I don’t know about you but I love dyeing Easter eggs. We don’t even have kids yet, but I still get a huge kick out of it, possibly because it is an excellent (eggggggcellent) excuse (eggscuse; you can shoot me now) to make and eat an absurd quantity of deviled eggs. Those of you who dye and leave the eggs out and then don’t eat them? I don’t know what your problem is; hope this helps!
Anyway, when I was little we always got the Paas kits, with those horrible hexagonal copper egg-dippers and the tiny pellets of food coloring. Sometimes we got the shrinky plastic sleeves that went on the eggs, but frankly those weren’t super-fun. My favorite thing was the white crayon — batiked eggs, anyone? But everyone knows about Paas, and probably about just using food coloring in the same fashion. Surely there must be more nefarious ways to impart color to your eggs, right?
One thing that’s really fun is to try various natural dyes. Some work best when boiled, and some can just be set in cold water with your eggs and possibly some vinegar (vinegar “fixes” the color and usually grants a brighter result). What to use? Well, yellow or red onion skins; shredded beets; carrots; spinach; red cabbage; blueberries. If you’ve ever gone “Dammit, why did that have to stain my cutting board/fingers/shirt?” then it’s probably a good candidate. Experiment (eggsperiment! ha ha ha) — that’s 90% of the fun.
If you don’t plan to eat the eggs, you can bundle them in onion skins and place flower petals or blooms against the surface, then tie the packet with string and boil the living daylights out of the egg (about two hours’ worth of daylights). I ran into a slightly cooler version of the same idea: cutting up old silk ties and bundling the eggs in those. The patterns transfer! Who knew?
Plus, there’s a tip on Lifehacker for creating really cool swirly marbled eggs with a method similar to making Chinese tea eggs (which are, if you haven’t eaten them, totally delicious). All you do is crack the shells a bit (you want to keep them intact and not cutting into the cooked egg) and… well, this suggestion says to reboil them in water with gel food coloring added, but I think I’m going to try simply soaking rather than boiling.
As a related aside: My husband cooks a mean fried egg, and pretty decent scrambled eggs, but was afraid of hard boiling until this past week. I didn’t realize he was living with this terrible fear. Are you? It’s easy enough to break free.
Perfectly Hard Boiled Eggs
With No Icky Green Rings
Ready? Take your eggs and place them in a fairly deep saucepan or pot, then add enough cold water to cover them by about an inch to an inch and a half. Place the pot on a burner and crank it up to high. Bring the water to a true rolling boil — not just a simmer — and then turn the heat off, slap a cover on the pot, and let it sit for 11 minutes. Then take the lid off and bathe the eggs in cold running water until the shell is cool enough to handle, and pop them in the fridge. Ding! If you find they are not to your textural liking, you can go 10 or 12 minutes with the lid on. Once you figure out your timing, eggs cooked this way come out consistently perfect, every time. A good thing when you have to cook, peel and chop 5-6 dozen a day for salads, but you probably don’t have to do that, unless you work in a restaurant. Right?