Easter is upon us and I’ll admit, it still excites me to color eggs. Growing up, it was a ritual for my mom to get all six kids into old t-shirts, spread newspaper on the kitchen table and fill glass cups with vinegar. Enter my dad who took over from there. He let us pick which color fizz tablet we wanted to drop in our cups. It was like magic watching a brown tab turn red or an orange tab yellow. My father was a watercolor artist so this was serious stuff to him. He could never figure out why my brothers plunged their white egg from cup to cup, always resulting in muddy brown eggs they were proud of. Exit brothers.
I learned a few egg-coloring “tricks” from dad. Did you know you can make a waterfall effect by slowly drizzling blue dye over a white egg or a “tie-dye” effect by dipping different parts of your egg in different colors? I passed these tricks and others I learned along the way to my own kitchen table, but now I’m using natural dyes instead of those fizzy tabs. A little extra work, yes, but oh so worth it.
A few basics to start:
- Don’t use aluminum or iron pans to boil your eggs. Stainless steel is ideal.
- Your hard-cooked eggs should be room temperature before coloring.
- Without getting too scientific, the hard-boiled eggs need something to help the dyes adhere to them, so each recipe below calls for two tablespoons of white vinegar.
L E T’ S C O L O R
Light pink – one of my faves. Cranberry juice does the trick here. Soak egg for a few minutes or 10 minutes for a deeper pink.
Brick red – the result of soaking your egg in 5 tablespoons paprika mixed with one cup water.
Bluish Gray – you might assume a purple egg comes from sitting an egg in purple grape juice, but it’s a gorgeous blue-gray.
Deep purple – face it, no one wants to waste a good glass of wine, but fill a coffee mug 3/4 full and dunk an egg in it. Pour yourself a glass while waiting for desired color.
Brown – don’t be surprised if your kids want a brown Easter egg. We’re not talking my brother’s muddy brown here, but more a sienna brown. Rest your egg in a cup of extra strong coffee.
Robin egg blue – Mix one cup frozen blueberries with one cup water. Bring to room temperature and strain berries.
Yellow – My other fave, yellow is the color of optimism and the sun of course. Simmer 4 chopped carrots in 3 cups water for 15 minutes. Strain and bring to room temp.
Bright red – Chop 2 beets and boil in one quart of water. Simmer for 30 minutes and strain. The resulting red eggs are well worth the time on this one.
Green – Boil 4 cups spinach leaves and simmer for half an hour. This isn’t a dark green or a lime green, but a somewhere “in-between” green. This one takes a longer egg bath.
Have an Easter egg dying tip or tradition you love? Share it here. Happy Easter!