Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A More Natural Way To Color Easter Eggs

I always looked forward to Easter growing up.  Anytime the family could get together was something to celebrate.  My grandma, mom and aunts can cook dishes that will always make you come back for more.  Years later I would pack up my own girls up loaded down with colored eggs and pumpkin rolls.  We'd head off  to someones house knowing it would be a fun Sunday. 

My girls would get so excited when I announced it was time to color Easter eggs.  I never cared for using store bought dyes though.  The liquid seeps through the shell leaving me sceptical .  Does the die harm the cooking prospects of the egg?   Any answer you fnd will go either way.  Some say yes, others say no.  Anything that contained a man made dye didn't seem the best idea for me. I didn't feel it was safe to allow my daughters to eat the hard boiled eggs that have been dye infested.  I needed to find a reassuring way to tint the hunted treasures. 

Boiling eggs to stain requires a little more thought than preparing one for breakfast.  Place the eggs in a large pan.  Make sure they are in a single lay and cover with cold water at least 2 inches above your product.  Allowing the temperature to reach a boiling level slowly will keep the eggs from cracking.  Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.  This will concede a deeper tint to the egg.  Once the water begins to boil reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  If you prefer a nice shinny egg rub it down with vegetable oil once it is fully cooked.

I remember spreading the newspaper over the table and setting out the bowls of dye.   The clutter that had to be cleaned up afterward was messy .  Adding a stain to the egg can be done two different ways which are both more orderly.  One ways is to add the colorant directly to the boiled water leaving the eggs immersed until the liquid cools.  Another ways is to add the cooled eggs to treated water and refrigerate overnight.  Adding your ingredients directly to the boiling eggs is a quicker method.  You'll need several pots to create different colors though.  Either way the advantage of using natural products, especially if you prefer cooking with the remaining hard boiled eggs, makes this a more conventional project. 

You can use frozen products, fresh products or even purchased juices.  It's up to you how much additive is required.  The more additive the richer the brilliance of your egg.  Here are my favorite products using a few staples I know I already have:

Brown - Coffee
Green - Spinach
Violet - Blueberries or Grape Juice
Red - Cranberries or Red Onion Peels
Yellow - Orange or Lemon

These are just a few of the ideas I've used over the years.  I have located the following website,  http://www.plantea.com/Easter-eggs-natural-dyes.htm which will offer more ideas.  Tip though, stay away from any non-edible alternative if you intend to use you eggs after the hunt is over.

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