Dyeing eggs the natural way

June 27th, 2015 1:50 am

First Posted: 3/19/2013

Those who celebrate Easter and dye Easter eggs will want to know that now is the time to buy those eggs.

After many frustrating hours of peeling, or not being able to peel hard boiled and colored eggs, I finally did some research to make all our lives a bit less stressful.

Eggs have a long shelf life in the refrigerator if handled properly. First, eggs should only be purchased from a refrigerated case. Just like any other perishable food, they need to be refrigerated as soon as possible, like meat or diary foods.

Next, keep eggs in their original containers. It’s possible that the outside of the shells may be contaminated with salmonella. Always wash your hands when touching raw eggs and before touching something else.

If these steps are followed, raw eggs in the shell have a shelf life of three to five weeks.

For easier peeling, the egg board recommends that we use eggs that are seven to 10 days old. That means that we need to add eggs for dyeing on our grocery lists soon. This time allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.

Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

To peel a hard-boiled egg: Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Start to peel at the large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.

If left in the shell, hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated safely up to one week. Once peeled, eggs should be eaten that day.

Here are the directions to boil eggs from the Egg Board:

Place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by one inch. Heat over high heat just to boil. Remove from burner. Cover pan. Let eggs stand in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large). Drain immediately and serve warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate. If you plan to use the original container to drain colored eggs, wash egg cartons with hot soapy water to remove any possible bacteria.

If you use real dyed eggs for the Easter hunt, they must be prepared with care to prevent cracking the shells. If the shells crack, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Do not hide cracked eggs. Eggs should be hidden in places that are protected from dirt, pets and other sources of bacteria. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed two hours. The “found” eggs must be re-refrigerated and eaten within seven days of cooking, or discarded.

Eggs are reasonably priced, nutritious, and are an excellent source of protein. One large egg contains six grams of protein. Most of the protein is found in the egg white (3.6) and a considerable amount, (2.7) is in the yolk.

Here are some interesting natural dyes. Make the dye the night before.

Natural dyes for Easter eggs

Red cabbage leaves - Robin egg blue

Walnut shells - Dark red-brown

Orange peels - Light yellow

Yellow onion skins - Dark yellow or orange

Spinach - Light gold-green

Red beets - Light pink

Strong brewed coffee - Light brown

Grape juice - Light purple

Take a small amount of food material and place it in a pan, filled with 2 cups of cold water. Bring the water rapidly to a boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and cover, allowing dye to steep for 30 minutes.

Remove food material and place dye into containers and refrigerate.

When dye is cold, place hard-cooked eggs into dye. Leaving the eggs in the dye overnight in the refrigerator will give the deepest colors. Experiment to see what tints and shades are best. Remove the eggs from the dyes and dry on a metal cake rack.

Source: http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/youth/naturaldyes.shtml