canning eggs is this safe

wdenton07February 26, 2009

I posted this but it didn't show

Is this recipe safe

Recipe 2: ( 7 Quart Canning method - allows unrefrigerated storage)

Canning Method:


If you are making many quarts of pickled eggs and would like to CAN them, such that they do not require refrigeration until opened, then follow these instructions:

- Use Canning Jars, Rings and Self-Sealing Lids (Like Mason Jars)

- Follow the manufacturers instructions for Lid Preparation (some require boiling the lids)

- Clean and Dry Jars, Rings and Lids

You can get a 12 jar case at any grocery for about $8.00

A canning pot may be purchased at most hardware stores or Kmart for about $20 - A canning pot will handle 7 quarts at a time.

NOTE: If you have never canned before, take a look at one of the lids. You will note that the center of the lid is "domed" upward and if you place the lid on a table, you can pop that dome down with your finger, when you release, it will pop back up. This is important because when the jars of eggs cool, you will know if the jar has properly sealed when these lids "Pop" down.


Boil and peel 8 Dozen Eggs (even though you are canning 7 dozen, sometimes you can fit 13 eggs in a jar or some eggs will be damaged during boiling or peeling process)

While the eggs are cooling, clean the jars, lids and rings and dry completely and set out on a table.

Peel the eggs and have ready before continuing.

Place your canning pot on the stove with 4 or 5 inches of water in the bottom and let it start to heat up.

Create the Brine:

In a Large Pot, Combine and boil the following:

5 Cups vinegar (5% acidity)

10 Cups water

4 Tablespoons canning salt (non-iodized)

2 teaspoons ground mustard

3 1/2 teaspoons dill seed

1/2 sliced onion

3 Cloves garlic sliced thin

3 Jalepenos sliced thin

Stir and bring to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, Cover and remove from heat.

Packing the Jars:

While the brine is boiling, Layout 7 bowls and prepare the following:

7 Jalepenos thinly sliced and placed into 7 separate bowls

7 Cloves of Garlic thinly sliced and placed into the seven bowls.

(one bowl for each jar)

In each of the 7 empty jars, add the following:

1 Tablespoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard (Rounded Full)

Stir the Brine with a ladle to make sure the contents are suspended well and then ladle about 1/4 - 1/2 cup brine into each jar.

Then, pick up each jar and swirl the solution around to make sure the salt and mustard dissolve.

Once the salt and mustard have dissolved, add a bowl full of sliced jalepeno and garlic to the jar.

Pack the jar with 12 to 13 eggs.

Stir the brine and ladle each jar full until about 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.

Applying the Lids:

Do not apply the lids until the water in the Canning Pot has begun to boil.

With a paper towel, clean any salt and liquid from the top of the jar and the sides of the jar where the rings will screw down. This is important. If there is debri on the top of the jar, the lids will not seal.

Place a lid on the jar and the screw down the ring until touching, then turn about 1/8 turn more (just less then snug, do not overtighten because air will need to escape during the canning process.


Place the Canning Rack on the Canning pot "Top" position. Place the 7 quarts into the Canning Rack.

Lower the canning rack into the boiling canning bath. The water in the canning pot should now rise to a level above the tops of the jars.

You want 1/2 to 1 inch of water above the tops of the jars. If there is not enough, add water until the jar tops are submerged.

At this point, the water will probably stop boiling.

Wait until the canning bath again reaches a good rolling boil and then set your timer for 15 minutes.

Do not set your timer until a rolling boil has been achieved.

When the 15 minutes are up, turn off the heat and raise the canning rack out of the bath and let hang in the "Top" position.

Place a folded towel on your counter and then using Pot Holders or a Jar Clamp, remove jars 1 by 1 and gently place on the folded towel to cool. With a towel, very gently soak up any water that has pooled on top of the jar lids, but be gentle, the lids have not sealed yet and you should not force it. Do not push down on the lids.


Do NOT touch the jars for several hours, let them cool on their own. Overnight is best.

As the jars cool, you will hear the loud "Ping" whenever a jar seals. This is good, it means that the lid has sucked down and a sufficient vacuum has been created inside of the jar.

After several hours, check each jar to be sure the lid has popped down and is no longer domed upward, but domed downward. If any jars lid did not pop down, you can either re-can that jar (as described above) or simply place it in the refrigerator and eat those eggs first.


After the jars have cooled, gently remove the rings without unsealing the lids. Salt may have formed on the lid top and under the rings. Wipe each lid, jar threads and rings with a wet cloth to remove this salt. Then replace the rings. (If you don't do this, the rings and lids will rust)

Place canned jars in a cool dark place (basement shelf). Eggs should keep in this state for about 1 year. After opening a jar, you must refrigerate.

Before opening a jar that has been in storage, make sure the lid is still popped down. If it is not, do NOT eat the contents as they probably went bad. If the lid is popped down, then open the jar and the contents should be fine.

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readinglady(z8 OR)

I'm sorry, but this is unsafe on so many levels I wouldn't know where to begin.

This recipe is a good example of the multitude of untrustworthy high-risk canning recipes the internet is rife with.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 11:34AM
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Is there a safe way to can pickled eggs?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 11:49AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Well, in theory pressure-canning. But of course that would be destructive of the eggs.

There are no safe-tested canning recipes for pickled eggs. Eggs are high-fat, low-acid and extremely dense. All of these characteristics make them a poor candidate for home canning.

And with limited resources, Extension agencies and the NCHFP generally focus on testing and developing recipes for foods with a broad general appeal. Pickled eggs are more of a specialty item consumed in small quantities, so for the vast majority, refrigeration of a single jar is sufficient.

Commercial processors have access to lab facilities and preserving equipment not available to home canners. Even then, I doubt they would use a recipe like this. The acidification is insufficient.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:38PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Pickled eggs can be stored in the fridge about 2 weeks maximum.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:56PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Sorry, no, absoloutely unsafe to can. The brine is not even strong enough to start with.
They must be done and stored in the fridge. Even using an egg where the yolk is exposed is dangerous, as it will contaminate the brine. Be sure the eggs are not split when you peel them.
There are lots of good variations on flavors, too.
I believe the safe storage in a brine that is tested for safety is about 2-3 months.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:15PM
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NCHFP says not safe to store at room temp.
They do have some other recipes for pickled eggs but still have to store them in the fridge anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP, Pickled eggs

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:27PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Even store bought are refrigerated like the
Claussen half sour pickles and other types. Then there is the Chinese who bury eggs underground for 100 years. They turn black and smell ugh! Never wanted to try them either!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Greetings All,

I may be marching into a beehive here, but here goes:

The recipe posted above was taken from my personal family website:

I posted it there years ago because friends and family members were constantly bugging me for the recipe. Rather than writing it down each time, I just posted it on our site for them. I'm surprised anyone even found it. Sorry it has created such a stir.

All canning runs the risk of danger. But people keep doing it because it is fun, good and for the most part, healthier than anything you can buy at a store.

The recipe above is one that was passed down from Grandma to Mom, to me. I've personally canned about 500 jars of pickled eggs using that recipe and have stored the jars for over a year in our cellar and eaten them. Out of all the jars of pickled eggs I have canned, using that recipe, I have never had a single jar go bad, or cause any harm to anyone. (not to mention the jars mom and grandma canned) My kids gobble up these pickled eggs like it's nobody's business and I trust our tried and trued recipe over anything any "commercialized" entity can come up with and will continue to do so without fear. If you follow the instructions in this recipe, you will be fine. But by all means, refrigerate them if you are concerned.

Our friends and family love our pickled eggs. At Christmas time, we can about 50 jars, wrap them up and give them out as presents. We've never had a problem.

We store our eggs in our cellar, which maintains a temperature, year round, at about 50 degrees. I certainly would not recommend storing them at a temperature higher than that. But I personally don't think it would hurt. We take jars along on camping trips and road trips. It's a quick snack.

