It's a bit tough thinking about Easter egg hunts when the weather outside is as frigid as it has been this spring. Spring, can anyone believe that according to the calendar spring is here. I'm thinking that this cold weather demands alternative indoor activities, ones held over steaming pots where the only mittens needed are oven mitts.
Let's dye some eggs.
The “Marvin Stewart” of our household has always had a knack for sucking us in to his Tom Sawyer-esque activities. Here's how our egg dying ritual usually goes. Rick has Emmy donate a couple of pairs of old panty hose from her underwear drawer while I scavenger around for a pair of scissors. Earlier in the day we'd make our way to the grocery store and stocked up on organic eggs, some herbs chosen for the graphic possibilities of their leaves, and then our dying agents: beets, onions and black berries. We also buy a gallon jug of white vinegar and a collection of rubber bands. Other than some big pots and a couple of big spoons our equipment and ingredients would be pretty much in place for, what I have to admit, is an activity to make some of the most beautiful eggs you’ll ever see.
Prep is pretty simple consisting of cutting panty hose into four inch squares, slicing up some beets, pinching some leaves off of our herbs and stripping the skins off of some yellow onions. In separate pots we dumped our onion skins, cut up beets and black berries with a mixture of water and vinegar in a ratio of three parts water to one part vinegar. Then it was on to the stove with our sloshing pots where we cranked up the heat to high until the mixtures came to a boil.
While we were waiting for the water to boil we started placing some leaves on the squares of panty hose. We each add our own artistic touch but it was Emmy’s use of oregano spears that seemed to produce the best results. After the leaves were in place we gently laid the eggs down on the leaf and panty hose blankets, pulled the hose up tight around the eggs, and twisted and sealed the little Easter packages with a rubber band.
Our next step in our egg bondage routine is to cut off the excess nylon leaving the eggs look a band of comic bank robbers.
The last act is to drop the eggs into the pots and let them sit for a couple of minutes in the bubbling mixture. The denser the amount of dying agent and the longer the time left in the dye will produce the more intense colors. Once Rick had approved of our work he turned the heat off and covered the pots of the newly tattooed eggs. We left the eggs sit over night and when we woke in the morning we fished out the eggs, cut off the hose and blotted the eggs dry. The result was some of the most beautiful Easter eggs our home had ever seen.
Here's a list of some other natural dying agents you can use and the color result you can expect from the dying process
Cranberries = pale purple
Raspberries = lavender
Pomegranates = light red
Beets = pale pink
Turmeric = bright yellow
Red cabbage = dark blue
Coffee grounds = dark brown
Onion skins = sepia
Spinach = pale green
Blueberries = blue to purple
Hyper No8, 2007
Denis Darzacq, Photographer
Represented by Laurence Miller