The latest trend this year during Easter has been natural dying of Easter Eggs. Using foods like red cabbage, onion skins berries, herbs and fruit your Easter eggs will take on a beautiful hue with these very simple effects! Plus find ways to get a beautiful grains or patterns on the eggs!
This is one of those things that I had always wondered about. Dying eggs is an age old tradition and usually involve brightly coloured artificial dyes. I have used them in the past and they give the eggs a vivid, gorgeous look. Each egg looks perfectly uniform and bright.
But these naturally coloured eggs are beautiful with their imperfections. With lines, and ridges these eggs are the polar opposite of the artificially dyed ones. The colours aren't as vivid (although they can get quite deep if you steep them overnight) but the beauty in these eggs is in how unusual each egg is.
I found the fastest food for dying was blueberries. It gave the eggs a gorgeous hue almost straight away. But my favourite combination was red cabbage that turns the eggs a teal blue and a coriander leaf pattern. Other fruit like pomegranate juice gave the eggs a bubbly surface (I added a bit too much vinegar) and little difference in colour. The red wine I used was interesting because it included the residue and that gave it a spotty pattern. All of my eggs were light brown and I do think that if you used white eggs your egg dying venture, it might be more successful. The vinegar is added to help the egg shells absorb the colour better - use 1/2 a teaspoon of white vinegar for every 1/2 cup of liquid. Each egg turns out unique, even in the same batch the patterns emerge differently for each egg.
That reminds me of a time I enrolled in a pottery class with Nina. I love buying plates and bowls and my favourite ones are the handmade ones where there are slightly odd proportions or marks-character marks I call them. There I was trying to shape a bowl (and being pretty terrible at it). But after a lot of effort I finally got the bowl to a thin shape and then purposely gave the bowl a little pouring spout. You know what it's like as a cook where you want a nice spout to pour your eggs or liquid? Well the teacher came over, shook his head and reshaped my bowl before I had a chance to protest. He tsked at my spout-to him the spout was a mistake but to me the spout was exactly what I wanted. And I never went back to collect his bowl because it no longer felt like mine!
So tell me Dear Reader, are you drawn to handmade things? Have you tried dying things with natural food based colours? Which colour do you think worked out best?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
- 2 dozen hard boiled eggs
For purple eggs: simmer 1 cup blueberries with 1 cup water and mash the blueberries. Add in 2 teaspoons vinegar. Steep the eggs in the mix for at least 1 hour or overnight.
For yellow eggs: Mix 1 tablespoon powdered turmeric with 1.5 cups boiling water. Add in 3 teaspoons vinegar. Steep the eggs in this mix for at least 2 hours or 4-6 hours.
For blue eggs: simmer 400g chopped red cabbage with 2 cups water for 10 minutes. Add 4 teaspoons vinegar. Boil the eggs in the cabbage mix for 30 minutes and then steep at least 6 hours or overnight.
The residue in the wine creates the pattern
For dark brown eggs: simmer 3 cups red wine. Add in 6 teaspoons vinegar. Steep the eggs in the mix for at least 6 hours or overnight.
For leaf pattern variation: wet a coriander leaf, stick it to an egg, wrap it in a square of muslin and then tie with string and simmer it in the colour liquid for 20 minutes and then steep it overnight. This works best with the blue eggs.
For mottle pattern variation: wrap egg in onion skin and then wrap in a square of muslin and then tie with string and soak in colour liquid.
Tip: rub in a little oil afterwards if you prefer a glossy finish or you can keep them matte.
Fail-pomegranate juice eggs