Growing up as a kid, the pickled egg jar was always on the counter, and never was refrigerated, even after it was opened up. If you went down to the pub in town, they had a 1 gallon jar of pickled eggs sitting on the bar that was always there, and never was refrigerated. 2 eggs for a quarter at the pub. (those eggs were not near as good as the recipe above).

Just the other day, I was at our local grocery store and saw pickled eggs. These jars were not refrigerated and had over a 1 year expiration date. The ingredients were: eggs, water, vinegar, salt and spices.

Is there cause for concern. Sure. Be careful. Refrigerate if you are concerned. But don't poo poo a recipe without testing it first.

My personal experience with this recipe, and the years and generations using it, convinces me that it is safe. Never have we had a problem.

The vague comments above about "not enough saline" or "not enough acidity"... without offering the proper amounts, tells me we are hearing an opinion, not scientific fact. If you are going to comment in the negative, offer concrete facts. Otherwise it is just one persons personal opinion.

The one fact I am offering, which is good enough for me, is that I've got about 80 years of results with this recipe, with never a bad jar and never refrigerating.

People either hate pickled eggs or they love them. There really is no in between. If you like pickled eggs, you will love this recipe.

If you are concerned about refrigeration, by all means refrigerate them. No big deal, problem solved.

If you feel the saline content is too low, add more salt. If you feel the acidity level is too low, add more vinegar. Recipes are for modifying.

Anyone who surfs the internet for recipes should exercise caution, good judgment and common sense. And people should visit forums and get opinions. But they are just opinions.

A final note about "entities which can be sued", like the NCHFP

Any entity, which can be sued, will always cover the backsides by putting blanket statements such as: "Always refrigerate" in their dialogs. They have to or they run the risk of being sued by someone who forgot to but vinegar in the recipe. McDonalds had to put a sign on their drive up window that read: "Caution, Coffee is HOT" Next thing you know, McDonalds will get sued because they didn't say: "Coffee is Really Hot", then they will need to say: "Really, Really Hot"...

Pickled eggs have been unrefrigerated for hundreds of years.

Happy Canning!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 12:15PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Recipes handed down from previous generations even many hundreds of years old, are not considered safe today. Eggs can carry and also culture salmonella as well as botulism. They are quite dense and even pickled in a standard 5% vinegar, are not very safe for room temp storage or canning. Years ago, vinegar used to be at 7% acidicty, or even higher. I had some old Heinz vinegar that was 20%. It was VERY powerful and could easly kill off and prevent most any bacteria that may be in a food thats been home canned. In all supermarkets, I have never seen pickled eggs packed in jars on a store shelf near the regular pickles. The eggs are usually in glass jars and stored in the refrigerator section of most markets. Some people even use beet juice to give them a purple color. Storing even at 50 degrees can introduce or encourage poisons to proliferate. You can do what you like with pickle eggs, but if they are ever sold to unsuspecting people, or are eaten by someone who gets very sick, or worse, even dies, you might consider taking out a big insurance policy if some wants to sue you. Its easy to file a suit if the poisoned jar still contains the toxins, as thats the evidence that even the CDC likes to find. No one ever thought that peanuts would have salmonella, but recently a very BIG peanut processing company has filed for bankruptcy due to many people getting poisoned and possibly dying. 'Entities that are used' are set up by the federal government to protect and advise people. We can either stay with these recommendations, or ignore them, as that is your own personal choice. In this forum, most people that participate here feel that they want to can things safely and don't want to risk even a single possibility of food poisoning.

If you do continue to 'preach' your way of doing things risky, you have that right. But keep in mind that about 99% of the people here don't think like you, and may not even bother with following US guidelines for safe canning. But becaue home canning has gone on for many centuries now, there are simply common sense rules we should try to stay with. Its like the need to use a seat belt in a car. Sixty years ago, people died from car accidents as there were no easy ways for people to have protection from accidents unless the car was heavy and was constructed in a way that it woud not injure anyone. Today, faster cars, lighter cars, and seat belts are life savers. Food germs are plentiful and in the past century, many new strains of bacteria have emerged or flourished far beyond normal avoidence and medical control for humans. We as a life form must always be on alert when toxins and diseases are not being controlled or cured by current means. Even insects are now resistent to insecticides and every 10 years or so, it gets more difficult to control bugs. They will probably outlive humans in this planet. For me, a home made pickled egg would be something that remains in the fridge at all times, at a storage temperature of lower than 39 degrees, and not 50 degrees, which botulism and salmonella can thrive in. Hot coffee signs were put up because of the way it is served in paper cups wth flimsy plastic covers. Anyone could easily tip over a cup, while driving. Even for that, driving a car should require both hands on the wheel at all times, and no use of cell phones, coffee cups, or any other distractions should be practiced. Many a time I see idiots not paying attention to their driving or using normal common sense, while yaking on a phone. If they killed someone, who is at fault, the phone, the car? I think not!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 1:51PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Well, everyone is free to do whatever they want. But it's important to know what kind of risk you're taking - whether it's commercial food (I'm wary of olive tapenade) or home-canned. And I'm sorry to say, by all modern food standards, this pickled egg recipe is a risk.

That's not really an opinion. It might be your opinion that the recipe is worth the risk, and my opinion that it's not. But the fact is, science has not found a safe way for home canners to make shelf-stable pickled eggs. Sure, all food we process or eat has some risk, but this is a much bigger one than safety-tested home canning recipes.

As for the NCHFP being sued for not saying to refrigerate, they do publish shelf-stable meat canning recipes, so they're not just saying to refrigerate everything. They really have not found a way for us to safely pickle eggs without refrigeration.

As our resident USDA Master Food Preserver Linda Lou stated above, this recipe would not even be considered safe for refrigeration by the food safety authorities. Of course that's much less of a risk, and I might feel comfortable using a recipe I preferred the taste of, like this one, and refrigerating the eggs to eat within a month, even if that's not a tested recipe. But a risk like shelving them for a year, that is just way too much for me.

"Not enough saline" and "not enough acid" are not just guesses here. Those statements are based on the scientifically tested recipes. We can't say exactly how much salt or vinegar is needed, because canning is not formulaic like that. It's more like advanced engineering applications, where there are so many factors that we have to use experimental methods rather than derivation, when determining the guidelines.

There are lots of risks we take where nobody has gotten hurt for years. But that doesn't mean it's not an inherently larger risk than, say, canned applesauce.

Pickled_eggs, I am 100% respectful of your right to make your own food choices, and I have no mind to convince you to stop canning this recipe. But as a member of this forum community, I also feel a responsibility to make sure others are aware of the risks. Your statement "If you follow the instructions in this recipe, you will be fine" downplays the risk of using this untested recipe, and I feel it's important for people to know that this is your opinion, and that most of us here disagree. And it's also important for visitors to know that your opinion is based only on your experience, while the majority opinion is based on food safety guidelines and scientific testing. Each member and visitor can form their own opinion based on what level of risk they accept. But it MUST be an informed opinion, or we have failed in our responsibility as a forum community.

I wish you and everyone many years of successful home canning and good health.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 2:20PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Well said, Melissa !!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 3:00PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I certainly understand your disagreement but those of us who post on this forum take very seriously our obligation to recommend only verified and proven canning formulas. Properly followed, any "risk" is statistically negligable.

Personal experience, no matter how long, is anecdotal, not proof.

It may well be that over those 80 years one or more people did experience lesser stomach upsets without attributing it to the eggs or anything specific. Who can tell?

I might also add that we aren't the same people as previous generations. Certainly there are indications that we are less hardy. Larger numbers today are medically fragile and susceptible. (They survive but wouldn't have in previous generations.) Consider the growing numbers of children with debilitating allergies and food sensitivies. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

As Melissa said, no one is telling anyone what they can or cannot do. We are only answering the question to the best of our ability based on current research. It is not our obligation to prove the recipe is unsafe, only to point out an inherent risk. Nor is it our obligation to state or verify an acceptable water-to-vinegar ratio (though 50%-50% is the lowest in any currently tested pickle).

