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Dying Easter Eggs
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

We stopped using messy dye kits many years ago when we discovered products
found on our kitchen shelves, spice cabinets or refrigerator could be used to
dye our eggs beautiful rich colours.

Red/Pink: Sliced beets, fresh or frozen cranberries or raspberries.
Yellow: Ground turmeric, or cumin, or saffron.
Orange: Skins from a yellow onion. Use dry outer layers only.
Golden Green: Yellow Delicious apple skins.
Green: Spinach leaves
Blue: Red cabbage leaves or blueberries.
Purple: Bottled grape juice
Brown or beige: Coffee brewed strongly.
For a surprise use walnut shells.

Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. 
Cover the eggs with cold water.
Add a teaspoon of white vinegar.
Add your natural food products.  Add more for darker colours.
Remember the more eggs you are dying the more dye you will need.
Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon remove the fruits or vegetables you used to dye your
If you prefer lighter eggs remove them from the hot water when you have
attained the desired colour. 
Plunge the eggs  into cold water.  This will make them easier to peel. 
If you want the eggs to be a darker colour place them in a bowl covered with
the dye and put in the refrigerator over night.
You may rub the dry eggs with vegetable oil to make them shine.

Another way to dye with onion skins is to gather many pieces of the dry outer
layers of skins from yellow, brown or red onions.  Very carefully wrap raw
eggs in the skins, holding them in place with rubber bands.
Hard cook the eggs as above.  When you unwrap them you will have beautiful
colours and designs.

You may also use the rubber band method, using the natural dyes, or food
colouring paste or liquid food colour.
Use rubber bands of various widths and sizes. 
Wrap the eggs around with the rubber bands.
In cups of hot water dissolve a dab of the paste or 6 drops of liquid.
Add 1/4 cup vinegar.
Plunge the hard boiled eggs into the cups of dye.
Remove when you have attained the desired colour.
Blot dry with a paper towel and remove the rubber bands.
The dye will have seeped in under some of the bands and remain blocked in
other areas.
If you wish you may rewrap the eggs and place into a different colour.

To make Marbleised Eggs lightly stir one tablespoon of vegetable oil to each
cup of dye.  Immediately dip the egg into the mixture.  You may also set the
egg into egg cups and spoon the oil dye mixture over them.  When the egg
dries you may repeat process with a different colour of the dye mixture for a
colourful effect.

To make Tissue Paper Eggs wet your hard cooked eggs either with a spritzer
bottle or by dipping them in water.  Use 11/2 inch squares of new brightly
coloured tissue papers.  Wrap the wet egg in the squares using different
colours and overlapping.  If the tissue paper did not get completely wet
spritz with the water.
Set the eggs into the empty egg carton.  When they are dry the tissue paper
will fall away leaving a beautiful stained glass effect.

One of our favourite methods is to collect small ferns, small leaves and tiny
flowers or blades of grass from the garden.  Carefully lay them against the
egg, then wrap tightly in cheesecloth or the toe of a nylon stocking and dip
into your dye mixture.  When you take the eggs from the dye there will be
beautiful patterns left on the eggs.  Rinse the cheese cloth or stocking
before using on the next egg.


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