The Easter holidays allow plenty of time to prepare an enjoyable Easter surprise for your loved ones. Home-dyed eggs. According to Greenpeace more than half of the Easter egg colours offered in supermarket dyeing-kits are problematic to health, suggesting as many as 29 out of 54 products contain substances that may be bad for us.
"Substances in the paints that are hazardous to health do not belong in Easter nests and certainly not in children's hands. To still produce and sell these products is unnecessary and irresponsible," said Lisa Panhuber, Greenpeace in Austria.
So rather than indulge in unnecessary additives why not utilise ingredients and/or vegetable peelings that you have at home anyway. Eggs can be easily coloured naturally with the following spices and foods:
Turmeric is indispensable for curries. Depending on the quantity, this spice gives Easter eggs a yellow colour ranging from light to bright.
The skins of beetroot or red onions give the eggs an appropriate colour. Raspberry juice can also be used for a pastel pink.
For a blue wonder in the Easter nest, blueberries or blueberry juice or red cabbage can be used. The outer leaves of the cabbage head are usually removed anyway, so don't throw them away, dyeing eggs is a great use of leftovers.
If you want to dye green eggs, use spinach, nettles (which you can collect yourself) or matcha green tea leaves.
Recycled coffee grounds. You can read the future or simply dye eggs. Yellow onion skins or black tea will also create brown hues.
Dyeing eggs naturally – how it's done
First of all, three recommendations:
- Eggs should be cleaned with vinegar water or lemon juice before dyeing, as they will take the colour better.
- Organic free-range eggs are best for dyeing as they generally have a thicker and firmer shell.
- When dyeing, use kitchen gloves and a pot where it does not matter if dye residue remains. Be careful with the dyes, as the colours can be hard to remove from clothing!
Dyeing with colour decoctions
The preparation of the coloured liquid depends on whether you use dried ingredients or fresh produce (such as vegetables) for dyeing. Dried ingredients must be soaked in water (preferably overnight) before using.
- Take a sufficient amount of your colouring agent (guideline for two litres of water: 500g fresh produce or 30-100g dried produce or 5 teaspoons of powder) and boil it in the water. Simmer for about 50 minutes.
- Allow the decoction to cool down completely. Various additives – such as alum – can be added to intensify the colour. Acids such as vinegar or lemon juice will lighten the colour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the eggs (clean them as described above and hard-boil them). After boiling, rinse the eggs and place them in the colouring liquid for at least 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the colour and remove the eggs when they have taken on the desired hue.
- Finally, rub the eggs with bacon fat or with a neutral cooking oil (put a few drops on a paper towel). This gives the Easter eggs a radiant shine.
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