Ken's point is well-taken. Many traditional recipes were less risky because originally the vinegar used was much stronger.

I stand by everything I said in my original post, but that doesn't mean anyone reading is obligated to agree.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 3:28PM
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The comments recently posted all have merit and are worthy of consideration by all.

I never heard of this forum until this morning when I received an email from a stranger telling me I should take our recipe down off of our website because it was "unsafe" and the proof they offered me that it was unsafe, was this forum thread.

I thought I'd better come to this forum and read how the recipe is unsafe and I when I got here, and read the comments, I had a hard time figuring out where the proof was. Comments such as:

"I'm sorry, but this is unsafe on so many levels I wouldn't know where to begin.

This recipe is a good example of the multitude of untrustworthy high-risk canning recipes the internet is rife with."

It is trash talk comments like this that make any forum look less than professional. There was no proof, no reasoning, no information to substantiate the comment that the recipe was unsafe.

If a person doesn't have any information to add, or does not know where to begin, then this forum would look better if they did not comment at all.

Some of the recent comments are a little more thought provoking and will force me to do some research. So I appreciate the comments that offered that. Especially the part about vinegar having a higher acidic level decades ago. That's something to consider. Grandmas recipe may have worked better back then. It might be time for an update to the recipe.

As far as risks are concerned, life is a risk. It can be mitigated however and I'm all for that.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

It is true that the old recipes were based on vinegar that was much stronger than our current 5 % acidity. It was often as much as 40% acidity.
That is why we stress to people to use a current, safety tested recipe when canning anything, including pickles and pickled foods of any type.
There are different strains of bacteria nowdays. There is a difference in the acidity of our foods and the mineral content of them, too.
Things are different in our current world than those of our ancestors. Besides, their life span was not as lengthy as our, either, in many cases.
Many did die or get sick from food borne illnesses. I just feel it wise and prudent to protect yourself and your loved ones from any chance of illness or death.
In my years of instructing people, I honestly have never figured out the mentality of taking a risk in food preserving. Why is is so important to people ( in general, no specifice person) to have the need to feel something must be on their shelves and in a jar ? This has always puzzled me and still does to this day.
So what if I don't have homecanned cheese sauce in the pantry, for example ? Is it really that important just to have something on a shelf in a jar ? Especially knowing the risks involved.
All I can do is teach the best way I know how. The information we provide is scientifically tested from the NCFHFP/ USDA.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 6:03PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

You may feel that this is 'trash talk', and if so, you don't have bother coming here. I have no idea where you got the idea that this forum is 'professional'. We are just ordinary people who like to home can things using safe methods. I seriously doubt if you would find much, if any safe recipes for pickled eggs being canned at home. Because most people who read and post here have common sense and at least a basic knowledge of home canning safety. You can be assured that whatever you post contrary to what you read will be negative if you take a postition that causes you to be angry or insulted. Then it may not be a place you want to be in. I do believe that any person here is very well aware of what can be home canned and what can be dangerous, or even slightly risky. You have just stirred the proverbial bees nest. To be blunt and to the point, the canning of eggs at home is risky, no matter how you do this at home. Maybe to be sure, you might want to consider getting in touch with a commercial pickle maker and find out what exact process they use for pickling eggs. I do know that many things in stores are 'shelf stable'. To be in this salable state, powerful things like radiation are used to kill any possible contamination in some foods. Also, many preservatives are added, and most are not available to the home canner, nor do people want to even use such things.

Last summer, there was a person who wanted to make jellies and insisted that plain gelatin made a good jelly. That might be OK for a very short term refrigerator type, but home canning high protien things like gelatin used in jellies is not safe. It would require pressure canning, and even for that, the gelatin would break down and lose its cohesiveness. Thats when pectin, is used as it does not introduce unstable protien to a mix, so pressure canning is unnecesary. I think of gelatin as something that labs use to grow bacteria cultures!!

My canning experience is well over 40 years now, and I have picked up where my parents left off. They used wax on top of jellies, and the old style all glass jars with rubber rings and wire bails. Today, these are history and remain there . I actually pickle a delicate pepper (pepperoncini) that is made with full strength 5% white vinegar and canning/pickling salt only. No water added and no heat applied. To get a vacuum seal. I have made a simple vacuum system that can pull all the air out of the jars and the peppers, and displace the air with a vinegar and salt brine. They remain quite crisp and because they are not something that contains any dense protien, or any other possible contaminate, they keep quite well under vacuum seals. At times, if I need a higher than 5% acidity, I would suppliment the vinegar with citric acid, and that combination can act as a preservative quite well under vacuum. I have even used 20% distilled vinegar, which is very hard to find right now.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Linda Lou, You raise some interesting points. I'm not sure why people feel they need to keep food in jars, but I can explain why I do. I think it is because I grew up with it. Mother was always canning something and we had jars and jars of food in the pantry. It feels good to have food put away before the winter snows come. It might be somewhat of a primal thing. A throw-back in our psychy or something. But we all stick to things that are familiar, even if they are bad for us.

I'm fortunate in that my grandmother is still alive (and still eating home pickled eggs). She is 98 years young. I will have to discuss this with her the next time I visit. I can guess what her answer will be.

I can see some validity in pickled eggs being riskier then say pickled cucumbers. Or canned jam. But I still have not had anyone on this forum really explain why. I really would like to know. I truly would. It seems like canned meat would be worse than canned eggs. Or pickled pigs feet would be worse and I see those in stores also.

Again, someone contacted me, and told me I needed to remove our recipe from our website because it was unsafe. I didn't post our recipe here, or ask for anyones advice. Someone from this forum contacted me and told me to visit this forum. So here I am, trying to ferret through all the hyperbole and opinions and get to anything that resembles a fact or science. Some of the responses are really respectful and have wisdom to them. This is appreciated.

This forum has sited that "The information we provide is scientifically tested from the NCFHFP/ USDA."

OK, then why do they sell unrefrigerated pickled eggs in jars in the grocery stores? I just was at the grocery store an hour ago and I went to the pickle aisle and there were jars and jars of pickled eggs, unrefrigerated. I looked at the jar for an expiration date. There was none. There wasn't even a packaging date. No date of any kind. The ingredients were simple: Eggs, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic, Onion, Spices.

Is it possible this is a regional thing?

Someone mentioned earlier, that they have only seen pickled eggs in the refrigerated section of their stores. What state is that in? Here in Minnesota, they are unrefrigerated in the dry goods area.

This is an interesting topic and I'd like to keep it that way and perhaps we can figure something out. If you are not interested in figuring it out, please refrain from commenting. I'm not interested in peoples opinions, I'm interested in facts. I truly would like to learn what the problem is and see if I can correct it. I love pickled eggs and will continue to can them and if possible, I'd like to mitigate any risk to it's lowest possible level.

Nobody can say it is unsafe without sound facts as to why it is unsafe. No more than I can say it is safe just because we've been doing it for decades and no-one has ever had a problem eating the eggs.

If pickled eggs are deemed unsafe by the USDA, How is it that I can go to the local tavern and order 2 pickled eggs with a beer and watch the bartender grab the gallon jar off of the shelf, open it up and with a pair of tongs, grab a couple of eggs for me. The jar is opened and sitting on the bar for days if not weeks at a time. If this is unsafe, why is it allowed by the USDA?

There is a disconnect here somewhere. Like I say, it could be a regional thing. Up here, pickled eggs are everywhere and we love them. It's starting to sound like rival sporting teams fighting in this forum. And that is not my intent. I mean no disrespect to people who think pickling eggs is unsafe. I just want to know why it is unsafe and why I can buy them at the grocery store. And I don't believe, but I could be wrong, that a pickled egg manufacturer is doing anything so high tech that I can't replicate their process at home.

