I remember eating pickled eggs when I was a child, and loving them. Over the years, however, I sort of forgot about them until my husband became obsessed over a restaurant salad that had fried pickled eggs. After doing some research I found several recipes for pickled eggs, many using beets to color them purple. Those are the ones I remember eating and loving.
Now that we have chickens of our own I wanted to find some really special ways of celebrating their eggs. When I remembered those beautiful purple pickled eggs, I knew that was it.
It happens to be Prickly Pear fruit season here in Arizona, not beet season, so I thought it would be fun to try using them to color and flavor the pickled eggs. Oh, and I also decided that since I’m doing one small batch of purple eggs, why not make another one of yellow eggs using Turmeric — I try to fit that into a lot of our meals because of its anti inflammatory qualities (check out these amazing turmeric supplements if you want to learn more.) Turns out they were both great! Another great place to get larger quantities of Turmeric is from an Asian or Indian market. If you have one in your city it’s definitely worth the drive. Pick up some interesting seeds and spices as well.
All you need are some boiled eggs.
Through years of making boiled eggs and trying to find the key to making them easy to peel, I’ve come to the conclusion that it all has to do with NOT using the freshest eggs. Over time eggs lose moisture, causing them to shrink inside a bit. that is the key to easy-peel eggs. I leave my eggs on the counter all the time, so after a few days of that I can be assured of easy-peel eggs.
Once they are boiled, cooled and peeled, place them in a bowl in the fridge while you make the pickling solution.
Prickly Pear Juice
Place 5-7 prickly pear fruit into a blender and blend until they are nice and puréed. No need to add water. Oh, use tongs because those little glochids are painful.
Pour the purée into a bowl fitted with a mesh strainer to catch the seeds and pulp. Isn’t this color gorgeous? Use a spoon to lightly press the juice through. You’ll end up with about 1/2 cup of juice. More or less is fine.
For each batch add 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 4 teaspoons sugar (more or less to taste, you can add more later), 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons pickling spice. For the prickly pear batch add the 1/2 cup of juice. For the Turmeric batch add 1 tsp powdered turmeric.
Bring it to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 30-60 minutes.
Once the solution has cooled, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a pint jar.
Adding eggs and adjusting seasoning
Add the eggs and any additional flavorings you like. I added onions, society garlic flowers, chile pequin seeds, fennel, cardamom seeds, and coriander seeds. I just thought it lacked something after I tasted the strained solution.
Cover and leave in the refrigerator at least 24 hours. Use the eggs within 3-4 months. The longer they sit, the more the egg absorbs the flavors. This is what they look like only 24 hours later. Yummy and beautiful. Definitely worthy of my very special chickens.
Prickly Pear/Turmeric Pickled Eggs Recipe
Using 4 boiled eggs in each pint jar.
Basic Pickling Solution
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp pickling spice
For Prickly Pear Pickled Eggs
- Add 5-7 prickly pear fruit or 1/2 cup juice
For Turmeric Pickled Eggs
- Add 1 tsp turmeric powder
Optional seasonings to add to the jar with eggs:
- Onion slices, coriander seed, cardamom seed, fennel seed, garlic flowers, pepper seeds or flakes, and anything else that sounds good.