Paas is so…predictable. What’s far more intriguing in terms of egg-dyeing escapades (not to mention far more natural and, we think, safe for staining little hands) is eschewing the expected tablets of fizzy colors and instead embracing kitchen scraps. The half pot of coffee left from this morning. That tin of musty turmeric. A bag of frostbitten blueberries. Even that half glass of wine that went undrunk last night (for shame!). Each takes on new meaning in tandem with vinegar, water, and eggs, creating a muted, pastel-ish, natural hue.
We snooped around our kitchens after borrowing inspiration–and a nifty red beet-dying trick–from Leslie Jonath, author of At the Farmer’s Market With Kids. Then we tinkered with all manner of ingredients languishing in our kitchens to come up with some really swell dyes–and we’ve got the stained fingertips to prove it. We’ve listed almost enough swell ideas below to fill an egg carton, although don’t let our faves squash your curiosity–or your creativity.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC What the Kids Can Do Note
Lest you get caught up in your second childhood and start monopolizing the culling of ingredients, author Leslie Jonath notes that kids, too, ought to be a part of the entire process, not just the dipping and dyeing, by helping to assemble and prepare the ingredients. Just like they do when it comes time to make dinner. Can’t argue with that logic.
Special Equipment: Patience. Lots and lots of patience.
Dyed Easter Eggs Recipe
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes, not including cooling | Makes as many as you'd like
- Eggs, preferably white and not brown
- White (distilled) vinegar
- Cold water
- Dye ingredients (ideas follow, but feel free to follow your instincts and go all zany)
- 1. To prepare the eggs, place them in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for 20 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the water and pat them dry. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- 2. To prepare the dyes, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar and the dyeing ingredient for the desired color. Return the water to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully strain the dyeing liquid into a bowl or wide-mouth jar, discarding the solids. Let the liquid dye cool. Repeat with each dyeing ingredient.
- 3. To dye the eggs: When both the eggs and the dyeing liquid are cool, add an egg or two to each bowl of dye. Set aside, turning occasionally, until the desired hue is achieved. (Naturally, the longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the more robust the color. Depending on the desired color, the eggs may need only a few minutes, maybe 2 hours, sometimes even overnight.) Transfer the eggs to a plate lined with a paper towel or return them to their egg carton until dry to the touch.
- Red Beets for Magenta to Red Eggs
- Use 6 medium red beets, grated, or 4 cups chopped canned beets. (For true red, use brown eggs. This dye works best when hot, so reheat it as needed.)
- Red Cabbage for Blue Eggs
- Use 4 cups chopped red cabbage, 4 additional cups water, and 3 additional tablespoons white vinegar.
- Garam Masala for Caramel Eggs
- Use 3 to 4 tablespoons garam masala (an Indian staple that’s a blend of up to 12 spices).
- Blueberries for Lavender Eggs
- Use 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries.
- Coffee for Mocha Eggs
- Substitute strongly brewed coffee for the full amount of water.
- Red Wine for Burgundy to Purple Eggs
- Substitute red wine for the full amount of water. (Not your best Cabernet Sauvignon, mind you. Any plonk will do. And bear in mind, the egg will turn a darker shade as it dries…sort of like that splotch of Carmenere on your rug.)
- Curry Powder for Pale Yellow Eggs
- Use 3 to 4 tablespoons curry powder.
- Turmeric for Vibrant Yellow Eggs
- Use 3 to 4 tablespoons ground turmeric. (Wipe the excess ground spice from the eggs with a damp cloth after extricating them from the dye.)
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
Dyed Easter Eggs Recipe © 2012 Renee Schettler Rossi. Photo © 2012 Sheri Giblin. All rights reserved.