Dying Easter eggs is a great activity to share with the kids, just prepare ahead to prevent messes. You don’t have to buy the special egg dye kits in the supermarket, instead use the food colorings that you already have in your kitchen cupboard or try some of these natural methods to dye eggs.
How to Dye Eggs
Protect All Surfaces
Cover your table with plastic, then add another layer of newspaper. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dyed and think about wearing gloves if you don’t want multi-colored hands.
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Plastic Table Cloth
- Bowls or Cups
- Food Coloring or natural coloring materials
- Paper Towels
- Colander or Egg Tray
How to Dye With Food Dye
- Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 cup of boiling water. Add food coloring by the drop until the water is a deep shade of the desired color. You want the colors strong, they will be lighter on the egg
- Dip the hard-boiled eggs into the coloring with a spoon and let them soak. The color darkens as the egg soaks. Remove the egg when the color is your desired shade. Place them on paper towels to dry.
- Create patterns on the eggs before dying by wrapping them with rubber bands or string, or drawing on them with wax crayons. You can create multi-colored eggs by dipping eggs in several colors, soaking only part of the egg at each time.
Dying Eggs with Natural Foods
- You can also use the natural colors found in foods to color eggs. Simmer the colored plant or vegetable in water until the water is colored.
- Strain the water and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar for each cup of colored juice.
- Soak the eggs as before. Some colors may require long soaking times, so keep them in the refrigerator while soaking.
Try these colors:
- Red or Pink: Beet juice, cranberry juice, cherry juice, raspberry juice and pomegranate juice.
- Yellow or Gold: Tumeric
- Orange: Carrots or paprika
- Green: Spinach
- You can also use herbal teas and flowers. Experiment and have fun.
Creating Natural Patterns
Interesting patterns can also be created by applying leaves or flowers directly to the egg before boiling. Start with raw eggs and place the leaves directly against the egg. Hold them in position with a layer of cheese cloth tied tightly around the egg. Boil them for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the eggs and allow them to cool. Remove the cheesecloth and leaves to reveal your natural patterned eggs.
- Fill a small bowl or cup half full with white vinegar. Dip hard-boiled eggs into the vinegar, turning it to coat the egg.
- Place the colander or egg carton on several layers of newspaper to absorb spills.
- Drop food coloring onto the egg, letting the colors run together as desired. For best results, start with lighter colors.
- Use a toothpick or small brush to move the color around on the egg as desired. Kids might enjoy blowing the drops of color around with a well-aimed straw. You don’t have to cover the entire egg, leave a little white space.
- Let each color set for a minute before adding the next color, then let the eggs dry before handling them. You can rinse off extra color or blot it off with a paper towel.
- Gently rinse the excess dye off of the eggs and place them on a paper towel to air dry.
This macaroni salad ring recipe is an old-fashioned molded salad.
1 package elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons salad oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon grated white onion
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
¼ cup grated carrot
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup celery, chopped or sliced thin
1 pimento, chopped (optional)
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions until tender Drain and put into a large bowl.
Mix salad oil, vinegar, seasoned salt and macaroni. Toss to coat well, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spoon into a 5 cup ring mold, pack down well with back of spoon.
Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Unmold onto platter and fill center with fresh vegetable relish or salad greens if desired. Serves 6 to 8.
4 quarts small beets
3 cups vinegar, more if needed
2 cups water
2 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons allspice
3 inch stick of cinnamon
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Hot sterilized jars and lids
Cook the beets until just tender. Slip off the skins.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, spices, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.
Add the beets to the vinegar and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Pack the beets into hot sterilized jars. Bring the vinegar to a boil and pour over beets. If there is not enough vinegar mixture to cover, add hot vinegar.
Seal immediately, hand tighten bands.
Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Makes about 4 quarts.
1 quart chopped cabbage
1 quart chopped green tomatoes
2 sweet red peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup salt
1 1/2 cup vinegar
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon celery seed
jars, lids, and rings
1. Combine vegetables and salt. Let sit overnight.
2. Drain vegetables. Squeeze out all moisture
3 . Prepare the Jars by cleaning and covering with boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, then keep hot until ready to fill.
4 . Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices in a saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cup water and boil for 5 minutes.
5 . Stir into vegetables in kettle. Bring to a boil.
6 . Put in sterile jars and seal while still hot. Hand tighten lid.
7 . Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes to complete seal.
Ok, this recipe is a blast from the past. I used to eat these as a snack with my mother, sitting on the back porch. Pickled Pig’s Feet are a whole lot better than they sound! Remember the old addage that the meat is better next to the bone? Well, pig’s feet are a lot of bone, knuckle and succulent meat! You have to work to get that meat, but boy is it worth it! Try this recipe:
Pickled Pig’s Feet
4 pig’s feet
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 bay leaves
4 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large onion, sliced
1 hot green pepper, whole
1. Take all four feet, clean and scrape ’em till
they’re spotless, flip off the hoofs, and cut between the toes. Put ’em in a pot and cover with salted water. Simmer til the meat is ready to come off the bone, but don’t let it!
2.While they are cooking: mix the cloves, bay leaves, vinegar, sugar, onion, hot pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes.
3. Add 2 cups of the juice from the foot to the vinegar,
4. Put the feet in a jar so they stand if you can,
and pour the vinegar over them. Cover and refrigerate
for 3 days to a week before eatting.
5. The longer they marinate, the more flavor! Enjoy!
This recipe makes a large bowl of Creamy Potato Salad, enough for a crowd. The extra step of tossing the potatoes with marinade and chilling allows them to soak up a lot of flavor!
4 lbs medium sized potatoes
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup celery, sliced diagonally
1 large onion
1 medium sized green pepper, diced
1 small jar pimentos, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- Cook potatoes whole in boiling water until tender, approximately 30 minutes. Drain, peel, and cut into cubes.
- Place potatoes in a large bowl. Pour oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and onion over and toss until potatoes are moistened
- Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until marinade is absorbed.
- Add green pepper, celery, and pimento to potatoes.
- Combine mayonnaise and sour cream. Add to potatoes and toss gently to coat
- Chill and serve in lettuce lined bowl. Garnish with tomato wedges around edge.
Make Avocado Orange Salad with fresh oranges or tangarines during the winter, if you can get a ripe avocado. In the summer use canned mandarin oranges for an acceptable substitute.
1 medium head Bibb lettuce
1 small cucumber
3/4 cup fresh orange or tangarine slices or an 11 ounce can mandarin oranges
2 Tablespoons diced green onion
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup salad oil
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Tear lettuce into small pieces, slice cucumber thin, slice avocado and remove the seeds from orange slices.
Toss all of salad ingredients together, or arrange on 4 salad plates.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend.
Pour dressing over salad and toss. Serves 4
Another summer soup served cold. This is a quick and easy version using canned tomato juice. It definitely delivers on flavor.
2 cucumbers, sliced
5 green peppers, diced
½ loaf of hard bread or equal amount of hard rolls, broken into chunks
5 ripe tomatoes, cut up
3 cloves crushed garlic
¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup wine vinegar
3 cups tomato juice or v-8 juice
cayenne pepper and salt to taste
Place cucumbers, green peppers, bread, tomatoes, garlic and onion in large bowl. Add oil, vinegar, water and seasonings.
Refrigerate together at least 24 hours.
Mix in blender and pour into bowl.
Refrigerate a few more hours and serve in chilled bowls.
Top with croutons or fresh chopped vegetable garnish. Serves 8 to 10.