Have you ever tried fermenting boiled eggs before? It’s a wonderful way to add extra taste to the blandness of your egg whites. Here’s how to ferment hard boiled eggs for a new and delicious flavor!
Anyone who keeps laying hens knows that spring brings an overabundance of eggs. Molting season is over, the days are getting longer and your chickens go into full production mode! It’s the perfect time to eat a lot of egg-based dishes.
Egg lover that I am, I can almost tire of eating eggs. But there is one way of preparing an egg that never seems to grow old for me.
It’s a lightly fermented, hard boiled egg.
I know that fermented egg probably sounds quite strange to you! It did to me the first time I heard about it. But after the first bite, I was hooked!
Because when boiled eggs are naturally fermented in salt water with a bit of garlic and perhaps fresh dill, their flavor is absolutely incredible!
Lacto-fermented eggs only take 5-7 days to make. Fermenting eggs before serving them as a quick snack or adding them to a recipe is an excellent way to create some extra flavor.
So let me show you how to ferment hard boiled eggs!
The Difference Between Pickled Eggs and Fermented Eggs
If you’ve ever heard of pickled eggs, you might be wondering how they differ from fermented eggs?
Pickled eggs are exactly what you’d expect. After popping peeled boiled eggs into a jar, you create a brine with salt and vinegar that you pour over the eggs. Add a lid, and eggs are kept in the refrigerator where they have to sit for 2-3 weeks to allow the pickle flavor to penetrate.
Usually, fermentation isn’t part of the process.
Fermented eggs are actually fermented (meaning they contain good active bacteria groups) and don’t require the addition of vinegar. All you need are peeled boiled eggs, salt, water, herbs for flavoring and presto!
From there, just leave your jar of eggs at room temperature for 5-7 days and good bacteria will do the rest. Once things begin to smell lightly fermented, the jar should be refrigerated to slow the fermenting process.
And the eggs can be eaten at your leisure.
Tools and Ingredients You’ll Need
To make this recipe, you’ll need to ensure you have the following items on hand!
- 12 eggs
- a stockpot large enough to hold 1 dozen eggs
- quart (litre) small-mouth jar
- a plastic lid (like these ones HERE)
- filtered water
- fresh dill
Tips for Preparing and Fermenting Boiled Eggs
If you are dealing with farm fresh eggs, you probably know they don’t peel well after being boiled. But don’t worry. There’s a simple way to get around this issue. I teach you how to steam fresh eggs HERE, so they actually will peel well for you.
Other tips for preparing and fermenting boiled eggs include:
- Make sure your eggs are actually hard boiled (no soft whites or yolks).
- Only ferment whole hard boiled eggs; if yellow egg yolk is exposed, it will disintegrate in the salt water and turn into a mushy mess
- To avoid floating and possible mold issues, always place fresh herbs and garlic in the bottom of your jar before adding boiled eggs.
- Use a standard (aka small mouth) jar for fermenting; it’ll hold eggs under the brine better than a wide mouth jar.
- Ferment eggs in a place that is no warmer than 75F (24C) to ensure the right bacteria group takes over.
- When the brine becomes cloudy and eggs smell fermented, it’s a sign your eggs are done and should be refrigerated.
You can get the full, step by step printable directions for fermented eggs below.
How to Use Fermented Eggs
So how do you use fermented eggs in the kitchen?
You can substitute fermented eggs for hard boiled eggs in any and all of your favorite recipes! Here are some of my favorite ways to use fermented eggs in my kitchen.
- as a quick, high protein snack
- slice and serve with a green salad
- for egg salad sandwiches
- in homemade deviled eggs
- homemade potato salad
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How Long Can You Keep Fermented Eggs?
Based on all I’ve heard, fermented eggs won’t keep as long in the refrigerator as pickled eggs. Especially if you’re only doing a light ferment (like I teach you to do here)!
I wish I had a timeframe to give you, but the truth is, I love fermented hard boiled eggs so much that mine never last for more than 2 weeks in the fridge!
And while I suspect I could get at least double that amount of time, I’ve never actually tested for results.
If you want your eggs to last 3-4 months in the fridge, you should probably pickle (not ferment) them. You can get a tested-and-approved pickling recipe HERE from the National Center of Home Food Preservation.
Fermented Hard Boiled Eggs
- a stockpot for boiling eggs
- 1 quart (1 litre) jar
- 1 plastic lid
- 12 eggs hard boiled and peeled
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 cups water
- 2-3 garlic cloves (peeled but left whole)
- 3 sprigs fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
- Place your 12 eggs in a stockpot and cover with water
- Boil for 8 minutes or until firm
- Cool eggs under cold running water
- Remove shells, leaving eggs in whole form
- Peel garlic cloves, placing both them and sprigs of dill in your 1 quart (1 litre) jar
- Measure in salt
- Slip whole peeled eggs into your jar, stopping within an inch of the jar's rim
- Pour cold water over the eggs until they are covered and the jar has been filled
- Cover jar with a plastic lid
- Let eggs sit for 5-10 minutes to dissolve salt in the bottom of your jar
- Gently swish the jar back and forth to disperse salt water evenly
- Leave the eggs to ferment at the back of your kitchen counter for 5-7 days.
- Note: temperatures in your kitchen shouldn't rise about 75F (25C), or the wrong bacteria may take over and spoil your fermenting eggs
- When the salt brine has turned slightly gold in colored and is cloudy, your eggs should be done
- Remove the lid and smell your ferment. If it has a bright, fresh aroma your eggs properly fermented.
- Should your eggs smell musty, slimy or rotten, this means the wrong bacteria took over and you should throw the entire batch out.
- Good batches can be refrigerated up to 14 days.