Purple, Pickled, Peculiar

29 Mar

Let’s face it, it’s that time of year when the hearts of children, and yes, grown men and women the world over, sing with glee and hope.

It’s almost time to bite the ears off a chocolate rabbit.

Or snarf down multiple bags of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.

And while I am human, and I do get a weird thrill out of chomping on dopey, oddly vacant bunnies in dark, milk and white chocolate varieties, the thing that really makes my heart go pitter-pat as we approach the Easter season is, of course, pickles.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Red Beet Eggs

And I know I am not alone.

I have been getting dozens of hits a day on this site in the past couple of weeks from people looking for a pickled red beet egg recipe.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Red Beet Eggs

So, pickled egg lovers of the world unite! Here is what you’re looking for:

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Hard Boiled Eggs And Red Beets (aka, pickled red beet eggs)

  • 1 can small, whole red beets
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 3 or 4 whole cloves
  • small pieces of cinnamon
  • 1 doz. hard boiled eggs

Put all together in a pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Peel eggs and add to liquid and beets.
Put all in a jar or container and cover.
Allow to pickle for about 2 days before using (aka,EATING!)

This recipe first appeared in the Pitcher Hill Church’s Ladies Cook Book.

It’s my grandmother’s recipe, or maybe even her mother’s, or her mother’s mother’s. We’re not 100% sure.  What I can guarantee is that these are delicious. Make them and eat them in good health.

But why just make purple pickled eggs? Why not make say, purple pickled cauliflower?

Middle Eastern Pickled Cauliflower & Purple Cabbage

Yeah, I thought it was a good idea when I came upon it in that Claudia Roden book, too.

They’re only just becoming really good. There’s a lot of sulfur and other unique chemical compounds for the brine to soften in family Brassicaceae (there’s that pesky Latin again).

Middle Eastern Pickled Cauliflower & Purple Cabbage

As you can see, they’re beautiful, almost as if rather than starting out as white cauliflower they began life as the purple stuff. But no, all that color has come from the purple cabbage.

Middle Eastern Pickled Cauliflower & Purple Cabbage

Ms Roden doesn’t say which part of the Middle East these are from, but unlike the Iranian pickles I made awhile back, these don’t have dill. They rely entirely on the raw ingredients and the brine to supply the punch, kind of like Middle Eastern sauerkraut.

Middle Eastern Pickled Cauliflower & Purple Cabbage

And how do they taste? Pretty darn good. I tasted them a few days ago and thought they were too salty, so I added a little more white vinegar. This seems to have done the trick. They’re mildly bitter with a mustardy undertone, lightly spicy, perfectly salty and deliciously sour.

Middle Eastern Pickled Cauliflower & Purple Cabbage

I can’t wait to eat them with some pate and crusty bread. But until Meat-Free March is over, tossing them with some bitter greens and cucumbers in a salad slicked lightly with the very best olive oil will have to, happily, do.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Purple Pickled Cauliflower.

Torshi Arnabeet wa Koromb (Pickled Cauliflower and Purple Cabbage)

  • 1 small head Cauliflower
  • 1/2 Purple Cabbage
  • 6-7 tsps Salt
  • 3 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 1/4 cups Distilled White Vinegar
  • Dried Hot Red Chiles

Wash the cauliflower and break into bite sized florets. Cut the cabbage into thick slices. Do not separate. Mix the salt, water and vinegar together to create the brine.

Place a layer of cauliflower in a sterilized, large-mouth pickling jar. Top with a layer of cabbage. Repeat until you reach the top, but bury a chile or two deep in one or two of the layers.

Fill the jar with the brine. Use a long wooden skewer to release any visible trapped air bubbles. Close the lid.

Ms Roden says to place the pickles in a warm spot for 10 days before eating. This skeeved me out a bit, so I put mine in the fridge. While it’s taking them a bit longer to mellow, they’re still turning out just fine.

Eat within a month.

This recipe made two large jars for me.

Adapted from Claudia Roden’s 1968 A Book Of Middle Eastern Food published in the U.S. by Alfred A. Knopf.

Enjoy!

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33 Responses to “Purple, Pickled, Peculiar”

  1. Lydia March 29, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    It’s true what they say: everything looks better in pink! Great, fun photos.

  2. Susan in Italy March 29, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    I remember making pink pickled turnips once to go along with hummous and baba ganoush, but pink pickled eggs are totally new! Do they taste sweet?

  3. tijen March 29, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi Ann,
    I will be staying for a month. I have a lovely 11 month old niece here in Park Slope (who was made in Brooklyn!) and I want to be with her on her first birthday on April 23rd. If you want to meet for a coffee sometime, pls. let me know. By the way, I love the idea of purple egg pickles!
    Tijen

  4. pom d'api March 30, 2007 at 12:05 am #

    Hi ! it’s so good idear ! Nice to meet you
    Candy

  5. lobstersquad March 30, 2007 at 6:54 am #

    pink food!!! yes please, bring it on.
    we don´t really do the thing of the chocolate and the rabbits here, too bad.

