Valentine’s Day Pickled Eggs and Beets

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Eggs are one of those sustenance foods that are riddled with meaning and used frequently for analogies. For example, trust is often compared to a delicate egg. Once broken, it cannot be easily repaired. Eggs can also symbolize life. And if you read my last post, they can also be put into the ‘sexy’ food group (and yes, such a group exists).

Because eggs embody the essence of life, people from ancient times to the modern day have surrounded them with magical beliefs, endowing them with the power not only to create life, but to prophesy the future. Eggs symbolize birth and are believed to ensure fertility. They also symbolize rebirth, and thus long life and even immortality. Eggs represent life in its various stages of development, encompassing the mystery and magic of creation. In Europe of pagan and Christian times, eggs symbolized life and resurrection. People ate eggs for a variety of reasons. Some sought to absorb their magical properties by eating them. Others ate them to ensure fertility. Regardless of your true reason for eating eggs, it is intriguing to know the symbolism behind them.

With so many Valentine’s posts focused on sweets I wanted mix it up. I have plenty of friends who are not into sweets, and this is one of those creative recipes that I know I will be making often as it is one that reminds me of my friend Diana. She is one of the pickiest eaters I know, and yet it amazes me that she loves beets. When I created this recipe I asked her if she would come over and taste test it with me for the first time. She agreed, and I was so pleased that we were both exited with the results.

Making something for a special friend or loved one gives your gift that ‘handmade with love’ feeling. It doesn’t need to be complicated just thoughtful. And red eggs are definitely a gesture of L-O-V-E. They do take 2 days to get a nice pink color and 4 days if you want that deep reddish purple hue. For an extra special presentation, select a nice clear glass jar to gift them in.

Pickled Beets and Eggs

Ingredients

8 hard-boiled eggs

2 (15 oz) cans whole pickled beets, 1 cup juice reserved**

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 cup white sugar

¾ cups cider vinegar

½ tsp salt

1 pinch black pepper

2 bay leaves

12 whole cloves

Tabasco sauce (optional)

Feta, crumbled (optional)

baby spinach, cleaned (optional)

olive oil (optional)

Directions

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil. Remove from heat, cover, and allow eggs to sit in hot water for 10-12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cook and peel.

Place beets, onion and peeled eggs in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) container. (Note: If using plastic, the red may stain the container.) Set aside.

In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine sugar, reserved beat juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, bay leaves and cloves. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Pour hot liquid over beats and eggs. A few shakes of Tabasco can be added in if a hot/sweet flavor is desired. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours before using. The eggs can sit 2 days longer if a deeper color red is desired. To even out the color, stir or shake eggs.

Serve ‘as is’ or to make into a salad add baby spinach and a bit of crumbled feta. To make a quick salad add a light drizzle of olive oil and some of the beet marinade.

** Instead of canned pickled beats, fresh can be used. Peel, slice and boil them until tender; approximately 30-40 minutes. Use 1 cup of beat water in place of the reserved canned juice. Continue with above recipe.

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