Seriously, this is a puzzle. If someone can offer some calm, scientifically sound information, I'm very interested in hearing about it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:28PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Linda Lou, is there an entity where one can submit a recipe for a safety evaluation? I remember sending one in for enchilada sauce and receiving a response (which was no, contained small amount of cream)but it's been so many years ago I don't remember where...

Pickled eggs - I can understand your defensive stance from the way you may have been approached about the safety of your recipe, but now that you've had time to think about it, aren't you at least a little concerned that you may have unsafe instructions on a public site that could in any way put someone at risk? I would think you'd be looking into it yourself at this point, gathering information from an authority you trust if you don't trust our 'resident' certified Master Food Preserver.

I've used the old recipes for canning too - until learning better. I miss my unprocessed dill pickles, but they didn't have the approved acidity and changing the recipe to fit current standards unfortunately changed the taste and crispness. They had a great history that I enjoyed sharing along with the pickles but I no longer make them.

I'm not sure I've even admitted this here but for many years I made a combination (pressure canned) green bean product that was passed down from a friends beans, browned bacon, onion, tomato to taste, no given amounts of any ingredient - processed as for green beans only. EVERYBODY loved those beans and I made cases of them to share with family and friends. I didn't ever make anyone sick either but after considering how unsafe they could potentially be to someone, somewhere...those became a memory too.

The light bulb moment came when I had my first home computer and began reading here - where I've learned so much.

My neighbor has been helpful with my canning too (no one in my family canned) and she isn't many years younger than your grandmother. She can tell me stories of how many hours she was made to stand stoking a fire under an outdoor copper kettle processing crab, clams...She would never insist that was fine today, she is in wonder that no one died. All of her current processing fit today's guidelines without exception, she does not consider herself to old to learn.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 8:47PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

"I'm sorry, but this is unsafe on so many levels I wouldn't know where to begin.

This recipe is a good example of the multitude of untrustworthy high-risk canning recipes the internet is rife with."

Those are Carol's comments, and she fleshed them out on her next post (two down from that one). It's not trash talk - there really are many things wrong with the recipe. But we can summarize what's wrong with it, if you like, pickled_eggs.

1. For canning low-acid items such as meat and vegetables, you should really always use a tested recipe, because there are too many variables - canning is not formulaic. (With fruit, which is high-acid, you can take a lot more liberties, such as making up your own jam recipe. This is because a pH below a certain level, i.e. above a certain acidity, inhibits the growth of botulism, so the main concern would be mold which is easily killed in a boiling water bath and is apparent upon opening the jar.)

2. Eggs are never approved for home canning. Ditto dairy and flour/pasta. An untested pickled green bean recipe would be safer than an untested pickled egg recipe because greens beans are safely cannable.

3. The recipe uses a lower percentage of vinegar than the tested recipes for refrigerated pickled eggs. If it's not enough acid to preserve it at 35F, heaven help you at 50°F.

4. The recipe does not state to simmer the lids for 10 minutes (so the author is apparently unaware of this requirement for safe canning, which helps ensure a good seal).

5. The recipe states to dry the jars and set them on the table, rather than keeping them hot by either placing them in hot water or filling them with hot water (so the author is apparently unaware that this is a recommended practice to reduce jar breakage due to thermal shock - not a food safety issue per se, but doesn't increase confidence in the recipe author).

6. The processing time of 15 minutes would never be long enough to heat the eggs through, which would be required for a safe product (assuming eggs could be canned).

7. The recipe states to replace the jar rings after cleaning underneath (so the author is unaware that this is not recommended due to rust, again showing that the author is not up on modern practice).

8. "Eggs should keep in this state for one year." This statement is phrased sort of like a guess, which again makes me think that the recipe is passed along from the old days, not from a tested source. I have no problem accepting someone's grandma's jam recipe, but for a product that's not even supposed to be canned, guessing is just scary.

That's about all the reasons I see in your specific recipe, but there are more reasons not to can pickled eggs:

9. Eggs are too dense for us to be confident they're heated through. Also, we couldn't be confident the acid got all the way through the dense egg soon enough to prevent growth of harmful microbes.

10. We would expect a recipe like this to require pressure canning because of the low-acid ingredients (but as Carol said the eggs might be unrecognizable afterward).

11. ?
Everyone feel free to add more reasons if you have any.

Really, pickled_eggs, it's not trash talk. My eyes widened when I first read your recipe here and thought about how somebody new to canning might find it on your site and give their whole family botulism. People die from botulism, even otherwise healthy people.

Commercial canners have equipment and preservatives that are just not available to home canners. That's why shelf-stable pickled eggs are sold in grocery stores. But even still, the products we can't can at home are often the ones that cause food poisoning outbreaks in commercial versions (olive tapenade, artichokes in oil, garlic in oil). Anyway, you asked what their high tech processes are...we have a former food processor on here who can maybe help us out! Can't remember who said that was their old job on the "real jobs" thread. But I would guess the technology includes higher combinations of heat/pressure and chemical preservatives. And most importantly, process controls that ensure a consistent product; for example, maybe they extract steam of a particular quality (technical term for % liquid/vapor in a saturated mixture) and use that for heating, whereas you're using a stove that has to heat up and cool down.

As for leaving an open jar of pickled eggs on the counter, I bet a bar would be cited for that. Hopefully they just go through the jar fast enough that nobody gets sick. The USDA doesn't regulate bars and restaurants, just the commercial production side.

I feel the need to say it again - most of what's been stated here really is facts. This is our hobby and many of us choose to learn the science involved so we can make informed decisions about the risk of tweaking our favorite recipes. I don't think any of the serious canners on here would feel at all safe with your recipe. Sorry.

One last thing...related to something I see in several of my interests. When something is part of our everyday lives, we're reluctant to accept that some people are educated experts in it and others have only experiential knowledge. For example, I'm a power engineer. Most random people off the street would trust my opinion of whether their idea for an electrical design is safe, more than they'd trust their own. But I have another degree, in linguistics. In that field, since we all speak a language, a lot of times people don't believe that linguists have specialized knowledge, so people will make up statistics about whether men or women say more words per day, and refuse to accept that people actually do science on this topic for a living. Also, I'm a hobby dog trainer. Many dog owners believe that dogs can learn a behavior by watching another dog do it. Most dog trainers and animal behavior researchers believe that dogs cannot learn a behavior by watching another dog (there is a reason it looks like they can, called socially facilitated learning, but this is not the same thing as "aping").

So with canning, lots of folks have been doing it for years, and learned from past generations. Many of these canners are reluctant to believe that food science knows better than they do. But if you want to take a scientific approach, as we do on this forum, many of the old time recipes are just not tested to be safe. That's why there's no approved recipe for pickled eggs - they just can't find a reliable way to do it, to reduce the risk to a level where they feel comfortable publishing it. It's not a liability thing, it's a responsibility/stewardship thing. The food safety testing services are public agencies, and we trust them to tell us only recipes that are very low risk. Beyond that, we make our own decisions based on things like product density, consistency (basically convection coefficient), and acidity.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 8:49PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Well, I started this. Sorry, harvest forum, I really thought I was helping (and, who knows, maybe I am).

I saw where this recipe came from and, when I saw the pictures of pickled_eggs' absolutely adorable children, I decided to email him and let him know that this recipe is no longer considered safe. I did not say he *needed* to remove the recipe, I said "I would suggest removing the recipe from your website. "...because it is the first recipe that appears in google and that people seeing it may not know that it is not considered safe (according to USDA guidelines on canning). I then invited him to come to Gardenweb to learn about current safe canning practices and why the recipe is no longer considered safe.

And, here we are :).

