Dying Easter Eggs has always been a time of family fun. My father loved to color eggs and after I was married, we still made the two hour trek to join him in coloring Easter Eggs. I don’t know if he just liked hard boiled eggs or what. This trip made more sense after my son became old enough to appreciate coloring the eggs. When my father passed away I inherited all of his Easter Egg dying equipment. Old transfers, wax pencils, egg dippers, sleeves and the Egg-O-Rater – which is a really a plastic thing that helps to draw circles with the wax crayon around the eggs before you put them in the dye. Every year we bring the box down and sort out what we want to use.
There are lots of tricks to successful egg dying. If you want your eggs to peel well, they should not be fresh. You need to buy those eggs at least a week before you hard boil them. So buy the ones that are on sale at Easter, to replace the ones you will use. When you cook the eggs, do not use aluminum pans and do add a tablespoon or less of salt to the water. The salt prevents cracking and aluminum sometimes leaves gray on the eggs. To prevent the ugly green circle around the yolk put the eggs in ice water as soon as they are finish cooking. Be careful to keep the hard boiled eggs separate from any other eggs you have, because no one enjoys Easter Egg Roulette.
Finding a time when my husband, son and I can get together to dye the eggs, has grown more difficult and we are dying fewer eggs than we did in the past. We each take a couple cups of color and talk about my folks and coloring the eggs. My son usually does some two toned eggs, by dipping the egg first in one color half way and holding it for a while and then turning the egg the other side up. We drain the eggs on a towel placed on a broiler rack to keep the eggs from bleeding color on each other as they dry. Sometimes there are groans as it slips out of the holder and thunks on the bottom of the cup. The groans also turn up when an egg accidentally thunks and cracks. That is the one or two that gets eaten right away. We laugh and admire each other’s work.
Because I use two tablets in the cups, our color is quite dark. We write names or draw pictures on eggs with the wax crayons included with the dye kits. We have done the colors in the water and oil and those are pretty, but can be sticky. We have tried adding sparkles, but find they tend to come off and leave little traces around the house. My mother always put transfers on the eggs using a rag and vinegar. (see photo) We like those better than the stickers, that don’t like to adhere in the first place and fall off later. I have done some transfers that have to be put on by rubbing over them with a stick. Of course it is important to remember that the effort that is put in will soon be in the garbage and the egg will soon be in potato salad so the amount of time and effort needs to be balanced with the pleasure we get from the time together.
The egg you want to spend time on is an egg that has had the insides blown out. To do this you will put a small hole in one end with a needle and a larger hole in the other end. You need to shake the egg before you start to blow to make the yolk break up. Then blow on the small hole while keeping the other end over a dish. If the holes aren’t large enough, make them a little larger. For health reasons the egg should be clean and a short straw should be used to blow through. This is a tricky operation and the eggs become fragile after they are blown. I had some very pretty sleeves that I put on some blown eggs, but haven’t seen any that pretty in recent years. There was also some gold paint that came in a kit that has survived the years. These eggs have been kept for years.
We DO NOT use the egg sleeves that are included in the kits on real eggs. They are hard to get off and the eggs become hard to use. We put those sleeves on plastic eggs and use them to fluff up an empty looking basket or make decorations. Plastic eggs are ideal for hiding since if they are not found right away, they won’t have a bad odor. It is important if you are the hider of the eggs that you keep track of where you hid them. Watching your child find the hidden eggs can be lots of fun. When our son was young, we hid eggs in our yards while he was at Sunday School and give him a basket to look for them after he got home. (see photo) He had a great time searching for the eggs. Yes indeed our family has a long tradition of coloring Easter Eggs.