One of my favourite childhood memories is from when my family would go to our cabin in Nanoose Bay for the Easter long weekend. My sister and I would wake up and run outside to search for all the eggs and other goodies that the Easter Bunny had hidden the night before. I can only remember a few times that we used real hard boiled eggs that we had dyed a couple days beforehand (probably because we didn't always find them all and we'd come back the the house to find rotten eggs a month later). Regardless or how frequently I used the kits, I am not a big fan of soaking eggs in random chemicals that I'm not even allowed to know the names of (I was unable to find a list of ingredients for commercial egg dyes), so I decided to use some common household foods to dye my easter eggs.
Here's what you'll need:
- white eggs
- red cabbage
- white vinegar (optional)
- stockings (you'll have to be okay with cutting them up)
- flowers and leaves for imprinting
- a stove or other heat source
First, I hard boiled my eggs (you can do this in whatever method you prefer). I let them cool overnight since I started this project pretty late.
The next morning I chopped up about half a head of red cabbage. It might have been too much, but better too much than too little!
Two medium beets (skin on):
And about a tablespoon of turmeric from a container that has been sitting in my cupboard since as long as I can remember.
Some other options for dyes that I didn't use are:
- spinach - a pale robins egg blue
- carrots - golden yellow
- frozen blueberries - mauve
In separate pots I boiled the beets and cabbage until they were both fully cooked to get as much of the colour out (and so I could eat them for lunch).
I then strained the liquid into a couple jars, and I mixed the turmeric in some tap water. To each of the jars I added a splash or two of white vinegar (about a teaspoon per 250ml of dye).
While the vegetables were cooking I cut up a (clean) old pair of stockings and picked some leaves from the garden. I wanted to try imprinting on the eggs. To do this all you have to do is place the leaf (or flower) flat against the egg and wrap the stocking around it in a single layer, tying it tight enough so that you can't move the leaf around. I used some clover, current leaves, lemon balm, and valerian.
Once the dye had cooled enough that it wouldn't keep cooking my eggs, I gently placed them into the jars, and the jars went into the fridge.
I went on with my day and forgot about them. The next morning I pulled out all of my fancy eggs.
The first thing I noticed was that a layer of the shell seemed to be dissolving. One I rinsed them off and got the bits of shell off I was left with some beautiful pastel Easter eggs!
The imprinting turned out quite nicely as well.
Next time I would either omit the white vinegar, or take them out sooner.
PS These are totally safe to eat as long as they aren't left out of the fridge for too long.