How Long Do Pickled Eggs Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 3 To 4 Months

Pickled Eggs are simply hard-boiled eggs kept in vinegar or brine for a few days or weeks. Pickled eggs are generally prepared to be eaten either as a snack or along with any other meal. Moreover, pickled eggs are widely and popularly used in bars, pubs, taverns, or anywhere in the world where beer is served.

Depending upon the preparation process and pickling solution used, pickled eggs can either be sweet, or spicy or sweet-spicy in taste. The most common way of preparing pickled eggs is to hard boil the eggs and then remove their shell. After that, these eggs are cured in vinegar, salts, spices, and other seasonings.

How Long Does Pickled Eggs Last?

Pickled eggs have a surprisingly long shelf life. When we consider the shelf life of just normal hard-boiled eggs, they can go bad within a few days only. However, just keeping them in vinegar can increase their shelf life by as long as 3 to 4 months.

On average, pickled eggs can go easily for months, however, many factors determine the shelf life of pickled eggs. The main factor that can increase the shelf life or even decrease it to a drastic extent is the storage conditions of pickled eggs.

The suitable condition for storing pickled eggs is to keep them in an airtight glass or plastic container at low temperatures. Although, many people prefer to keep pickled eggs at room temperature, however, room temperature is not a suitable condition to store them. The best place is to keep them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 

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Moreover, if you keep the pickled eggs at a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then it can result in bacterial contamination of the pickled eggs. 

Apart from these general storage conditions, if you are buying readymade pickled eggs then you can look at the label stuck onto the bottle, about the storage conditions of those pickled eggs. It is recommended to follow those storage instructions because they are the most suitable. As every pickled egg have their way of being prepared, therefore, with the change in preparation method, their storage conditions also change.

Here is a quick summary of how long will pickled eggs last depending upon the storage conditions:

Storage ConditionsTime
Low temperature3 to 4 months
Room temperature1 to 2 months

Why Do Pickled Eggs Last That Long?

There are many reasons behind the prolonged shelf life of pickled eggs as compared to normal hard-boiled eggs. 

The major reason is the pickling solution used in the preparation process of the pickled eggs. Vinegar and water have been used as a preservative since centuries, and the same solution is used in the making of pickled eggs. When vinegar is added to the solution, the pH level of the complete mixture increases. As the result, the mixture becomes acidic. Increased acidic levels of the solution prevent the growth of bacteria and microbes into the solution, thus increasing the shelf life of food. This is the main reason why vinegar is used as a natural food preservative.

Moreover, an increase in the pH level of pickled eggs, limits down the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. This is the bacteria that is the major reason behind pickled eggs go bad, as it reacts with the mixture and results in botulism. The presence of vinegar prevents this bacteria to cause botulism.

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Moreover, when kept in an airtight container also increases the shelf life of pickled eggs. As keeping them in an airtight container avoids the interaction between pickled eggs and the atmosphere, thus, making it last longer.

Conclusion

The idea of having pickled eggs, or to generally say, the idea behind keeping hard-boiled eggs in vinegar was to increase their shelf life and keep them preserved for months. However, over time, people started to enjoy eating pickled eggs as such.

This method also keeps the eggs safe from microbial bacteria and other such organisms. This is the major reason why the shelf life of boiled eggs is prolonged by months. When stored in the right storage conditions, pickled eggs can go for as long as 4 months, however, when stored in unsuitable conditions, they can go bad within a week only.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003257911947346X
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579119478668
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