A longstanding tradition often associated with Easter surrounds dyeing eggs each year. 

 

naturally dyed eggs

 

Decorating Easter eggs dates back to the 13th century when eggs were forbidden during Lent and decorated for Easter to mark the end of fasting. Naturally dyed Easter eggs make wonderful additions to centrepieces or may be hung on a bare branch (a traditional German Easter tree). Eggs vary in the way that they take on colour so using some brown as well as white eggs gives you a greater range of finished colours.

Yellow: for shades of yellow, try dried marigolds, goldenrod and cosmos. A teaspoonful of turmeric will yield a rich gold. Yellow onion skins yield a vivid rusty orange. Carrot tops give up a clear yellow.

Blue: use woad.

Pink: madder, red cabbage leaves, beets, blueberries or blackberries, and grape juice produce pinks.

Green: use coltsfoot.

Brown: try coffee and tea for rich warm browns, and pecan and walnut shells for deeper shades of brown.

Let eggs come to room temperature to minimize cracking as they simmer. Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the number of eggs you’re dyeing and add the dyestuff. A handful of plant material to a pint of water in a small saucepan will colour two or three eggs.

Simmer for 15-30 minutes or until the water is a little darker than the shade you want to dye the eggs.

Carefully add the eggs to the water along with a tablespoon of vinegar. Add water if necessary to cover the eggs completely.

Simmer the eggs for 20 minutes or until they have taken on the right colour and are hard-boiled.Turn off the heat and let the eggs cool in the dye-bath to further deepen the colour.