Thursday, March 7, 2013

Here Comes Peter Cottontail! It's Nearly Easter

Hopping down the bunny trail...
Hippety, hoppety, Easter's on its way!

And so it is. Easter is early this year, so if you'd like to do something a little different, it's time to get started. I'm making Easter baskets and remembering those nights before Easter when the kids were little when we used to color eggs. What a mess it made! It was fun, though. I didn't realize at the time how much more fun dying eggs with natural foods could be. 

If you want to try dying Easter eggs without having to buy the dye, here is what I finally figured out. First, you have to start now to save the various foodstuffs in time.

  • Get your Easter eggs ready to dye by washing in mild soap and warm water to remove any 'sealer' or residue.
    Longer boiling or soaking will make the color deeper.
  • Eggs keep better the longer they're boiled, anyway, and a half hour won't hurt them, texture or taste wise.
  • Use a teaspoon of vinegar to help set the dye in these. Add it at the same time you add the egg.
  • Make designs on eggs with plain crayons before coloring. You don't need a special clear wax crayon to decorate Easter eggs.
Easter egg colors and how to get them:
  • Light green - Save the water from canned or fresh cooked spinach and boil eggs in it, or pick a few dandelion leaves to boil them in.
  • Pale Yellow - Add carrot tops, celery seed or orange peel to water for boiling eggs.
  • Deep Yellow - Put ground turmeric in the water with boiling eggs, or use yellow onion skins to dye them a deep yellow.
  • Orange - Yellow onion skins, at least two cups full. Boil them for a half hour, then add eggs and boil until the eggs are done. If you don't have many, boil what you have in a small pan, with just enough water to cover an egg.
  • Tan - Coffee or tea.
  • Blue - Red cabbage leaves will dye eggs blue. Boil leaves in water, then use the cool liquid to dye boiled eggs. Or let the eggs set in juice drained from canned blueberries.
  • Pink - Use the liquid from canned or pickled beets, or boil along with a fresh beet, or chopped rhubarb stalks, red onion skins. Beets make an especially pretty Easter color.
  • Lavendar - Purple grape juice makes a good dye for a pretty Easter color.
  • Red - Red onion skins. This takes at least three cups full to a quart of water and you have to soak the eggs in it for a half hour or so after boiling. Red is a hard color to create with natural dyes.
  • Bright Yellow - Inner bark of apple tree bark. Scrape the bark into a pot of water and boil for a half hour or so. Don't use vinegar in this, but add a half teaspoon of alum to each quart when cool, to bring out the color. 

Experiment and have fun. As long as it's a food or food safe product, you don't have to worry about it hurting the Easter egg or the eater thereof!