My maternal grandma, Omine, has always been an inspiration to me and Easter is a special time of year for our family. Tips of pale green are pushing their way through on all the trees and bushes and the air is beginning to lose its chill.
Every Easter it’s a tradition in our family for Omine and all the grandchildren to colour hen eggs with natural dyes to decorate our breakfast table on Easter Sunday.
Here’s our tried and tested family recipe that we’ve used over the years to create natural dyed eggs.
You will need:
- White hens eggs
- 1 red cabbage (to create the blue dye)
- Herbs or flowers from the garden
- A pair of tights
- String and scissors
Cut the cabbage head into small slices and boil in a pot until the water has turned a brilliant deep purple. Set this aside to let the water cool, leaving in the cabbage.
Now comes the fun part: choosing the flowers you want to print. I used coriander and parsley leaves, but daisy heads and dandelion leaves work just as well.
To create a good print you need to lay the leaf onto the egg as flat as possible. Dipping the leaf into water helps it stick better to the eggshell, and makes it easier to position exactly where you want.
Now comes the slightly tricky part: wrapping the egg in the tights! To keep the leaf in place it has to be wrapped in a thin layer of fabric that allows the coloured water to dye the egg but not move the leaf. I use low denier tights cut into small squares.
Lay the egg with the leaf onto your square of fabric, leaf side down, and stretch the fabric around the egg so it gathers together on the opposite side where you can knot the string around it. Make sure the fabric is tightly wrapped around the egg to be sure that the leaf won’t move.
To colour the eggs bring the cabbage water back to the boil and gently drop the eggs into the water. Cook the eggs for 10 minutes to hard-boil them, constantly checking they are submerged to ensure an even colour. After 10 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the eggs in the pan for another 15 minutes to give the colour more time to penetrate the shell.
This the most exciting part of the process. Gently fish out the eggs from the pan and using scissors, cut and peel away the tights and leaves to reveal the beautiful print you have created. And the best part? As you have used only natural ingredients to dye the eggs they are still completely safe to eat!
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