We are proud of the egg colors that we're getting here at Porch Swing. But - Easter is a comin'. When I was a kid, we'd buy special grocery store eggs - white ones - to dye for easter. I'm not sure why we never tried to dye the brown eggs from our farm. So - for Easter this year - I thought I'd give it a try.
Our egg palette is growing (and Aaron is furiously plotting genetic combos to create new colors) but there are certain colors of eggs that the girls just don't do. Let's take a look at what we ended up with and then we'll get into the how.
We started with ones like these
I hadn't ever tried natural dyes - ones created from fruits and vegetables. And I think they worked really well.
I used 3 different dyes - beets, blackberries and onion skins.
Here's the dye from the beets:
I chopped one medium beet and put it in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. I cooked for 15 minutes or so and then strained it.
Similarly, I used about a cup of yellow onion skins and a cup of blackberries, each with 2 cups of water. Same method.
I put each dye into a stainless or glass bowl. The container should be tall and deep so that the eggs can be submerged.
And you're asking - what's the best way to boil those eggs before I dye them so that they are actually edible after I've done all this work? Do I have the method for you!
In a medium saucepan, add about 1" of water. Bring it to a good boil. While you're waiting, in a steamer - the one that looks like a UFO - gently place a dozen eggs. Don't layer them.
When that water is boiling, CAREFULLY lower the steamer into the water. You can turn the water off for this step and then bring it back to a boil.
When the steamer is in place, cover the pot and return it to a boil. Set the time for 12 minutes. This will get you boiled eggs - the yolk will be just a little soft in the middle. Cook longer if you
want them truly hard boiled - go for 20 if you love that green circle around the yellow. Prepare a mixing bowl of ice water.
When the time goes off, turn off the heat and move the eggs to the ice water. Carefully, of course. let them chill for 5 minutes before dying.
Here they are chillin'.
Did I mention that they peel easy? They do. And they won't look like weird white craters when you're done.
The dye will take some time to develop. Patience, Iago. Put 3 or 4 eggs in each color and stick the containers in the fridge. Not a bad idea to put a lid on them to avoid spillage or evaporation. Leave them in overnight.
Gently, remove them from the dye with tongs or a slotted spoon. I used my fingers, but I love living on the edge. Place on a wire rack positioned over a cookie sheet.
Honest talk here - I had to do the dye part twice. The bloom from the eggs - a coating that our eggs have because they come straight from the chickens - interfered with it the first try. So - I dyed and rinsed/wiped the eggs and then dunked them again.
And - I think - they were worth the wait. Happy Easter to all!