Everything Easter Eggs

(Toledo News Now) - Everything Easter Eggs!

The Easter egg is the symbol of new life and represents the rejuvenation of the spring season.  Coloring eggs is a fun activity that can create life-long memories for your family.  Have fun this Easter season and go Natural, retro, or wild with your egg decorating!  Below you'll find a guide to making the perfect hard-cooked eggs and great options for decorating those eggs.

  1. Making hard cooked eggs
  2. Natural dyes
  3. Retro dyes
  4. Egg safety

The perfect hard-cooked egg:  Eggs that are a few days old are easier to peel once cooked, so buy your eggs about a week in advance of cooking.  Note: Save your empty egg carton for storing your colored eggs in the refrigerator.

  1. Gently place eggs in a single layer of a large saucepan.
  2. Add cold water to cover about 1-inch above eggs.
  3. Bring to a GENTLE boil on high heat, let cook 30-60 seconds.  Remove from heat and cover.  Let eggs stand covered for 18 minutes (for large eggs; 21 minutes for extra large eggs, 15 minutes for medium size eggs).
  4. Pour off water and add cold tap water to immediately cool eggs (alternately use an ice water bath).
  5. Once cooled, eggs are ready for decorating!

Natural Dyes:  If you are adverse to artificial colors, or you just want to do a fun food-science experiment with your family, you may want to decorate your eggs using natural dyes.  Pigments from foods provide a subtle to vibrant range of colors.

  1. In a sauce pan add dye stuff (see color chart below) and water to cover about 1-inch above dye material. (Use at least one cup water.)
  2. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Allow to simmer 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the intensity of the dye color that you desire.
  4. Allow to cool slightly – then transfer to a bowl or measuring cup (large enough to use for coloring eggs) using a colander or mesh strainer to remove dye stuff from liquid.  Add 2 – 3 tsp. white vinegar, for each cup liquid, to dye liquid.
  5. Add eggs to dye liquid and allow to sit until desired color is achieved.  A few minutes for pale colors to a half hour or more for intense colors.

Color                     Dye Material (note:  add vinegar to all dyes, boiled or not)

Blue                       Canned blueberries (no need to boil)

Red cabbage leaves

Purple grape juice (no need to boil)

Deep Orange        Chili Powder or Paprika (use about 2-3 Tbsp. per 1 C water, boil)

Lighter orange:  Yellow onion skin, boil

Gold                       Ground Turmeric (use about 2-3 Tbsp. per 1 Cup water, boil)

Green                    Spinach leaves (boiled)

Pink                       Beets, fresh cranberries, raspberries (boil)

Cranberry juice (no need to boil)

Red                        Pomegranate juice (no need to boil)

Canned cherries (with syrup)

Red Onion Skins (boiled, use several skins)

Purple                    Red wine (no need to boil)

Beet juice

Yellow                   Ground Cumin (use about 2-3 Tbsp. per 1 Cup water, boil)

Carrot tops (boiled)

Retro Dyes: Back in the 1970's the best method for coloring Easter eggs was to use food coloring found on the shelf in the spice aisle.  McCormick makes both traditional color dyes and neon color dyes to increase your retro decorating options.

  1. Boil water.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 tsp. white vinegar and 10 to 20 drops of food color (to achieve desired color intensity).  Repeat for each dye color.
    1. To make purple, use 10 drops red dye and 4 drops blue
    2. To make orange, use 17 drops yellow dye and 3 drops red
    3. For more color options visit McCormick's Color Creator at http://www.mccormick.com/Products/Extracts-and-Food-Colors/FoodColors.aspx
  3. Dip hard cooked eggs in dye and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until desired color is achieved.
  4. To personalize eggs, use a crayon to write on eggs before adding to dye liquid
  5. To paint eggs:  Mix 20 drops of color with 1/2 tsp. white vinegar in a small container. Use a paint brush to decorate eggs.

Wild Dyes:  You can purchase egg dying kits that give you a variety of options for creating unique Easter eggs – for example (all available at Meijer):

R.J. Rabbit's Bright & Shiny Egg Decorating Kit (produces a shiny, foil-like appearance)

R.J. Rabbit's Candy Apple Easter Eggs (creates a bright, shiny surface and smells like candy apples!)

PAAS Craft Activity Easter Egg Decorating Kit (stickers, glitter, stencils and more!)

Dudley's Press and Print Easter Egg Stamp Kit

Easter Egg Safety:
  1. Use only food grade dyes for eggs that you plan to eat.
  2. Do not allow eggs intended for eating to sit at room temperature for more than two hours.  (Some people use colored eggs for decorative purposes only).
  3. If using eggs for an egg hunt:  Keep eggs refrigerated until you are ready for the hunt.  Wash eggs and get back into the refrigerator within two hours.  Do not use eggs that have cracked shells for egg hunts.
    1. Do not hide eggs in areas that have been treated with chemical pesticides or fertilizers or in areas where animals roam. 
    2. Properly refrigerated hard-cooked eggs will keep for 7 days in the refrigerator.  Use for egg salad sandwiches or top green salads with cooked eggs.