hope you get a chance to try the eggs some time – I might try to do some eggs pickled with beets… it seems quite a common US recipe!

      Reply
      • Thank you, Charles. I have never wondered why ATM is called like this…

        Reply
  5. I have heard that the British eat pickled eggs but I have never tried them. That is such a shame that your lowly paid job became a nightmare when they demanded you become a secret salesman. In recent years I have hated banking at the branch because I feel like with the simplest of transactions I am being pounced on. Would I like a bigger overdraft? Would I like some life insurance? Would I like income protection insurance? Would I like an increase on my credit card limit? It’s abuse. I can image how much you hated doing something you knew was immoral. I would like to try a pickled egg so I’ll give these a go and remember to keep them in the fridge xx

    Reply
    • Hi Charlie – the worst thing of all was having to ask people with huge balances if they wanted to take a loan. Come on – they have enough to buy a new house in cash… don’t possibly want to take a loan (of course, no-one ever did!).

      Thankfully I’m not in that line of work anymore :)

      I hope you enjoy the pickled eggs – let me know if you try them!

      Reply
  6. Great story, Charles! Those mystery shots sound like they could have been quite scary indeed! :)

    Reply
    • Thanks Laura – well, my boss told me I couldn’t serve them anymore after I made it almost completely lime juice and tabasco sauce :D… I think the poor girl drinking it was rather ill afterwards :p

      Reply
  7. Brilliant post Charles, hope you got out of banking (or rose to the top and made a huge fortune!). I have never eaten a pickled egg, how very un English of me…time to try one I think!

    Reply
    • Thanks Chica – nah, not in the banking game anymore… Really wasn’t my kind of thing. I can’t believe you’ve never tried a pickled egg…! You have to give them a try!

      Reply
  8. Thank you for sharing your story of your early working years, Charles. Recently my own bank has started trying to get me to take/use my PLC. I just tell them ‘no thank you’ and go on with my banking business because it’s not worth getting into more details with the person behind the counter who’s just doing his/her job.

    Pickled eggs … well the jar looks pretty. :)

    Reply
    • Hi A_ – I can understand that… it is just a case of them doing their job and it’s very nice of you to see it as that. Some people get (and got at me) very annoyed :(

      Haha, the jar is pretty – but the eggs are great too… Think of pickled onions, but with eggs… delicious :D

      Reply
  9. Not sure if you could get me to try pickled eggs, even after your story. Though, I’d be interested in trying one of your mystery drinks! Hope you don’t sneak in the pickled egg juice into one of your mystery drinks! LOL

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa, I think you might like pickled eggs – they have a bad rap, but they’re actually not as bad as people think :D

      As for the drinks – I used to make some quite delightful ones, in addition to the terrible ones… Concoctions of coconut rum with splashes of blue curaçao suspended in a spiral through the drink :)

      Reply
  10. I have never eaten a pickled egg but you’ve almost got me wanting to try one, Charles. Perhaps British people don’t refrigerate their pickled eggs because a lot of British houses and climates are naturally cold.

    Reply
    • Hi Sharyn – I’m sure you’re right… colder climate, and many houses had cool cellars too. I hope you give them a try – they’re worth it, in my opinion at least :D

      Reply
  11. I don’t know if I would like to try pickled eggs but I love your story-LOL! It reminded me of the time we moved to the US. my first job was at a bank too…it was not fun at all but we all have to start somewhere at the bottom of the ladder. It was rough– making angry customers happy, wearing ridiculous suits and smiles while doing that and killer interest rates ..Geez!

    Reply
    • Hi Malli,

      A fellow bank worker… well, ex bank worker. You have my sympathies – if it was anything like my work it must have been bad!

      Don’t be scared about the pickled eggs, lol – they’re really damn good!

      Reply
  12. There are bars here in the states that sell pickled eggs. I haven’t ever had one but my husband says they are good. You can buy pickled eggs at our local market in the refrigerated section. It’s always nice to learn a little more about you Charles. Have a nice week.

