Use natural food dyes for edible Easter eggs

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Beet juice, coffee, boiled cranberries and onion skins were used to create pastel colors -- an edible treat after the Easter Egg Hunt. (Photo by Kate Ludlow)

By KATE LUDLOW

Easter weekend is here, and it’s no secret that children (and adults) love to dye Easter eggs. Some commercial dyes, however, render the egg inedible, besides being pricey. With ingredients found in your kitchen, you can not only create amazing Easter egg effects, but you can enjoy a nice hard-boiled egg when you’re done.

Start by hard-boiling your eggs. Every cook has their own technique, but I prefer to add the eggs to a pan in a single layer, and then cover with an inch or two of cold water. Use a pot that has room for all the eggs you’re cooking, with a little “moving” space. In the case of eggs, fresher is not necessarily better. Using eggs that are still good, but a bit older will make them easier to peel.  Add a tablespoon of salt to the water to help prevent cracking, and bring the water to a boil. Once the boil starts, remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the eggs sit for about 10 minutes. Voila! The perfect hard-boiled egg.

Next, dig through your fridge and pantry for food items that can be used  to dye the eggs. You will need vinegar for most recipes, but all the following ingredients can be used to tiny the vinegar.

For lavender eggs, try using purple grape juice, or red wine mixed with vinegar.

For pink eggs, try mixing beet juice with vinegar. You can also boil red cabbage and then mix the juice with vinegar and salt. Also try pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, or raspberries.

For yellow eggs, boil carrot tops and dip the eggs into the juice. You can also boil lemon or orange peels, and use the leftover water. Ground turmeric mixed with water can also provide a lovely, vibrant yellow.

For green eggs, boiled spinach leaves will do the trick. For a bright jade green, simmer the peels of red onions for about 15 minutes, and then mix with a few teaspoons of vinegar.

Various household items can be used to make different effects on the egg shells. Before dipping, wrap the egg in onion skins, which will create a mottled effect. A bit of tissue paper can be used to create a marbled egg. Wrap the egg in twine before dipping, which will create a neat striped effect.

When you’re done, just peel and eat! If you’re feeling extra industrious, you can use the leftover eggs to create Crab Meat Deviled Eggs, a recipe that can be found in last week’s edition of The Independent or online at www.LHIndependent.com.

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