Monday, April 10, 2006

It's easter egg time!

I love dying eggs. When the girls were at home, we would get the dye and the wax and the bowls and all the cool stuff to dye eggs every year. We would come up with some very interesting looking eggs for deviled eggs or potato salad. Am I making you hungry #1, 2 or 3? Yep this year we're doing a few for deviled eggs.

I wanted to try something a bit different. I love natural dyes. I have been fascinated for years, and I'm going to buy one the next time I go to Flagstaff, with a woven wall art done by Native American artists showing the natural source for the color of the wool woven into the piece. I really like the fact that you don't have to go buy a special kit to make colored eggs.

Naturally dyed eggs can be fun. My favorite looking natural dye is onion skins. It gives the eggs a marbelized look. Here's a list of other items you can pull from the cupboard to color eggs.

Color Source (These amounts will color approximately 6 eggs):
Orange: Paprika, 4 tablespoons per quart of water
Blue: Red cabbage, about 4 cups, shredded, per quart of water
Red: Pomegranate juice in place of water OR 4 cups red onion skins
Pink: Cranberry juice in place of water OR 4 cups shredded beets per quart of
Green: Spinach (fresh or frozen), 4 cups per quart of water
Ocher: Onion skins, 4 cups of the dry outer skins
Mocha: 1 quart of strongly brewed coffee in place of water

How To:
There are two ways to color eggs with natural dyes: boiling and cold dipping.
Boiling allows dyes to penetrate the eggshell and results in darker, more even
colors. The cold-dip method can be better if you want to eat the eggs and
safer if children are helping out.
Boil Method:
Place 6-8 eggs in a single layer in a large pot and add enough water to cover
eggs by one inch. Add some white vinegar (2 tablespoons per quart of water).
Add dye ingredients (up to 4 cups vegetable solids or 3-4 tablespoons of a
colorful spice, like paprika or turmeric, per quart of water or replace water with
any all-liquid ingredient) and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for
20-30 minutes. The motion of the eggs in the boiling water ensures that the
color will be even on the egg. The resulting egg will be very hard-boiled and
inedible, as it picks up the flavor of the dye.

Cold-Dip Method:
Combine dye materials, vinegar,and water in the same proportions as the boil
method above, in a large pot. Simmer 20-30 minutes, then strain and cool. Dip
hard-boiled eggs in cold dye until desired color is achieved, soaking
anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours in the refrigerator. Turn eggs
occasionally to ensure even dyeing. Dry on paper towels or in egg cartons.

I tried a couple of others tonight. Blueberries and chili powder. The blueberry ones turned out almost black. The chili powder a slight tan color. In the daylight I will photograph them and post tomorrow.