I recently put up a post about making kvass – a drink with Russian & Eastern European origins – which wasn’t specifically a beet drink originally but beets were sometimes added. In case you hadn’t noticed, beets impart an incredible color to liquids and most anything they touch.
Although I was not new to fermented or pickled eggs, placing them in beet kvass was something I once observed at a fermentation workshop and I was instantly intrigued. What a color! And what about the flavor? Well, if you like beet kvass (which I do), and you like hard-boiled eggs (which I really do!), then let’s just say odds are you’re going to dig this. And it just looks spectacular.
The “beet kvass” many fermenters such as myself talk about nowadays is a bit different from the Slavic original. The original kvass is made from fermented rye bread (or black bread), is somewhat alcoholic and not specifically a health tonic, though it does have some healthy properties.
The lacto-fermented (saltwater) beet kvass I am discussing here can have all manner of ingredients besides beets to impart more flavor and nutrients. Using the kvass as a kind of brine for pickling eggs, you could add any desired herbs and spices for more depth of flavor. I’ll offer some suggestions below.
To make these eggs, first you need to make the kvass (basic recipe here). If you’re preparing these for a larger group, I have to recommend making it in half gallon (or even gallon or more) containers, so that you have plenty of kvass to make a lot of these eggs. (This recipe has the Seder meal in mind, in which most of the individuals dining tend to have at least one or more hard-boiled eggs.) If you just want to make a few (~4-5) of these eggs to sample, a quart jar of kvass will work.
My kvass recipe includes ginger and carrots, but either can be omitted (allowing for more room to add more brine and have a larger batch of kvass). However, if you’re going to use the kvass for pickling eggs, then you can get even more flavor into those eggs by adding spices such as mustard seed, peppercorns, caraway, coriander, dill, or anything else you enjoy. You could even make the eggs spicy by adding a sliced jalapeno to your kvass ferment! I would use between 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp per each type of whole spices in a quart of kvass, going on the lower end if you’re adding multiple spices.
Once you’ve made the basic recipe (with or without the carrot or ginger or additional spices), you can return here. At that point, you will need an additional container for the kvass and eggs (the veggies can stay in the original jar and be used to make more kvass). If you decide to cure the eggs in salt overnight before placing them in kvass (explained below), you will also need a ziploc bag, tupperware, or other storage container for the eggs.
Ingredients: Hard-boiled eggs; kvass (a quart jar worth for every 4-5 eggs; or half gallon jar for around ten eggs); salt (for optional curing, explained below)
1.) First you will need to hard boil the eggs and allow them to come to room temperature.
Hint: I’ve had this Dash Rapid Egg Cooker (to make hard-boiled eggs) for several years now and love it. It makes a half dozen. The eggs come out perfectly every time and are always easy to peel. This device also can make eggs several other ways
Update: I got the full dozen model and I love it!:
OPTIONAL STEP: After hard-boiling, cure the eggs in salt overnight. Place all the eggs in a large ziploc bag, tupperware, or other container of choice. Pour in a heaping teaspoon of salt for each egg and spread around evenly. Place in a refrigerator overnight. The next day, you will see most of the egg’s water has been extracted. Dump the water and rinse the eggs just enough so any excess salt is washed off. Pat dry with paper towel. Salt curing will give the eggs a firmer texture and enable them to absorb more of the kvass color and flavor. On the other hand, if you don’t like quite salty food, you may opt to skip this step or try it both ways to see what you prefer. Even without salt curing, after a few days in the brine, the eggs will take on a bright purple color.
2.) Transfer the eggs to a jar or other upright storage vessel. Around 5 eggs will fit in a quart jar, ten in a half gallon. This depends on the size eggs you use. (Don’t use a tupperware or a container which creates a lot of surface area for the kvass, in order to minimize oxidation.)
3.) Pur the kvass over the eggs so they are completely submerged. Allow to sit, refrigerated, for at least 2-3 days to fully absorb the kvass and flavor. If not consumed immediately, they should keep for at least a week to ten days, possibly two weeks. (But heed any undesirable smells!)
That’s it! Let us know what you think.