Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Waiter There is Something in My...Easter Basket

Easter is only a short while away and Johanna at The Passionate Cook invites us to blog about Easter, Easter baskets, Spring, Passover and all the other ways that we celebrate the end of winter and the coming of new life. Well, that's the theme of Waiter There is Something in My...Easter Basket, but the focus is food. My basket holds brightly colored hard cooked eggs.

In my house, it wouldn't be Easter without Easter eggs. I love the chance to play with color and the egg is such a beautiful shape. After my recent fun with red food dye, I really thought that it would be a while before I ventured into food dye territory again, but I just had to make these eggs. So, with slightly blue and green splotches of dye on my fingers, I bring you the recipe for Easter Eggs, with comments and a series of photos to help you along the way. Hope you have fun with it!

You can also make a bread that looks like colored Easter eggs...perfect for someone who doesn't like real eggs...or sweet Easter treats. Check it out HERE.
Easter Eggs

Bring to a boil in cold water as many dozens of eggs as you wish to color. Once water has come to a boil, simmer the eggs for ten minutes. Turn off heat and cool, or turn into a colander and run cold water over until the eggs are cool. My Dad used to add a little Borax, about a ½ teaspoon) to the water before boiling. I think it was to keep the eggs from cracking.

Bring a tea kettle full of water to a boil. Set out one heat proof small cup…we used custard cups…for each dye color. Place 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar into each custard cup. Add 3-4 (or more if you are daring) drops food color to a cup for one color. Do the same for the next color in another cup. Repeat until you have different dyes in each cup. Fill custard cups half way up with boiling water.

To dye the eggs, place gently in the cup which has the color you want to dye the egg. You can also use a spoon to lower the egg into and lift the egg out of the dye. You can also use the spoon to swirl some the the dye bath on the part of the egg that sticks out of the dye, or turn the egg while it is dying for a more even color. You can dye the egg lightly in one dye, then slip it into another dye to make things like spring green, gold, or purple.

My Mom notes that my Dad used to love to do the Easter eggs, just as he loved to prepare for Christmas. Even when the children grew up, she says, he would make colored hard boiled eggs with names on them for those who would be visiting at Easter.

You can write or draw on dry eggs with crayons or plain wax right before you put them into the dye bath. The wax will resist the dye where you wrote or drew.

Store the eggs in the refrigerator in the cartons the eggs came in. Figure out (after the Easter egg hunt) how to use soooo many hard boiled eggs!

For Easter we would have an Easter egg hunt every year, either inside or out in the yard depending on the weather. When we were little, my Dad would hide them in the house late at night so we could find them first thing in the morning, sort of like coming down on Christmas morning to presents. My Dad always kept in touch with his inner child. After church and breakfast, he would hide them in the yard. Some would be easy to find, like on a car bumper, others would be well hidden. When some of us were older, we would do some of the egg hiding for him. It was always fun to see the expressions on the faces of the children as they found an egg…pure delight. When I had my own kids, I kept up with the tradition. We dyed eggs together, decorated them, at times, to within an inch of their life, and hid them for an egg hunt on Easter. If you have little ones around the house, give it a try. It’s sort of messy, so put down newspaper to catch the drips and wear aprons or old clothes, but have fun with it. You’ll never smell vinegar again without thinking ‘Easter eggs’.


  1. Anonymous10:06 PM

    This looks like real fun..and it's great to see people getting excited about Easter...and well for some more fun and joy also visit my blog on Easter Wishes and enjoy all that i've posted there!!!

  2. How fun! After reading this, I'm ready for Easter! My two business partners and families and Dad & I are going to do a picnic for Easter this year.

  3. You beat me to the post! You'll see my coloured eggs later tonight when I finally upload the pictures...

  4. unfortunately, egg dye is impossible to get here in the uk. i've experimented with natural colours this year, marigold, bilberries, rosebods... not with the desired effect. the bilberries were ok, actually.
    yours look beautiful, i'll get my mum to send some dye to save easter! thanks!

  5. awwww! what a great post! My parents did the same thing when we were young - we always woke up at the crack of dawn on Easter morning just like we did on Xmas morning! hehe

    I love the vibrant colors of your pretty eggs =)

    Ohhhh! And I need a favor from you, pretty please.. can you email me (lamiacucina67@gmail.com) with your email address, pretty please? =)


  6. david, your easter site is very cool, especially the suggested chocolate rabbits.

    anna, the picnic sounds like lots of fun. Want some hard cooked, colored eggs?

    brilynn, i'll have to check it out. sometimes great (hehheh) minds think alike.

    johanna, i've also tried it with natural dyes. red onion skins and yellow onion skins work pretty well. have you tried the pharmacy for dyes? when we did the red velvet thing that was one place where the red dye was found.

  7. My dad was like that at Christmas!
    For years after the kids were grown and gone Gorn & I have still dyed eggs for Easter...think I'll do that for our trip coming up. Not paying for those things they call "lunch" on the airplane now.

  8. tanna,
    great idea to use them on the plane. it's nice to remember fun times with dad. hope i keep my inner child going for a long time, too.

  9. I love the eggs.. and how vibrant they are! I haven't colored eggs in at least 20 years, I can't believe it's been that long - ugh!

    My hubbs was joking and asked me if I was going to hide eggs for him this year... I think I'll surprise him and do it! hehee

  10. lis, go for it! surprises can be fun.

  11. These look nice!
    Colouring Easter eggs together is a tradition in my family. We usually paint them using cotton buds. Cottonwool is also great to paint with to get patterns by gently touching the egg with a piece that's been tipped into food dye. Egg dye is always sold here in Estonia before Easter so that's never a problem.
    Traditionally we also colour the eggs by boiling them wrapped into onion peels and colourful yarn.

  12. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Such a simple thing, yet it is all about Easter for me too!

  13. evelin, i like the idea of using the cotton swabs...sort of like watercolor on eggs. i've tried the onion skins and that's pretty, but never thought of the colored yarn. must try!

    kristen, yes, simple but nice.

  14. This is such a lovely post Helen. I have always liked Easter but never had anything like what you describe.

  15. Glad to hear my family is not the only one addicted to Easter eggs, My kids like to experiment with getting gradations of color by double-dipping. After this post, I am getting out my vinegar!

  16. Anonymous7:35 AM

    i luv wat u posted on da site,i live 4 cookin' i thought i forgot how 2 dye eggs in da past 18 years you totally saved easter 4 me !! thanx.....

  17. Anonymous7:44 AM

    luv wat u posted i liv 4 kookin' i bassically forgot how 2 dye eggs,u totally saved my easter!!!thanx

  18. Johanna,

    I live in Ireland and it's hard to find dye here too. There's sometimes regular blue and red food coloring at the market. But this year since I couldn't find any, I used frosting paste. You should be able to find it at any baking supply store. Just use a touch and you'll have a strong dye.

  19. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Hiding the Easter Eggs in the yard was my Husbands favorite thing to do for the years that our grandchildren were young. As they got older they helped the younger ones. But now with my 7 Great Grandchildren they won't beable to experience the joy in their Great Grandfathers eyes. But the Grand children still talk about the places he tried to hide them..
    Make some wonderful memories of your own.