Baskets of beautiful, colorful dyed eggs are a symbol of spring. There’s no need to buy one of those supermarket egg dying kits. You can find your dye materials in the produce aisle or in your kitchen cupboard. Just break out your white apron, boil up some eggs and start dyeing!
Gently place your eggs in the bottom of a stock pot in a single layer. Don’t pile them up, because they will knock against each other when they boil and shells will crack. If you have too many eggs for one pot, use a second pot or boil two batches. Add cold water to the pot so that there is about an inch of water on top of the eggs. Cover the pot and turn the heat on high. When the eggs come to a full boil, turn the heat off and leave the pot on the burner. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes in the hot water, and then remove them from the pan. Allow them to cool completely before dyeing. It’s a good idea to cook the eggs the day before so that they are cool when you begin. If any of the shells have cracked during cooking, don’t use these for dyeing. Set them aside for egg salad!
Keep it Natural
Coloring eggs with natural dyes is a bit more work than popping those little tablets into a few coffee cups, but they make such different and dramatic colors that the extra effort is worth it. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the darker the colors will be, and you can leave them in overnight for very dark, rich shades. Don’t forget to wear your white apron to keep the colors on the eggs and off your clothes!
You will need a stainless steel, enamel or other non-reactive pan for each separate color. Do not use an uncoated cast iron! Chop your dye materials into small pieces or grind them in a food processor, then place them in the pan. Add a tablespoon of vinegar and two cups of water to each pan. Simmer your dye baths for about 20 minutes. If you want uniform looking eggs, put the dye baths through a strainer, but if you put the eggs in with the vegetable pieces, they will come out with an interesting mottled effect. You can get these colors from the following materials:
- chopped beets
- Red Zinger tea
- chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
- onion skins
- chamomile tea
- crushed fresh or frozen blueberries
Chopped red cabbage gives a blueish purple color. Leftover coffee will dye eggs brown. You can mix these primaries to create other colors, such as red and yellow for orange, yellow and blue for green, and red and blue for purple.
You can achieve a very cool mottled look by wrapping onion skins around uncooked eggs and securing them lightly with rubber bands. Cook the eggs in cold water, as you would for hard boiled eggs, but add two tablespoons of vinegar to the water. Let them sit until the water is cool or overnight for a dark reddish yellow color.
You can use food coloring to dye your eggs, but the professional icing colors sold in craft stores produce much brighter, stronger colors than the little bottles from the grocery store. You can buy the four pack that comes with red, yellow, blue and brown and mix other colors from these, or you can buy pre-mixed colors. You can also use them to color icing, too!
After putting on your white apron, get out some coffee mugs, one for each color, and add half a cup of hot tap water to each cup, plus half a tablespoon of vinegar. Dip a toothpick into the pot of icing color and dig out a bit of coloring. Add this to the mug and stir to mix. If the dye doesn’t look dark enough, add more color. Repeat for each color you want to make. Place a hard boiled egg in each cup and let them sit in the dye for 10 or 15 minutes or longer for stronger colors.
Shaving Cream Dye
This one is really fun! In addition to your white apron, you might want to get some food server’s gloves for this one. Buy some cheap shaving cream and spread it out on a cookie tray. Dot small bits of food coloring over the surface of the shaving cream, and then swirl the color around with toothpicks. You can use different colors, but don’t add more than three, or it could turn into a muddy brown. Roll cool, dry, hard boiled eggs in the shaving cream, and then set on a plate or cooling rack for at least five minutes to allow color to set. Wipe off shaving cream to reveal lovely, swirly dyed eggs!
Whether you are dyeing Easter eggs, frosting cookies or making dinner, a quality white apron can save your clothing from kitchen disasters. Whether you’re a home cook or a restaurant chef, check out Best Aprons’ collection of kitchen cover-ups to keep you clean.