Spring is in the air again! The days are getting warmer, the flora is blooming, and the Easter bunny is hiding right around the corner. What better way to celebrate than by helping him fill his basket with beautiful, naturally decorated eggs? Read on for instructions and tips on how to create beautiful eggs using natural dyes, how to keep them safe for consumption and different, yummy ways to prepare them for eating!
The Do's and Don'ts of Dyeing
There are two methods used when dyeing eggs: cold dipping and hot boiling. Cold dipping produces subtler, more translucent shades and is generally the preferred method for using multiple colors on the same egg. Hot boiling produces much more intense shades, but these eggs are for decoration only, not eating.
The instructions below are for dyeing using natural ingredients. This can be a fun project for the whole family but be warned that it can be messy and is quite involved if you want to create multiple colors. (If using premade dye, please follow the instructions on the packaging.)
For both methods, use four cups of the selected fruit or vegetable (or one tablespoon spice) to four cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar to make the dye. Also, be sure to wash your uncooked eggs in mild soapy water to remove dirt or oil that might adversely affect the dye. Wear gloves so as not to stain your hands!
- Cold Dipping - Boil eggs and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring dye ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 15-30 minutes. Strain dye and allow to cool to a comfortable warm temperature. Remove boiled eggs from refrigerator and dip for 5-10 minutes, until the egg has reached the desired color, then dry on paper towels or drying rack. Remember to rotate the eggs in the dye regularly to create even coloring. If overlapping shades, repeat after egg has dried.
Creating Colors Naturally
- Hot Boiling - Place both uncooked eggs and dye ingredients into a pot and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and dry on paper towels or drying rack.
Here are some ingredient suggestions to get you started. Have fun, experiment and be sure to cover your work area!
Yellow - Lemon or orange peels, carrots, celery seed
Gold - Turmeric
Orange - Paprika, cumin, chili powder, yellow onion skins
Red/Pink - Cranberries, beets, raspberries, radishes
Purple - Hibiscus tea
Blue/Lavender - Red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, purple or red grape juice
Green - Spinach leaves
Brown/Beige - Coffee, tea, walnuts
Keeping Your Creations Edible
If you're anything like me, then you'll not only be enjoying the visual beauty of these eggs, but also their sheer scrumptiousness! With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to enjoy these holiday treats safely.
Keep uncooked eggs in the refrigerator until absolutely necessary in the preparation process. Eggs with visible cracks after boiling and/or dyeing may be eaten, but should be kept in the refrigerator and not used in an egg hunt or placed on display. Also, since eggs may have fine cracks you're not able to see, it's always a good idea to hide them in places protected from dirt and other sources of bacteria.
Most importantly, remember to only keep cooked eggs you intend on eating out of the refrigerator for a maximum
of two hours. That includes hiding and hunting. Any longer than that and the eggs are no longer safe to consume.
Lastly, all eggs should be eaten within one week, so try not to dye any more than you can manage. Luckily we have some tasty suggestions for those other eggs you’ve got laying around:
How Do I Love Eggs? Let Me Count The Ways
If eating plain, boiled eggs seems a little tiresome, check out these ways to spruce them up, from simple spicing to whole dishes!
Make a simple breakfast with salt, pepper and dill.
Try Pickled Eggs and Beets for a sweet and tangy side dish.
Slice them over salad for a light meal.
Deviled eggs were the standard way of using Easter eggs in my house. Try our Watercress and Green Onion Deviled Eggs for a spring twist.
Some Whole Story readers have suggested baking them in the middle of your next meatloaf.
Make your next lunch more interesting with Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches with Pistachios and Arugula.
I hope these tips and suggestions help make your Easter the most enjoyable yet! Got a nifty decorating tip or tasty recipe for boiled eggs? We'd love to hear it!