Easter egg 101
The humble little chicken egg takes centre stage each spring as Easter draws near. Dyed and bedazzled, the egg finds its way into centerpieces, baskets, and even a celebratory braided loaf of bread !
Why the egg is so synonymous with Easter is a bit of a mystery. Some say it has to do with the notion of rebirth, others say the egg represents the tomb where Jesus lay for three days before he rose from the dead. It could simply be because in Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lenten days leading up to Easter. After 40 long eggless days, it was a treat to be allowed to once again eat an egg or two!1
Whatever the reason, it appears that the egg as a symbol of Easter is here to stay. So why not embrace tradition, have a little fun and decorate the perfect Easter egg this season?
There are lots of different techniques for dyeing eggs, so choose what works best for you, keeping the age and abilities of anyone helping in mind. You can either hard boil your eggs prior to decorating, or use the “blow out” method, where you pierce the top and bottom of the egg, stick a skewer inside to swirl up the contents inside then blow it all out one of the holes using a rubber ear syringe.
According to the American Egg Board, you should keep safety in mind when dyeing Easter eggs. If you’re hard-boiling your Easter eggs and plan to eat them at some point, make sure not to keep them out at room temperature for more than 2 hours maximum. Also, use food-grade dyes like the food coloring you use to tint icing.
Real Simple has an easy dye recipe using things you probably already have in your kitchen:
- ½ cup of boiling water
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Liquid food coloring (about 20 drops per color)
Simply mix all ingredients together, put your cooled hardboiled eggs on a spoon and dunk, turning so all sides get nicely colored. Keep your eggs in the dye for at least five minutes or longer if you want a darker shade. Dry your dyed eggs on a wire rack to minimize contact and keep the eggs as neat as possible.
You can use this recipe for blown eggs too, but since they float it makes it a little bit more difficult. You could put on a pair of rubber gloves and hold the egg under water, or try this trick: half fill a paper cup that’s smaller than the container holding the dye solution with water, put your egg in the dye, then gently put the paper cup on top of the egg to keep it submerged for as long as required.
As far as technique goes, the sky’s the limit! Check out Martha Stewart’s suggestions for wax resist, masked designs, and marbleizing all using dyes . Martha also has some beautiful suggestions for ways to embellish your eggs once you’ve finished dyeing them. She uses glitter, decals, stencils, crepe paper and even yarn to turn ordinary eggs into something simply eggs-traordinary! Once your bevy of eggie beauties is dry and they’ve all been dolled up and decorated, add them to baskets and table settings, or hang them from branches for an Easter egg tree!
Enjoy, and Happy Easter!
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