  6. deb March 30, 2007 at 8:25 am #

    Bummer! I left you a terrifically long comment yesterday detailing my cauliflower and baby brussel pickling drama (too salty, overcooked, blah blah) and it never showed up. But what I was really excited about is that second recipe. Perhaps this is the answer to my … pickle. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Perhaps this is why I was banished… heheh.

  7. krista March 30, 2007 at 9:37 am #

    As much as I love unnatrually green food, blue and purple are my next favorite food colors (I’m mildly obsessed with ube). Your eggs and cauliflower look amazing, and no artifical dyes either.

  8. ann March 30, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Lydia — Ain’t that the truth! well, everything but poodles. pink poodles TERRIFY me!

    Susan — they are kind of sweet, with a hint of beet earthiness. The hardest thing to get used to is the texture. They have that same, odd, rubbery texture that your typical bartop pickled egg would have. Personally I ADORE this texture, but many do not. but if you hate the eggs, you still have pickled beets to eat!

    tijen — I removed your email so no one would spam you, but saved it. I would love to meet up for coffee! Anyone else?

    Candy — Thanks! Nice to meet you too!

    Lobstersquad — I’ll send you a mold if you want to make your own chocolate bunnies. it’s so fun to bite their heads off ;-)

    Deb — oh NO!! that blows! and I looked in my spam comments not there either… Buh. Actually funny you mentioned this, I made your salted mushrooms the same day as the cualiflower, and well… they didn’t come out that good. I used too much garlic, and well… I think it was too much. I’m shocked (shocked!)! I never thought it possible, but yeah, I mucked up your good recipe with too much garlic. Sad.

    krista — holy COWS!!!!! That Ube cake is AMAZING! wow. gobsmacked!

  9. Lisa (Homesick Texan) March 30, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    I have never eaten pickled eggs,I was always too scared. But if they were pink, perhaps I wouldn’t be so hesitant. I’m going to my mom’s next week, and she’s a pickling fiend, so thanks for giving us a fun Monday project. Just in time for Easter!

  10. Cathy March 30, 2007 at 10:52 am #

    Hey, magenta is a good color for eggs! I was wondering if you eat the beets in that pickle recipe also. I’ve encountered some great home canning & pickling recipes in my time, but nothing quite so breathtaking as this! Thanks for sharing!

  11. ann March 30, 2007 at 11:45 am #

    Lisa (HT) — they’re really fun, if you and your mom make them, I hope you have as much fun as my mom and I do when we pickle together!!

    Cathy — Thanks! you absolutely eat the beets too! they’re amazing. I’ll thank my gram the next time I see her for this recipe… she’ll be so flattered that she’s a hit on the interwebs… if she even knows what that means ;-)

  12. gingerporter March 30, 2007 at 4:35 pm #

    Oh how I love purple pickled eggs with beets….yumm!!!

    Great pictures!!!

  13. Ari (Baking and Books) March 30, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    Those colors are amazing! And congratulations on the “Serious Eats” spotlight. :)

  14. ann March 30, 2007 at 9:20 pm #

    Gingerporter — Thanks! Wonderful to find a kindred spirit!

    Ari — Thank you so much for stopping by. Somehow I had missed your blog completely, and it’s wonderful!

  15. s'kat March 30, 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    They’re like little cute brains… but I am not sure they’re edible!!

    You’re almost there to the good stuff. I’ll keep the mini-eggs cozy ’till you’re ready! ;)

  16. sher March 31, 2007 at 2:58 am #

    Oh Ann! I’ve been dreaming about pickled eggs. I love those liitle devils! Yes!! I’m going to do it! Love pickled beets so much! Yum. I’m starting to salivate!

  17. ann March 31, 2007 at 10:23 pm #

    s’kat — HA! ahahaha in fact! you know what’s funny, is I found a recipe recently in a Czech cookbook for “mock brains” and the main ingredient is cauliflower, so maybe you’re not too far off there!

    sher — yay! pickled egg lovers of the world unite!

  18. Mary April 1, 2007 at 3:18 pm #

    You’ve convinced me that I need to branch out and expand my pickle making to things other than cucumbers. I die for pickles, I get these crazy, admittedly hormonal, craving for them. I sometimes even drink a tiny bit of the juice. There must be somebody around here who won’t think that’s weird, right?

  19. Kat April 2, 2007 at 3:14 pm #

    Love your blog!

    My boyfriend’s family makes pickled eggs – but this year they changed their plans and will not be celebrating Easter with the whole extended family – so he asked me to make them for him. I was at a loss, until I found you! Looks nice and easy!

  20. ann April 2, 2007 at 4:22 pm #

    May — That someone is me. There’s a place in the East Village that used to do pickle-juice martinis (like a dirty vodka martini, but with pickle brine as opposed to olive brine). I still curse them under my breath every time I walk past beacuse they stopped making them!