    Reply
    • Hi Karen – your husband knows where it’s at! Pickled eggs *are* good… really delicious! Apparently in America it’s common to colour the eggs with beets – I’m going to try that next I think!

      Reply
  13. Loved this story … what a pickle you were in! (Lame, yeah, I know)
    I have seen these jars of eggs at English pubs and they’ve always looked rather suspicious to me. Coming from an Asian country and having heard horror food stories from Chinese descendants, (I won’t mention what they sometimes pickle their eggs in, too gross), I’ve been rather careful of trying anything that I can’t be 100% sure of, ingredients-wise. Thanks for the education and I can now see that I could actually enjoy this eggs after all.

    Reply
    • Hi Ping – rest assured, these are pickled in nothing but decent vinegar :D I think if you tried making these yourself… perhaps just one in the beginning, you might find you like them a lot :)

      Reply
  14. Growing up there was always a jar of these gems in the fridge, so this recipe brings back childhood memories for me Charles. My mom is coming up to stay with me and the girls in late June (while my husband goes fishing in northern Saskatchewan) so I’d like to make these with her….or have her make them for me? Great to hear about your early years and your fondness for sales (ha, ha).

    Reply
    • Hi Barb – great to find someone who appreciates the beauty that is pickled eggs… people here seem very unsure of them :D I’d love to see how mother makes them – do you think you’ll post a recipe?

      Reply
  15. Whoo hoo! We get to meet a new (old) Charles! How cool that you worked as a bartender! I didn’t see that coming at all when I first started reading about your job at the bank! I’ve never seen pickled eggs but so interesting!!! First I’d love to taste it. I’m very open to this idea because I love eggs! Thanks for sharing your personal stories with us. How fun! Any new story next time?? ;-)

    Reply
    • Hi Nami – people here don’t seem keen on the idea of pickled eggs, but they’re delicious to be honest – maybe you could make one in the beginning to see what it’s like.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story – I have a few stories I could write about I’m sure – I’ll have to think about it and see what I can think of :)

      Reply
  16. Charles, what a great post. I can completely relate to your transition from student to worker and the money hemorrhage. At one point, I was working 3 jobs (!) to put myself through law school and racked up a not-so-insignificant debt.

    I had no idea about pickled eggs in British pubs. How cool. And the funny thing is, I’ve had all manner of pickled vegetables (I used to eat them by the jar full in university – it’s that vinegar addiction thing), but I don’t think I’ve ever tried a pickled egg before… what a revelation! Thanks for the great idea Charles; I have no doubt our whole family would love them.

    Reply
    • Eek, 3 jobs! I think it’s just terrible that jobs don’t even pay a decent living wage. I mean, fair enough, if you have an averagely paid job but desperately want to save for a Ferrari, feel free to take a second job, but I really don’t think that anyone should have to work themselves so hard just to survive. You can bet I sure as hell appreciated my days off then! I used to love Friday nights – that was when I got paid from my pub job. I’d take my little envelope of cash and go round to the kebab shop after work. I’d buy a big chicken kebab and then take it home. I’d proceed to sit and watch some TV or something with my kebab (eating it on a plate in a very refined manner! lol), looking forward to the weekend ahead :)

      I hope you enjoy the pickled eggs – they have a bad reputation but they’re actually delicious!

      Reply
  17. Aren’t first job stories great. I remember my excitement as well…they flew me in for an interview, offered a signing bonus and had me meet lots of big shots. Then after taking the job I found myself covering reception and ordering coffee. So not what I signed up for as a marketing coordinator. Needless to say, I moved on. I’ve never had pickled eggs before. I’d certainly be open to trying one but they do make me a bit nervous. Hope you’re having a great week Charles! Loved that LEGO video by the way. :)

    Reply
    • Hi Kristy – what a big effort they went to just to then set you to work on reception and making coffee… what a bummer, I bet you were so disappointed!

      I’m having a lot more fun now though and earning a much more suitable wagem even if I do pay through the nose for tax – thanks France :(

      Glad you liked the LEGO video, haha – it was pretty cool :) You can see it’s excellent music for when you have cleaning to do too!

