I admit to throwing in a little red food coloring in my red velvet creations.
Frosting? Yup, the rainbow reduced to little plastic squeeze bottles goes in there too.
But there always seemed something so off about dying eggs for Easter in such a way. Though I’m neither a Christian nor a Jew, I grew up Catholic and have many beloved Jewish friends (and the culinary traditions are stellar). So the holidays of this time of year still mean, to me, a bit of a fresh start. The earth is starting to pour out beautiful things for us to eat again, and animals are popping out little ones by the baaa’ful (or neigh-ful or whatever). It’s a time of cleansing and self-reflection.
So, I set to making an Easter egg that not only looks beautiful and delicate and natural, but actually has some flavor benefit as well. Because why dye the outside of the egg if, when putting together a holiday plate, you can color the part that you eat and infuse some new flavors too? My mind quickly turned to… tea.
I drink a lot of tea. I own several items in which to brew it. I drink it by the potful as I type. One whole shelf of my (teeny tiny) pantry is devoted to it. I throw it into scones, cookies, cakes… delightfulness.
But can it dye eggs?
Yes, it can. Much more subtly (in the cracked, stain-glass versions) than bright pigments. But the colors are so soft and delicate and would seem perfectly at home nestled in baskets on raffia amongst dark-chocolate bunnies (or whatever your tradition may be).
I doubled each amount of tea and let the teas sit for 20 minutes, covered, to make sure they were at full strength.
Burdock: I was disappointed that this didn’t do too much in the color department, but the deep, smoky flavor was quite lovely. Would probably work best with completely shelled eggs rather than the cracked version I tried.
Hibiscus: Turned the shelled egg to a glorious purpley-red, and gave the cracked one dark purple/blue lines. I wonder how it would have been had I soaked it longer…?
Raspberry Earl Grey: Gave clear, dark blue lines and an awesome flavor. Would be great to use on a salad with slivered almonds.
Chamomile: I was surprised that it made the egg as yellow as it did! And the flavor was truly beautiful… fragrant and slightly sweet, like springtime!
Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs
Place eggs in a pot and fill with water until it covers the eggs over by at least one inch. Bring up to a boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes. Immediately rinse eggs and run with cold water.
To Color Eggs
The eggs can be put directly in the cooled tea once they’ve been strained and slightly cool. If made in a large enough mug, you can color three eggs at a time. Play around with shelling them completely or cracking them thoroughly to give the stained-glass-window affect. I let my eggs sit for about 75 minutes, but the longer they sit obviously the more they’ll color up. Occasionally stir them around for even coverage.