Pickled eggs are not unsafe. Home canning of pickled eggs is considered unsafe. The pickled eggs found in the grocery store may contain a vinegar that is a much higher strength than what is used at home and be processed in a manner that can not be duplicated at home with a non-pressure canned method.

And that's the end of my advice. I'm going back to planting my tomato seeds so I can make tons more of Annie's salsa next summer.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 9:08PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

One more thing, sorry. This is a botulism case from home-pickled eggs. The eggs in this case were not heat-processed, but note that the pH of the brine was 3.5, which is low enough to prevent the growth of botulism. The botulinum toxin apparently developed in the yolk.

Given that pickled_eggs's recipe doesn't process the eggs very long, the recipe's combination of temperature, time, acid isn't likely to destroy botulism spores or inhibit the growth of botulism bacteria.

Further, for any product where botulism is a concern (that is, any low-acid product), the only recipes that are low-risk are those that have been tested by a food safety lab and published as approved recipes.


P.S. Bellatrix, I think you did the right thing spreading the word about the recipe's safety concerns. Even the wikipedia entry for pickled eggs states that they can be stored at room temperature after pickling - is anybody an editor?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 11:50PM
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I appreciate everyones time and effort who offered calm, constructive points that are based in science and logic rather than emotion.

Bellatrix, it was very kind of you to contact us. I appreciate it. I had forgotten that recipe was even on our site. There are no links to it, never has been, it was intended to be a 'hidden' page. I was unaware the search engines found it.

Some of the points above and some research on my own have convinced me that there is a potential risk in the pickled egg recipe. And one that can be mitigated further.

We searched last night for cases of botulism and pickled eggs and came up with the same find that Melissa did (in her link above). It was the only case of botulism we could find. This incident happened 12 years ago. The Man did not boil his brine and he poked toothpick holes into the eggs to help the flavor (and botulism) get inside. He then kept the jars in an area that was exposed to direct sunlight. And that is the only case that we could find. If there are more, I'd like to hear about it.

It is clear to me, that there is more of a potential danger in pickled eggs than I previously thought. On the other hand, I don't believe it is as dangerous as many here would like people to believe.

As a potentially credible source, I site the
Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management (HITM) Which is a consulting, education and retail research company that promotes correct and operationally effective food science safety and quality knowledge and application. The company accomplishes this by using its AMC-HACCP program based on FDA and USDA regulations and HACCP science. found at

At this site, they offer the following pickled egg recipe which claims the eggs can be stored unrefrigerated for 6 months in a basement:

This recipe is more robust than ours and follows many of the safety precautions all of you have pointed out.

With the following points:

* There has only been 1 case of pickled egg botulism found 12 years ago using a very bad recipe.
* We have pickled over 500 jars, 6000 eggs with no problems using a recipe that agreeably should be upgraded with more safety features.
* The HITM offers a recipe for home pickled eggs, who is a credible source for a safe recipe.

A potentially unfavorable conclusion could be drawn to suggest that it is possible to safely home can pickled eggs for basement storage if proper precautions are followed and a proper recipe is used like the one at the HITM website.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:35AM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Just a couple of points for other visitors then.

1. That recipe uses the ingredients from the 3rd edition of So Easy to Preserve which is published by NCHFP, but (a) the book is in its 5th edition which supersedes the previous versions and (b) the NCHFP site specifically says that pickled eggs must be refrigerated. So that recipe is given on the authority of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management, which is not a food safety organization (and no offense to them, but according to the NBC 12 Restaurant Report, my kitchen is a lot safer than many of the restaurants and hotels in my city).

2. That recipe states that the key is preventing any contact of the inside of the egg with the outside environment. Given the propensity of eggs to crack or split during peeling, and the way they go right back together hiding the crack, I think you could easily contaminate the inside without knowing.

Anyway, pickled_eggs, I agree that this recipe looks safer than yours because of its 100% vinegar brine (and sugar, being hygroscopic, actually improves the effective acidity by binding some of the water in the vinegar).

But a recipe like this is best consumed by consenting adults. I wouldn't judge you for eating it yourself - I eat foods with undercooked eggs, like homemade caesar dressing or carbonara sauce. But I never serve these foods at parties and I don't serve them to children, the elderly, or pregnant women. If I am serving them to friends for dinner, I ask the friends ahead of time whether they feel comfortable with the recipe. Am I a total square? Yes. But I'm an ethical square.

I think it would be inconsiderate to set a plate of your pickled eggs out at a picnic.

One last word about the risks. I eat foods with a risk of salmonella or listeria, because I wouldn't be too upset if I got those kinds of food poisoning. Botulism is undetectable in the product (not by taste, smell, or sight). The toxin is a paralytic, so victims can be fully conscious but fully paralyzed for weeks or longer. Mechanical ventilation is required in these cases. And the medical care would cost a lot more than a $100 dorm fridge (+ maybe $50/year to run it) that could be kept in the basement with all the eggs inside.


P.S. Unless you have a flock of chickens as some of us do, odds are you don't *need* to preserve the eggs all at once (the way we might need to preserve a tomato harvest). You could also make the brine and can it with no eggs, just vinegar, sugar, and spices (check the books but I would think 10 or 15 minutes in a boiling water bath, with proper procedures to include boiling brine placed into hot jars, lids simmered 10 minutes, etc.). The jars would be full (to the proper headspace), you could open a jar, pour half the brine into another sterilized jar, and fill both with boiled eggs (which are really easy if you use the 17-minute turn-off-the-heat method). Just throwing out ideas here.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 2:45PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Pickled eggs on regular store shelves.. Vinegar, water, spices, etc.. Most commercial canning companies that make pickles use a stronger vinegar that is rated at 20%. Yes, water is added, to dilute it slightly, but with 20% vinegar, watered down to even 10% it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to pickling a safe egg. Eggs do expire wihout refrigeration. Locally, eggs are sold at BJ's with laser etched expiration dates printed on each shell.
Tomatoes, even when highly acidic, are also supplimented with added citric acid. Nearly every commercial brand of canned tomatoes adds citric, and some even add a texture preserver calcium chloride for whole tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 2:54PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I do think the commercial industry uses vinegar that is more acidic than our 5 % acidity. Also, they have different machinery to process and seal the jars. It is not just a boiling water bath canner. They have special equipment that we do not have nor could afford to own.
Everyone is trying to compare commercial ingredients and commercial processing to our home equipment and ingredients.
The two are not the same things.
As for that restaurant leaving them out at room temp. I would say that is possibly not up to code. Here they have to keep things cold like that. Each state has food inspectors and even different scoring methods.It could just be how things are done in your state, I wouldn't know for sure.
The ph of eggs is not the same as the ph of say, green beans.
Eggs, new-laid, whole 6.58
White 7.96
Yolk 6.10
Green beans
5.8 ( approx.)
When you look at ph level, remember that a 5.0 and a 6.0 is TEN times different. That is a HUGE amount. So, even a little change in number will be a big difference in ph level.
Also, some foods will absorb more acid than others when being pickled. This is a reason that a few vegetables are safe to add oil to them and most are not. Some vegetables will not absorb as much acid. That is how I have been taught.
If you want to ask a question about a recipe, you can submit a question to Elizabeth Andress at NCFHFP. She is the lady who wrote the USDA canning guidelines.
Also, there are some universities that will test your recipe, but for a fee. It would be a matter of you personally searching out such a facility that would be willing to test for you. I know for a fact that funding is being cut big time. (Here we are facing between 49% and 75 % cut in funding !That is for the extension programs like what I do, 4H, Master Gardeners.)
If you will check the current and updated So Easy to Preserve, not that older version where the canning recipe came from, you will find it will say to refrigerate ONLY. This is why we stress use a CURRENT copy of information.
Many times recipes and methods are updated when more current testing of those recipes and foods are tested in the labs. Same for older recipes that even contained flour, things like that.
I do feel that this pickled egg recipe that has been passed down was based on very high acidic vinegar.
I personally do not preserve anything that is not current and up to date. Knowing there is a risk, even if it is a small risk, I would never eat that or feed to my family. Just not that important to me to just feel I have to keep something in a jar on the shelf. I have hundreds of safe food canned for my family.
Another thing, a meat that is canned in a pressure canner for 90 min. is something I would feel much more confident eating than an egg in a boiling water bath for 10 or 15 min. They are both high ph foods. Even with adding vinegar to the eggs, I am not confident they would absorb enough acid to prevent botulism.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 4:55PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I just relooked at the recipe. Goodness, that is not even half vinegar to water ratio. Even a pickle recipe would require at least half vinegar to water ratio. That is a very tiny amount of added acid to any thing.
Any pickled food would need at least half vinegar and half water. Many foods require even more than that proportion. Some require straight vinegar.
Then, in the recipe, you are adding onion, garlic, and jalapenos. More low acid things.
Please, reconsider making this and storing it and removing this recipe from the site. It is very dangerous. You can contact Elizabeth Andress if you want another opinion, but I can assure you she will tell you the same response.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 5:02PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Earlier today I emailed Elizabeth Andress to confirm that the 5th edition of So Easy to Preserve doesn't include the recipe linked to on the HITM site. I will report back when I hear, but the NCHFP site does say to refrigerate.

