Dana came home with 2 dozen pheasant eggs. She had been visiting Pheasant Hill Farm and was excited to have brought part of their namesake home.
Can you pickle them?
It was more of an excited proclamation than a question! I had to oblige!
A pheasant egg is similar to a chicken egg with two notable exceptions: it is much smaller and it is almost all yolk. I also find them a lot more difficult to peel (a pheasant’s egg has a thin membrane between the shell and the boiled white which can make for very frustrating peeling). When it’s not overcooked it’s luxurious and almost buttery – which makes for a fantastic pickle! This recipe will work with any egg but I really love pickling these small gems.
Before getting too excited about making your own pickled eggs, consider the following:
- Emeril Lagasse and the food network have a recipe for pickling eggs and processing them in a water bath so you can store them on your shelf.
- The National Center for Home Food Preservation specifically recommends against pickling eggs. Their wording is clear: “There are no home canning directions for pickled eggs. All of the following pickled egg recipes are for storage in the refrigerator. Pickled eggs should never be at room temperature except for serving time, when they should be limited to no more than 2 hours in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F.”
I know lots of people who pickle eggs and process them in a water bath. There are plenty of recipes online. My personal choice – and recommendation – is to pickle eggs for the fridge. I do not have directions for canning them but know that 2-dozen quail eggs can easily fit in a quart jar (with room to spare).
Pickled eggs are often consumed while drinking beer. These pickles use hops (a common beer ingredient) to add a bitter flavour that’s balanced by the sweetness of honey, acidity of white wine vinegar and the bite of black pepper. They can be enjoyed without an ale but were really designed to be paired with a glass of your favourite brew!
Pickled Pheasant Eggs with Hops and Honey – Ingredients
- 24 fresh pheasant eggs
- 1/4 cup hops (I used leaves). You can omit this or replace it with a teaspoon of bitters OR a tablespoon of minced rhubarb
- 2 tablespoon mustard seed
- 2 teaspoon smoked salt (you can use regular salt and optionally add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke)
- 2 teaspoon dill seed
- 2 heavy handed tablespoons of honey
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 3/4 cups white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
Pickled Pheasant Eggs with Hops and Honey – Instructions
To cook the eggs:
- Cover eggs in cold water. Place on stove on high.
- When water starts to boil, set a timer for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately rest in an ice bath or very cold water.
- Peel eggs once the shells are cool enough to handle.
To make the brine and pickles:
You can do most of this in advance but don’t boil the vinegar until the eggs are peeled (the hot vinegar added to the eggs will help penetrate them.
- Add all ingredients for the brine (i.e. everything but the eggs) into a saucepan and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.
- Carefully pour the brine into a clean mason jar.
- Using a spoon, transfer the eggs into the brine (this will help prevent you from ‘dropping’ them into the brine.
- Cover with a lid and place in fridge.
- The pickles will have the most flavour after 2-4 weeks. Gently mix the contents of the jar every few days while your waiting (and try to resist eating them; which will be tempting!)
- They will easily store for 3-6 months but it’s highly unlikely you’ll have them that long!
Note: When eating these pickles you’ll want to gently brush peppercorns and hop leaves off the eggs as both flavours are intense!