Time to read: 1 minute, skimmable
Takeaway: Easter eggs and egg salad (5 minute prep) are simple and fun.
If you haven’t dyed eggs in a while, you’re missing out on an easy creativity outlet. Just last year I taught a guy in his mid-20s how to dye eggs for the first time and he admitted, almost sheepishly, he’d underestimated how much fun dying eggs can be.
After the pretty comes the practical: egg salad!
Boil: To dye the eggs, you could blow out the inside and dye them, but we’re going to save our breath and boil them. Rule no. 1 when boiling eggs to peel and eat is don’t use fresh eggs. Give them about a week to rest so the shell is easier to peel. See this page for a LOT of info about boiling eggs. My easy way?
- Eggs in a single layer with enough water to cover them with about an ½ of space around them (don’t crowd the pan)
- High until the water boils
- Turn off the burner
- Cover tightly with a lid
- Let them sit till the water is cool to your touch.
You can then peel them or put them in the fridge for peeling later.
Dying: I get nostalgic for boxes of PAAS but I’ve also used regular food dye very successfully. This year, I wanted to try something I saw my grandma do: use foods to dye the eggs. Almost anything that turns cooking water different colors can be used so you can re-use from what you cook if you plan well. I’ve copied a handy color guide below this post.
Boil or steep your dye “ingredients”, strain out the solids, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid. To get vibrant colors, leave them in the dye in the refrigerator overnight.
For each of these, we shredded or simply tore the ingredients and simmered them for about 5-15 minutes. The exception was the beets, which I boiled whole and then used the boiling water. (After I peeled the boiled beets, I cubed them, added some homemade yogurt, salt and pepper and we enjoyed a nice beet salad.)
The colors turned out nicely, particularly the red cabbage and red onion skins. The violets were interesting. The beet dye gave our eggs an interesting dapple–we aren’t sure why! Most disappointing were the periwinkle shoots and celery seeds which only succeeded in turning the water a yellowy brown and didn’t dye our eggs.
I’d dye eggs this way again, but if I dyed eggs this way with kids, I’d also add some food color dye baths for instant gratification along with the natural dye baths as we let our eggs soak for a few hours to get the deepest colors.
Now that you’ve enjoyed the eggs, assuming you haven’t left them out too long and the kiddos haven’t cracked them*, it’s time for egg salad!
2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped.
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard
1/2 teaspoon dry tarragon
salt and pepper to taste or about an 1/8 tsp of each
That’s it! Mix the eggs and the ingredients and enjoy on a bed of lettuce or between two slices of bread. Use more or less mayo and mustard depending on how you like it (before you put in too much remember you can always add more!) This egg salad was made with pastured eggs from Tony at Summerfield Farms and a few leaves of hydroponic Bibb lettuce from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.
*Don’t used cracked eggs! See this page for all the health precautions about leaving eggs out too long.
HAPPY SPRING & HAPPY EASTER!
Natural Easter Egg Dyes
|Lavender||Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea
|Violet Blue||Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice
|Green||Spinach Leaves (boiled)
|Greenish Yellow||Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)|
|Yellow||Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
|Golden Brown||Dill Seeds|
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
|Orange||Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Cranberries or Juice
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets
|Red||Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Canned Cherries with Juice