I think the HITM site actually took just the ingredient list from So Easy to Preserve, not the procedure. They use the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) method of food safety, which is the opposite philosophy to canning practices. HACCP uses theoretical info on what factors are important to safety, then it seeks to establish safe limits for each factor. But if this method were widely accepted as applicable to canning, we could write formulas for developing safe recipes. Instead, modern canning practice is based on the "produce and test" method on a recipe-by-recipe basis - the opposite of HACCP.

We actually use a form of HACCP on this forum, for example when Dave and I (lovingly) butt heads over how much we can increase the garlic in a recipe because it has higher oil content than onions, or when we say you can safely swap out certain low-acid ingredients as long as you don't increase the total amount.

As I stated above, I do not believe the permeability of the egg to the outside environment can be safely controlled, therefore the HACCP-determined process cannot be reliably kept within the safety guidelines.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 5:57PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

As I, and now LInda Lou have mentioned already, vinegar that grandma used was not the weak 5% we are forced to use today. Back then, it was 7% normally, and some for pickling was at 20%. The vinegar strength is NOT the same as it used to be, unless you can get some of the 20% that commercial picklers use.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 7:08PM
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Greetings all,

Good work Melissa for pointing out that the HITM link is showing the proper procedure for pickling eggs. They did not get this procedure from "So Easy to Preserve", they only borrowed the ingredients as an example. Dr. Snyder is responsible for the procedure. And you also make a great point about buying a fridge for $100 as opposed to storing in the basement. That is a rational solution.

I realize the folks at this forum are adamantly opposed to pickled egg recipes which claim unrefrigerated storage. Repeating the same opinion or point over and over again, doesn't add to the discussion or change world view.

Where we are at now, is this:

Tens of thousands of people out there are pickling eggs and storing them in their basement. And they are not going to stop. How best can we help them be safer? That is where this discussion should be going. We should not type on this forum when we have venom at our fingertips and rage in our hearts. We should read carefully what each other has written, and re-read it. Wait and think before responding.

Many of the arguments stated above would not have been typed if each person would have followed that advice. If a person did care to re-read this thread, carefully, one would discover that most of the points made, were based on miss reading. As an example, Melissa brilliantly pointed out that Dr. Snyder only borrowed the ingredients, not the procedure. But many missed that in their haste and responded oddly. But I can also say that Melissa missed many points in the recipe pasted above. (one example is that it does discuss boiling the lids). That's OK. my point is, many things are missed and this forum gets out of control when people respond hastily and with "forum rage". It is kind of like "Road Rage", only on a forum.

So please, everyone, let's calm down and attempt to create a solution.

It sounds like there are some very intelligent individuals at this forum who could help create a pickled egg recipe that is the safest it could possibly be for those who insist upon pickling eggs.

I am one of those individuals. (Please do not comment on this or resort to telling me I'm evil... I'm just being honest) I love pickled eggs. We have 30 to 50 laying hens at any given time and we produce more eggs then we know what to do with. I enjoy it. And I love eggs prepared in many different ways. So we pickle about 50 jars a year and have done so for many years. So far, we have escaped a tragic illness.

Help me create the safest recipe possible. And here is why:

If you google the words: "Canning Pickled Eggs", my recipe pops up first in the results.

I could remove that recipe and then no-one would find it. That is one solution.

But if I did that, people will google and find another recipe that may also not be safe and they will use it. The point is, we have an opportunity here.

So instead, since we have the number 1 position in google, let's at least change that recipe so it is as safe as possible. Then, people will find that recipe and procedure first and perhaps use it instead of a recipe which has a higher chance of causing someone to get sick.

Let's take advantage of having the #1 position at Google.

So I am calling out to the intelligent people at this forum to contact me and help me write that recipe better. Not just for my sake, but the untold number of people who are finding that recipe on the web.

I have performed some very quick editing to that recipe. Please review it and email me comments. But please don't just email me what's wrong with it. Email me positive changes to it to make it better.

If you feel that contributing to this project would somehow diminish your belief system, then please do not email or comment.

If someone wishes to take a stab at re-writing it completely, that would be great.

My email address is at the bottom of the recipe found at the link provided below. Please contact me if you would like to constructively contribute.

Aside from writing the recipe to be safer, I am curious to know if anyone has any thoughts of how the addition of sugar will affect the flavor of the recipe. I put together a jar of 12 eggs yesterday, following the 1 quart recipe. But it will be 2 to 3 weeks before I can do a taste test.

I welcome all who wish to offer their constructive input.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:59PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Tens of thousands pickling eggs, I don't think thats true for todays lower 5% vinegar. Do you have any proof? You tell us not to repeat, yet you repeat over and over yourself. All I can say is your dealing with a loaded gun. Its just plain black and white here. You are the single person here who insists that picking eggs at home is very safe, while we here are all against that idea.

The SAFE solution:

Find some 20% distilled vinegar and start using that diluted to no less than 10%. It MUST be food grade vinegar! That way, eggs will have any toxins they could carry be killed off. Storage in cold is also important, but as you say, pickled eggs are in supermarkets. I never see them here in easern MA however. Adding a bit of sugar will 'tame down' the higher acid, and will not chemically change the acidity or safety.

Reminder: up until about 30 years ago, you could actally buy 7% vinegar in supermarkets, but not anymore. I spent a year searching for 20% vinegar suppliers. Unless I am willing to buy a 55 gallon drum of it from Heinz, I have not been successful at finding any other source for smaller quantities. One source Marshall Grain in Texas sells a 20%, thats distilled by a Creole maker in LA, but it states on the bottles to be used as an all natural weed killer, and not suitable for pickling or home canning.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 3:51PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I should probably stay out of this as I don't make pickled eggs and don't even like them. But I can say that (1) they can't be canned safely, they can only be made to be kept in the refrigerator. So if that part has no appeal then the rest of my suggestions are meaningless and feel free to ignore them. ;)

But I did check 10 or 12 other recipes for them that are on the web and none of them claim they can be canned either and all say fridge storing only.

(2) you'd have to reduce the amount in the recipe, say no more than 3 dozen eggs at a time due to limited storage time,

(3) increase the vinegar substantially so that you have at least a 70/30 vinegar to water ratio,

(4) OR leave out the other low-acid onions, garlic, and jalapenos as a 50/50 isn't safe with all those low-acid ingredients,

(5) and they would have to be hot packed with boiled lids and bands and sterilized jars (just as for canning jelly),

(6) then say a 10 mins. processing just to get a seal and store only in the fridge.

