I grew up in a household with hippie tendencies. This showed in a number of ways, from the 12-grain bread my mom used for sandwiches, to the jar of homemade granola that made up the bulk of our cereal selection. However, it was never more obvious than around major holidays.
At Halloween, we were the house giving out raisins or tiny tubes of toothpaste. Christmas brought candy canes sweetened with maple syrup. And around Easter, our baskets were filled with carob, fruit juice sweetened jelly beans and naturally dyed eggs.
Instead of pulling out the dyes that the other kids used, my parents would gather onion skins, carrot peelings, spinach leaves and beets for our egg coloring sessions. I found these methods deeply frustrating because they never provided the same depth of color that the commercial egg coloring kits could.
I blame the fact that I was very late to red beet eggs on my frustration with those natural dyes. You see, these pickled eggs get their color through the addition of beets to the pickling liquid. And I just didn't want to have anything to do with adding beets to eggs.
But then, I had the opportunity to taste one a few years back and I changed my tune. Pickled red beet eggs have nothing in common with the still-in-their-shell hard-boiled eggs I once tried to dye with beet juice.
The finished eggs are bright in both color and flavor. Pickling firms the whites of the hard boiled egg, transforming them into something tangy and substantial. The finished eggs are good eaten on their own, or chopped into a vibrantly colored salad and make a terrific addition to any springtime table.
Before You Get Started
To avoid peeling frustration, use the oldest eggs in you fridge for hard boiling. Super fresh eggs are incredibly hard to peel, while the ones that have been around for a week or more will give up their shells more easily.
For more tips on the best way to hard boil eggs, click here.
I used home-canned pickled beets for this recipe. However, don't feel like you have to make the pickled beets first. Commercially pickled beets do just as good a job here.
Make sure to let the eggs rest in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours before eating the first one. However, they'll keep for months if well submerged in the brine, so don't feel like you have to eat them all immediately.
Get the Recipe
About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, also called Food in Jars, will be published by Running Press in May 2012.