      Reply
  18. I am lucky enough to have my own hens, so my pickled eggs would be even cheaper than that! LOL! I live in the Charente Maritime and LOVE that brand of shallot vinegar by the way….and, just an aside, I ADORE pickled eggs! Karen

    Reply
    • Hi Karen – I’m so glad you like pickled eggs… peoples’ reaction to them is often far from positive :D

      That shallot vinegar is awesome isn’t it? The only problem is when you’re glugging it all out and the shallot in the bottom of the bottle keeps falling down and blocking the bottle entry :D

      Reply
  19. I read your post while lying in bed in Manhattan on the weekend. I had a great view of the city!
    It’s too bad that job descriptions change all over the world (I would have thought the unions in Paris would have had a word or two about that!). I had to cold call by telephone once for a job and it was BRUTAL! Not my forté either.
    I wondered when this recipe would rear its head on your blog, Charles. Not one of my favourites but I do appreciate the details on how to make them. They do rather look like eyeballs floating in the vinegar, don’t they!

    Reply
    • Hi Eva – your weekend sounds fantastic – I’m very jealous of your weekend getaway! Need to head over to your site in a bit to check your updates :)

      The bank I was working in was in England alas. I should think that had it been in France it probably would have been a much more enjoyable job… maybe. Definitely better labour laws here!

      Eyeballs, lol – thanks for that – I’ll never be able to look at them the same way again :D

      Reply
  20. What a great story Charles! Good for you for realizing what the banks are doing with having you become a seller. It drives me mad when all I want to do is deposit a check and I’m asked about getting a credit card or line of credit! UGH! That’s exactly why so many middle class people of yesterday are at the poverty level today. So I digress! :) I’ve never had a pickled egg and have to be honest that I am somewhat skeptical of them. I definitely would have to try one before making them! But if I do decide to make them, now I know how!

    Reply
    • Hi MJ,

      Totally – and the bigger the cheque the more frenzied the bank staff get. If it’s a small cheque… double or triple digits then they’ll probably just ask you if you want a bigger overdraft. If it’s 4, 5 figures then you can bet they’re going to try everything they can to make you entrust your precious money to them so they can invest it in… who knows what… to earn profit for themselves and a small pittance for you!

      Reply
  21. I haven’t eaten a pickled egg in more than 20 years. Scary. I really liked them in what seems another lifetime.

    I have one issue though. Everyone should be eating eggs only from happy chickens. :)

    Reply
    • Hi Maureen – I quite agree with you, though sadly it’s just not very important for some people :(

      Reply
  22. Hi Charles,
    This was such a fun read. I have never heard of pickled eggs but would love to try them out.I love eggs and anything made with egg is great for me.

    Reply
    • Thanks Asmita – you should give pickled eggs a try sometime – they’re very fun!

      Reply
  23. LOVE your honest write up :) So, when I was growing up in Indonesia, they used to pickle eggs, and didn’t put them in the refrigerator. I can’t recall exactly the process, but the eggs became salty, and I believe they were covered in some sort of black sand (need to call my mom and confirm this!). Time consuming process; and I personally didn’t care for it much when I was young, but grew to appreciate it as I got older. Thanks for bringing back such a fun memory.

    Reply
    • Hi Yudith, I’m intrigued, hearing about your mom’s recipe… black sand… it sounds very interesting. I’d love to try them! People do wonderful things with eggs, all over the world, they’re so versatile.

      Reply
  24. Yum! I haven’t seen these since about 1976! That was the year my parents drug me kicking and screaming away from my (heart)Texas. I am going to try this. I hope my family will join me. It is starting to feel like Summer here on Santorini. An ice cold Donkey beer(a local brewery)and a pickled egg. It will be just like home. The weird thing here is that two days I saw another recipe for pickled eggs! ??? I hadn’t even really thought about them in years and now twice in one week recipes have been posted for them! COOL!

    Reply
    • Hi Debra, glad I could tickle your taste buds! You live on Santorini? Damn, colour me jealous! My colleague went on vacation there last year… it looks amazing… breathtaking scenery!

      Love the name of the beer! :D

      Reply