Pickled eggs: How to preserve eggs in salt and vinegar
The following method of preserving eggs comes from someone who actual saw it done on a regular basis during the rationing and shortages of the Second World War. During this time, it was common to keep chickens, as it had been for generations in rural areas, so there was frequently a surplus of eggs which had to be preserved for leaner times.
A family method for preserving eggs in salt and vinegar
My mother would preserve our eggs by boiling them for about ten minutes in water to which a little salt and vinegar had been added.
When the eggs were hard-boiled, they were held under the cold tap, which stopped a black ring around the yolk from forming. The shells were quickly removed and into preserving jars they went.
Once in the preserving jars they were covered with either white or brown vinegar. The method was known as pickling and result was known as pickled eggs.
These jars of eggs were in great demand in pubs and fish and chip shops. Even to this day they are to be found in many fish and chip shops.
For more about vinegar and its uses, see below.
The forerunner of scotch eggs
Some of these pickled eggs were covered in meat paste and breadcrumbs - hence the "scotch egg".
Writing this I can still smell that eggy-vinegar smell even now.
How vinegar used to be sold
Vinegar was sold 'loose' before around the middle of the 20th Century. You just took a container to the local shop and they would fill it up from a giant wooden barrel.
Types of vinegar
There were three types of vinegar: white and brown malt vinegar and pickling vinegar which was brown vinegar to which some hot spices had been added during manufacturer.
Uses of vinegar
Vinegar was very versatile:
You could pickle cabbage and beetroot in vinegar.
You could add fresh mint to vinegar, and you had mint sauce throughout the winter because the vinegar preserved it.
People even washed their hair in vinegar to get rid of fleas.
Vinegar was added to the rinse when washing cloths and bed sheets that were badly soiled.
If you grazed your skin, a vinegar poultice would be applied: a piece of clean cloth soaked in vinegar would be tied to the wound. A touch of Florence Nightingale and the Crimea, I think.
Vinegar was even used to clean the windows - one of the best methods of cleaning glass ever thought of.
Before Listerine was invented, a little vinegar was mixed with water for use as a mouth wash.
The best smell from my childhood was brown vinegar sprinkled on hot fish and chips.