    Kat — thanks!! So happy to be of service! I hope they turn out well for you.

  21. Michelle, Maltese Bacon April 2, 2007 at 11:41 pm #

    Great entry. Beets and eggs, can’t go wrong. Can you possibly sell that batch to a 3rd party?

  22. verily April 3, 2007 at 9:34 pm #

    Yum! My PA grandmother loves to make pickled eggs and beets whenever the mood takes her. I can’t find anything like it in TX, so maybe I’ll try making it on my own this weekend. :)

  23. Mary April 4, 2007 at 9:09 am #

    Okay, so I’m thinking a home rendition of the pickle juice martini is a great idea, especially if you use some of the juice from that there pinkified cauliflower. It would look like a cosmo, but it would so not be a cosmo. Psych.

  24. deb April 5, 2007 at 9:00 am #

    Just seeing your response now! In truth, the mushrooms my least favorite of that recipe batch. As it turns out, I don’t much care for them, well, salted. But the Russians (of course, of course) loved them so I figured they couldn’t be all evil. Sorry they disappointed. I’m a little burned on pickling vegetables right now after my first major failure, but after spending a dollar amount I won’t cop to on a jar of (deliciously) pickled white asparagus, it’s time for me to get back to it. I will have to pick your ear about sealing and aging jars versus making refrigerator pickles. I’m not sure the former is necessary for something as simple as green beans.

  25. Pille April 9, 2007 at 9:16 am #

    I made beetroot-pickled eggs for Easter, too!!! I didn’t use any vinegar, but lemon juice instead, and I really loved them. My aunties are coming for a housewarming party soon, and I’ll definitely serve beetroot-eggs again! (I’ll write about them on my blog tomorrow).

  26. ann April 12, 2007 at 6:45 am #

    verily — I don’t think you could. The eggs continue to get chewier and chewier as they sit in the pickling liquid. But you could definitely sell pickled beets!

    Deb — I was hoping you’d tackle “real” pickling first so I could learn from you ;-) You can always talk to my mom if you want, she’s the true pickling champean.

    Pille — Yours are gorgeous.

  27. steve murray June 22, 2007 at 11:49 am #

    hi.
    i recently returned from a visit to denmark. while there, i discovered a delicious snack. crisp, sweet pickled red beets. i have searched in vain for a recipe. if anyone out there knows of one, and could send it to me, it would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks.
    steve

  28. ROGER June 30, 2007 at 10:48 am #

    Great,
    Do you have a recipe for KHLAT which if i remember is made of red beet and either yougurt or tahina.? We need to revisit Rosen’s and the other classics.
    Thanks.

  29. pieofangel17 August 18, 2007 at 11:20 pm #

    These all look so great! My mother is a great pickler…LOL

    My father is a pickle lover through and through. Every year I am home, my mother and I pickle cucumbers, crab apples, beets, mixed veggies…the list goes on.

    Thanks for sharing some great ideas and recipes.

    Kimberly Edwards :D
    http://www.CookingWithKimberly.com

  30. ann August 21, 2007 at 8:19 pm #

    Kimberly — Pickled crab apples?! Be still my beating heart!

  31. PAT O'BERRY March 28, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    YOU CAN GET SAME DELICIOUS EFFECT FROM YOUR PURPLE EGGS BY USING PICKLING SPICES, ALL MEASURED OUT ALREADY. I GET THE BEET JUICE PUT IN POT HEAT WITH SOME BROWN SUGAR, SOME PICKLING SPICES , POUR OVER MY EGGS IN A QT. MASON JAR, ADD SOME VALDALA ONIONS, AND OH MY CAN’T WAIT TIL THEY TURN PURPLE TO THE YOKE, TAKES ABOUT A COUPLE DAYS….THE PICKLING SPICES ARE ALWAYS IN MY CABINET JUST FOR THIS USE. YOUR SITE WAS GREAT, LOVE THE SENSE OF HUMOR….THANKS

  32. PAT O'BERRY July 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    BEEN MAKING PURPLE PICKLED EGGS SINCE I GOT MARRIED IN 1963…FIGURED IT WAS A RECEIPE MY MOM CAME UP WITH. NO ONE ELSE EVER HEARD OF THEM BEFORE…NEVER PUT CINNAMON IN THEM WILL GIVE IT A TRY…LOVE YOUR SITE… OH, I LIKE PUTTING ONIONS IN MINE ALSO, THE SMALL ONES,,,,’;O)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. topGrubs.com - March 29, 2007

    Purple, Pickled, Peculiar

    Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Hard Boiled Eggs And Red Beets (aka, pickled red beet eggs)

    1 can small, whole red beets
    1/3 c. brown sugar
    1 c. cider vinegar
    1 c. cold water
    3 or 4 whole cloves
    small pieces of cinnamon
    1 doz. hard boiled eggs

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