Dye some pretty marbled Easter eggs today. They make a simple, natural centerpiece for your holiday table–and then you can eat them!
Of course, I have a lot of pre-colored eggs.
They just get laid that way. White, green, blue, and all shades of brown. My Ameraucana chickens are what are known as “Easter-eggers” because they lay pretty green and blue eggs. My duck lays white eggs, and the rest of my chickens lay brown ones–so I have a little of everything. Still, on Easter, a little extra splash of fun doesn’t hurt, and if all you have are white eggs, all the more fun!
To start, prepare the dye. You can use regular food coloring, or use natural dyes. For browns, use tea or coffee. For reds, use cherries, beets, or cranberries. For blue, blueberries. For yellow, turmeric or saffron. You can try other spices like paprika or chili powder for orangey colors. Spinach for green. Experiment! The important thing to remember about natural dyes is that it will take longer than if you use food coloring. You may need to soak the eggs overnight (or all day) in the dye liquid (in the refrigerator!). Whatever you use, boil the dye “source” –for vegetables and fruits, use a couple of cups, with water to cover. For spices, use one tablespoon per cup of water. Let cool. You can either strain out the vegetables/fruits from the dye water or just leave them in there if they’re not too much in the way. Add a splash of vinegar to the pot (to help the color adhere to the eggs).
You could add eggs and soak them as they are–or add some more fun and marble them. To make easy marbled eggs, boil the eggs then let cool. Try to not boil them so long they crack. (Sigh.)
Find some kind of wrapper–lettuce leaves, onion peels, potato peels, whatever you can find in your kitchen. I’m using cabbage leaves. Wrap the cooked eggs then put a rubber band around them to hold the wrapper in place. it doesn’t matter how you wrap them, completely or partly. Be random.
Place wrapped eggs in the bowl or pot with your dye. I made a red dye with cranberries. I soaked the eggs all day in the fridge.
For the blue, I used a food dye because I didn’t have any blueberries. Or spinach. Or any spices to spare. I wanted to play with at least two colors and I didn’t want to go to the store. (On the upside, the blue dye worked much faster. I used a small amount in a bowl and turned the eggs in the dye.) Natural dyes are, however, not only better for you, they’re so much more fun to play with. Remember that most anything that makes color in the pot when you’re cooking can be turned into a dye.
When you take the wrapped eggs out of the dye, let them drain a bit on paper toweling.
Then carefully remove the wrapping and let dry.
You’ll be left with an unpredictably funky marbled Easter egg where the wrapper has interfered with the dye. (Even more unpredictable if you’re working with eggs that are already colored naturally–I used a lot of eggs in various shades of brown and green.) I also second-dipped a few of the red ones in the blue.
I’m using my smaller wire egg basket with green raffia. I like raffia so much better than plastic Easter grass. It looks more natural and can be re-used for other crafts. You can do all sorts of other things with rubber band marks or wax drops–use your imagination and don’t fall for those Easter egg “kits” at the store. Go homemade! And don’t try to be perfect. I don’t like Easter eggs that are too fancy or manicured. The marbled, funky look is my favorite. (And you can’t mess it up!)
I put my marbled eggs together in a basket with some of my “plain” boiled eggs (colored as they came out of the chicken) and my Easter table centerpiece is ready.
P.S. Don’t forget to keep your boiled/colored eggs in the fridge until you’re setting the table for dinner!