Easter has always been an important day for my family. The true meaning of Easter is of course to remember the resurrection of our Lord. Many families miss church on Easter Sunday to get ready for that big family Easter egg hunt, but we never did.
Many fond memories are in my heart as Easter approaches. I think of my dear late Mother even more on Easter, because she enjoyed it so much. Mama always made sure we had new Easter clothes to wear to church on Easter Sunday, even if she did not. She taught us the true meaning of Easter. And although the "Easter Bunny" did visit us each year leaving us lots of goodies in our Easter Basket, he left me my very first big Bible, reminding me that Jesus, not the Easter Bunny, is what Easter is all about. In our Easter basket every time, along with the candy, was a couple of dyed Easter eggs.
When I got older, Mama let me help her color the Easter eggs. And when my children were old enough, she taught them. We've always used the store bought egg dying tablets or food coloring. But a few years ago I ran across the idea of using vegetables and spices from the kitchen instead.
Now I adore anything homemade! Coloring eggs with vegetable scraps is fascinating to me. But when you think about it, it really makes sense. Take beets, for instance. They stain anything they come in contact with, from cutting boards to kitchen counters to fingers. But there are other vegetables that will work and some spices have concentrated color that makes a wonderful dye.
The original color of the egg will alter the effect, in that darker eggs will yield a deeper or even a different color. Since our eggs now are several different colors because we have different breeds of chickens, I can't wait to see what we end up with after they are dyed.
Here's a list of foods and spices along with the color egg they will give you:
- Beets make white eggs pink or brown eggs maroon
- Red or Purple Onion Skins make lavender or red eggs
- Yellow Onion Skins make white eggs orange or brown eggs rusty red
- Purple Cabbage makes white eggs blue but brown eggs green
- Spinach makes eggs green
- Cumin makes eggs yellow
- Turmeric makes yellow eggs
- Paprika makes orange eggs
To make the dye, shred the vegetables and add 4 cups of the shredded vegetables to 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature, cover, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, until a deep color is achieved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before straining the liquid.
With spices, add 2 tablespoons of the spice to 1 quart of water. It is not necessary to boil the spice and water mixture--simply heat through and allow to steep. Colored teas will also work. Just steep as you normally would for drinking.
To help the eggs soak up the color, stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the dye before using.
(Once, I got the bright idea to save myself a step and I boiled the eggs in with the vegetables. That didn't work for 2 reasons: the white of the egg was dyed too but also the eggs were too hard, so don't do that.)
A single dipping will not color your eggs much with this dye. The eggs will need to soak for awhile. I lay my eggs in a single layer in a glass casserole dish and pour the colored liquid over the eggs making sure they are submerged in the homemade dye. Refrigerate. Allow the eggs to stay in the liquid as long as it takes to achieve the color you want. Taking a few out at different stages will give you different shades of the same color.
After the eggs are dyed, drain and dry them well with a paper towel and rub them with a little vegetable oil so they will really shine.