INDIANAPOLIS - Dyeing eggs for the family Easter egg hunt was always a big event. Dozens of eggs were boiled and prepared by my grandmother the day before her horde of wild grandchildren arrived ready to claim their dozen eggs to color.
And like many others, Paas was our traditional method of egg dyeing.
Last year I started something new in our house that falls more inline with my DIY-style living agenda. And you can do it, too.
I wanted to create my own dyes. I consulted a few friends, a few websites and by trial and error discovered some great ways to make all-natural color dyes.
Not only are these dyes better for my family than the artificial ones, they are also more fun to create. It turned out to be a great lesson in science and a wonderful creative project for the kids who discovered which plants or items created the best colors. I hope this becomes our new family tradition.
After you've boiled your eggs – and even while you are boiling them – you can start the dye-making process.
Twinkle's Easter Eggs Au Naturale
Time: 1-2 hours, including dyeing of eggs
List of ingredients:
2 dozen boiled eggs
1 cup of red onion skins [saved from approximately 2-3 onions] (red)
1 large beet, diced (magenta)
1 cup of blueberries (purple)
3 tbs turmeric (yellow – orange)
2 cups of spinach (light green)
2 cups of chopped red cabbage (blue)
2 tea bags (brown)
Approx. 2 cups of white vinegar (each dye will use approx. ¼ cup, so enough for the number of dyes you choose to create)
Wide-mouthed cups or jars for dipping eggs in dye
The basics are pretty simple.
1 – For each color, sans the turmeric, shred or finely chop ingredients and place on the stove in a pot covered in about an inch of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar.
2 – Quickly bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour. Longer simmer times mean a darker hue.
3 – After the dye has cooled, pour into jars or cups and begin dyeing by dropping your eggs gently inside the color.
4 – Leave eggs in dye for at least 10 minutes for a lighter hue, and longer if you want a richer, darker color.
If you'd like to take your eggs to the next level, we also experimented dyeing with the eggs wrapped in onion skins and herbs.
Onion skin and herb dyed eggs
What you'll need:
A teaspoon or so of uncooked rice
Yellow and red onion skins
A few feet of twine
Several 6" x 6" squares of muslin or cotton fabric (one for each egg you intend to boil & dye)
1 – Wrap uncooked eggs with yellow and red onion skins, fresh herbs and uncooked rice.
2 – Take eggs and gently wrap with muslin or cotton fabric and tie with string or twine.
3 – Boil for the allotted time according to the Perfect Boiled Egg recipe.
You'll end up with beautifully patterned, naturally-dyed eggs to share with your family this spring.
After the hunt
My favorite thing to do after the egg hunt is to take the boiled eggs and make a big batch of my grandmother's Egg and Olive Salad.
Mamaw Gean's Egg and Olive Salad
Ingredients (Makes 10 sandwiches):
8 peeled boiled eggs
1 8 oz jar of Spanish olives
½ cup of mayonnaise
1 tbs. yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 – Slice eggs in half and scoop out the yolks. Mash yolks in large bowl and finely dice the whites and add to the yolks.
2 – Chop olives and place in bowl with the eggs.
3 – Add the mayo and the mustard and blend until just mixed. Add salt and pepper and stir and refrigerate.
The salad is best served on butter croissants, crackers or just by itself.
Pro-tip: Fresh eggs are harder to peel, so try and purchase your eggs at least a week before dyeing. You can also add a few teaspoons of salt to the water to increase the ease of peeling.
For more on food and for more recipes check out twinklevanwinkle.com.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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