Oh, and I think the sugar would be a good idea too as I note most other recipes for them include some. Just some ideas to consider.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 4:22PM
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Thanks for the input. Your solution is a very safe solution and I would instantly use that in the recipe if it was obtainable. I discovered the same thing you did when searching for vinegar with a higher acidic value. Weed control.

I thought my guess at how many people pickle eggs was conservative. If you Google "Pickled Eggs", it returns 403,000 results. It is very popular. But you are right, my figure was only a guess.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 4:23PM
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Thanks for your input Dave.

If you visit the new revised recipe, I changed it to 100% vinegar, no water.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 4:28PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The 100% vinegar is only actually 5%, the rest is still water. Simply not adding water will still give you just the starndard 5%. Even though you are using the vinegar straight from the bottle, it still has only 5%. That acidic level is barely high enough for safe pickling of cucumbers. 403,000 search results and many are duplicated. That still doesn't prove that tens of thousands are making these using the same vinegar strength as 5%. You might want to try and do a search for 20% distilled vinegar. Maybe now, its different, but 3 years ago, I was ending up with dead ends in my searches.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 4:53PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Of course, I can never advise anyone to can pickled eggs.
However, one note, I would not seal them if you are going to store them in the fridge. That would only allow botulism to grow faster. It grows in the absence of air, as in a sealed jar. It would be safer to do the USDA method of making them, and storing in the fridge for a few months, instead of sealing them if you plan to refrigerate.
Sugar is suggested in other safe pickled foods as a way to cut down on the tart taste of the vinegar. So, perhaps that would help the flavor.
I found the recipe for pineapple pickled eggs to be different and interesting. I have not tried it, but it does seem quite different.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 4:58PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The 100% vinegar is still only actually 5%, the rest of the bottled vinegar is still water. Simply not adding water will still give you just the standard 5%. Even though you are using the vinegar straight from the bottle, it still has only 5%. That acidic level with a 70/30 vinegar water is just high enough for safe pickling of cucumbers. 403,000 search results and many are duplicated. That still doesn't prove that tens of thousands are making these using the same vinegar strength as 5%. You might want to try and do a search for 20% distilled vinegar. Maybe now, its different, but 3 years ago, I was ending up with dead ends in my searches. My pickled pepperoncini are canned in full strength 5% vinegar and pickling salt, but get no heat processing, as even a little heat will turn them to mush. No sugar added, and the amount of salt with vinegar and no water added, actually lends a sweetness to the brine. I have given people my jars of pickled peppers and they all say sugar is in there. I don't even have sugar in my house as I am diabetic!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Update on Commercially produced pickled eggs.

I called the manufacturer of the pickled eggs I find in our local grocery store. These pickled eggs are on the shelf (non-refrigerated) section of the store.

Here is what they told me:

They have a packaged date on the label and say they should be consumed within 12 months of that package date. The person I spoke with said they will easily be fine for much longer than that, but the FDA stipulates a 1 year shelf life for added safety.

I asked about the Vinegar used in their recipe and they said they use standard 5% vinegar, and they actually add water to conserve. They said they simply regulate each batch by monitoring the PH to ensure the correct level and this is easily accomplished with standard 5% vinegar.

They use standard hot pack, hot brine canning methods. No high-tech equipment that cannot be replicated in the home.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 10:40AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Odd, its not very cost effective to use 5% vinegar. Most pickle companies use the 20%. Even mustard makers use the 20%. 5% with added water is not as easy to regulate as a 20%. pH is tested in eiher case, and must be held to a specific level below 4.5.
I kind of wonder if the pickled eggs maker has ever been sued..? One thing I do notice is the heavy use of UV light in canning factories. The UV is injurious to peoples eyes, but can easily kill most all airborne bacteria and most in a solution. I just got a coupon booklet from BJ's and it shows a small UV source (pen shaped) to be used as a germ killer in the home. Odd, BJ's server is down right now, so I can't get any further info.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:41AM
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I just looked up PH values and discovered that Standard Vinegar of 5% Acidity has a PH of around 2.4

Adding spices and other ingredients may raise that value slightly, but they most likely could add water and still be well below the 4.5 safe level.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 12:11PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

It might be also that the pickling process just partially cooks the eggs (soft center), then they get peeled and cooked to completion in a vinegar brine. Technically there is little actual difference of a vinegar between a pH of 4.5 and 2.5, and a 70/30 brine could make that change drastically. I didn't type in the correct pH originally as I meant to say it was at 2.5 as you indicated. Citric acid, is even lower than that, as lemon juice comes in at 2.2 pH. If hard water is used, it too can raise pH higher, as it also nutralizes vinegar.

Give me glacial acetic acid!! It actually freezes at 62 degrees F. Sorry, NOT for foods I used to work at a place here several glass bottles of acetic acid bursted in an unheated freight elevator. Its smell made us leave the building for a while. Spices don't usually affect pH very much.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:
The acetic acid concentration typically ranges from 4 to 8 percent by volume for table vinegar[1] (typically 5%) and higher concentrations for pickling (up to 18%). The pH of vinegar depends upon how much acid is present, but most commercial distilled white vinegars contain 5% acetic acid and have a pH of about 2.4.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:45PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I certainly don't see how they can presume to know better than the USDA since the pickled eggs have been tested....
Do what you want, but I will never recommend anything other than what is USDA tested when it comes to home preserving.
Sure the ph of vinegar may be that, but what about once the eggs are added ?
I know when USDA/university extensions test recipes they test at the time of preservation. Then they test later on after the foods sit.
Did you know that foods can and will often change ph levels as they sit ?
Why don't you email Elizabeth Andress at NCFHFP and get her expert opinion. She is the one who wrote the USDA home food preservation guides. She often will shed additional light on a subject when I email her.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:52PM
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Then there is the Chinese who bury eggs underground for 100 years. They turn black and smell ugh! Never wanted to try them either!

This is obviously not true. They do not bury eggs for 100 years.

first important to storage is Ph. to get a low ph below 4. you can try 100% pure vinegar with NO WATER. It will be more sour but more safe. Usual recipes never use more than 50 50 water to vinegar. I always use 100% vinegar. never any less. Never any water added. Especially when other items are added like spices etc. You must drive down every molecule to low ph. not easy to do. Also fat does not store well. Fat is very dangerous. The egg yellow is pure fat. Very dangerous to even us a tiny amount of added oil like olive oil to a can. You are now told to use NO FAT at all in preserving. NO FAT is allowed.

Why not boil the eggs fresh each time. You can freeze eggs somewhat. I think they break them open and mix them up and then freeze them but it has been many years since I read that. Go check it out before trying it.

Hot peppers like jalapeno are pickled with 100% vinegar.

Below they say the eggs is ph of 9 which is high if you need to drop it to below 4. The chinese method described below raises it to above 12 to cause changes.

I am sure it is very very dangerous to play with egg preserving. Only a scientific researcher should do the experimentation. With ability to test for poisons and bad germs etc.

Just my opinion. Too risky for me.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 10:30PM
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Salt does not preserve. Especially at these levels. What salt does is suck water or moisture out of veggies so the moisture can ferment like wine. The fermentation goes negative PH and that preserves. But only certain things will ferment well. for example garlic will not fermet. hot peppers ferment well. cucumbers ferment very well as does salted cabbage.

Ph preserves. Low ph below 4 is needed. salt does not preserve.

However, alcohol preserves even better than vinegar. You might put some eggs into high octane alcohol like a pure burbon or vodka. The problem is that alcohol is very expensive compared to vinegar.

The gentleman who claims it is his recipe is interesting. It still would be much better to increase the vinegar and cut back on the water. The lower and the faster you can drive down the ph the better.

botulism can grow at higher ph and it can grow in fat in the absence of air or oxygen. The central egg yoke is probably a perfect spot for botulism except as stated above it must never get infected by the air.

If you insist on going ahead. The water used is important. For example using very soft distilled water is going to be much better than a very hard water. Hard water might be dangerous especially with lots of water and less vinegar.

Safer would be to use 100% vinegar with no water. if it comes too strong then set the egg into water or fruit juice or something to leach out the vinegar before eating. baking soda which makes hard water is ph 8.4 and will raise a real low egg if too strong for you to eat. But remember vinegar is very healthy for you. I like the taste of vinegar.

the guy who makes these might have soft water and another person with hard water might have serious trouble. I think he is not being responsible by pushing his recipe without scientific knowledge that it is safe for everyone. What if you or your kid dies from the recipe what is he going to do. say well that is the first time anyone died from the recipe. give me a break.

Learn all you can about preserving using vinegar before you make a decision. This is not a place for fooling around.

my advice is to not bother. too dangerous. Pickle with cucumbers first. then do cabbage then try kim chee and other things like hot sauce etc. only after years of working with safe items and doing many runs you can consider eggs. I will bet you will skip over them if you get well educated.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:04PM
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You raise some good points Linda Lou. And it got me thinking. So I tested the brine solution in my jar of pickled egg. This is a jar of brine, with eggs in it and has been soaking for 3 days. The PH was under 3.0

However, I will admit I do not have a sophisticated PH tester. Just a dropper liquid test with a color chart. So I admit it could be in error. I suppose I could get a digital PH tester and do a better test.

I also agree that it would be not wise to do something that the USDA has deemed "unsafe". What I discovered, is that the only statement the USDA makes, is (quoted)

"Studies done at the American Egg Board substantiate that unopened containers of commercially pickled eggs keep for several months on the shelf. After opening, keep refrigerated and use within 7 days. Home-prepared pickled eggs must be kept refrigerated and used within 7 days. Home canning of pickled eggs is not recommended."

So the USDA does not deem it "unsafe", they just don't recommend it.

After re-reading the NCFHFP statement, they too never say that home canned pickled eggs is "unsafe". They only make the following statement: "There are no home canning directions for pickled eggs." But nowhere do they say it is unsafe.

I'm a curious sort of fellow and so I ask myself: "What is the reason the USDA doesn't recommend it?" I don't know. they do not say why.

The NCFHFP doesn't say why either. What they do is site a case back in 1997 where one person got botulism from eating a hard boiled egg that was poked full of holes with a tooth pick and then put in a jar and covered with vinegar and set in the sun for a week. (that method can't be considered a home canned pickled egg)

That is what this is all about for me. "Why?" Why don't they recommend it? They never say it is unsafe, they just tell people not to do it. Why?

On average, there are only 23 cases of botulism per year in the USA. None of which are caused by pickled eggs. But most are caused by people who do a bad job of home canning.

That is a pretty low number. 23 cases of botulism out of 450 million people in the USA. None are caused by home canned pickled eggs (except for the one in 1997 stated above).

So I'm just curious why so many people think it is unsafe. I'm just trying to get to the bottom of it.

I don't know the answer yet, but this forum sure has cast a lot of light onto the subject and slowly but surely we are getting to the bottom of it.

Oh, and by the way, Thanks to all of you who have emailed me with suggestions, data and information that have helped support the theory that home canned pickled eggs are safe when proper procedures are followed.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:22PM
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ksrogers - had to chuckle about your Chinese egg buried for a 100 yrs comment :-) The Chinese process eggs in a alkaline clay, ash, lime & salt, tea mixture for a few weeks to a couple of months (essentially a brine)......and they call them 100 year or century eggs. It's not a literal thing.

When I traveled in China they were sold on every street corner as a snack. They weren't appetizing to me (they had an off-putting color/consistency), but people there sure loved them. I'd imagine similarly to those liking pickled eggs here.

And I'm not even going to venture a guess if century eggs are safe or not :-)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Some of my concern is that you are taking the advice from people who have no training in food preservation safety..... Do these people have any expertise on which you can base your trust upon ? You are taking their word for the safety of these eggs.
(Yes, I am trained in that area. I teach food preservation safety at my local county extension office. No, I do not have a PhD, like Elizabeth Andress does. I would never claim to have her expertise.)
This is why I suggest you email Elizabeth Andress.
Get some professional advice from someone like her with a PhD in the field. Not just folks who can at home.
She is a very well known, leading authority in this field. She is more than willing to answer questions via email.
We do not ever suggest people test their own foods at home.
This is not something I do, either.
You said you tested the brine, but in my mind,that doesn't tell me the ph level of the eggs is the same as that of the brine.
Pickled eggs, I do appreciate you are willing to discuss this.

Ken, I thought maybe they were called that because they look 100 years old, or maybe smell like it, ha ha.
My friend is Filipino and she told me about those eggs a long time ago. I know what they call them, but not how to spell it off the top of my head.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:28AM
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Hi Linda Lou,

You are right that expert advice would be best. I am waiting to contact a known authority until more time has gone by and we have fine-tuned the recipe and procedure. Some of the advice I have been getting is from credible sources, but they did not wish to engage on the forum.

Please read the new and improved recipe.

Based on Dr. Snyders report at HITM, you do not need to worry about the PH of the eggs, as long as there are no nicks or cuts in the egg that reach down to the yolk. The yolk of the egg has a PH around 6.8 - But as long as it is not exposed, the egg cannot be penetrated by botulism. (according to Dr. Snyder)

Research is a process and every email and forum post brings truth closer.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 7:59AM
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We have to do tests at home before asking an expert to perform the test. Otherwise we will be wasting the experts time finding silly mistakes we should have caught ourselves.

Everyone please continue to email me your advice, thoughts and links to relevant information. It is much appreciated.

Again, my email address is at the bottom of this page:

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 10:35AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

All the points you mentioned have already been stated by me and others in previous posts and in other threads.

The use of an accurate pH meter is best. Not only temperature, but test solutions and buffers are required, as well as regular maintenance of the probes that need to be replaced. In the past, I have always stated that the USDA are RECOMMENDATIONS and are used as safe guidelines only. Only meant for those who have minimal canning experince, or may have some long time tested methods that are very consistant and safe for long term storage. Because eggs can be a bit big in mass to deal with in pickling, suggest that only fresh, organically raised chicken eggs are used, as well as the size of the smallest ones being the only ones pickled. The store pickled eggs are very small.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 2:11PM
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Hello All,

I'm going to look into that PH tester.

I have moved this thread to a new one. This thread is getting long in the tooth.

Please visit:

Rick (aka Pickled_Eggs)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 2:51PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Remember, the HITM is not a home canning organization, rather a trade association for restaurants and hotels. Their advice doesn't carry much weight when it comes to food poisoning for me and the people I care about.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 10:24PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Locally, the TV news teams have been investigating local school cafeterias and found that many fail normal food handling safety. These schools, if they are resturants, would be closed down by the board of health in a heart beat.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:55AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Prepare to faint away at yet more ghastly Brit hygiene. And this recipe is not even intended to be canned....

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 4:56PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Flora, I was just waiting for you to come in here.. We sometimes take life too seriously.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Ok, I have read the posts here and there is a lot of bad information. Eggs do not contain the bacterium C. botulinum, which grows in oxygen free environments. The one case of botulism that included pickled eggs also had beets. Beets grow underground (oxygen free) and are the likely culprit. OF curse eggs can be canned, just as any meat or seafood can be canned. Pickled eggs have vinegar, and acid, which served to acidify the liquid solution.

If there is ever a question about a container that may have botulism, throw it out!

Canned items that have active bacteria growth with gas forming organisms, such as botulism, will bulge at the ends, and should not even be opened, but container and all should be discarded. The botulism organism is not, directly, what makes you sick, it is the toxin it produces. This toxin, which is heat stable, can be inhaled, so you could expose yourself just by opening the jar.

Retired Health Inspector

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:00PM
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