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03.29.2007

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egg me on natural easter egg dyeing
by Yee-Fan Sun
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continued from page 2

dyeing methods
There are two basic methods for dyeing with natural ingredients: hot and cold. The first is faster, but with the exception of onion peels and turmeric, tends to yield a very pale dyed egg, as you canít leave the egg in the dye any longer than it takes to hard-boil the eggs (unless you have no intention of eating your eggs). The cold dye method takes a little longer, but the nice thing about it is that it gives you much more control over how deep of a hue you end up with Ė since the eggs are already hard-boiled to the proper doneness, and the cold dye doesnít cook them any further, you have more flexibility over soaking time. The longer you let your egg steep in the dye, the richer the color will be.

Whichever method you use, make sure to wash the eggs in warm slightly soapy water before dyeing, and dry well. This will help the egg pick up dye more evenly.

Hot dye method |
Bring the dye ingredients, water and vinegar to a boil, then reduce heat until the brewís gently bubbling. Simmer until the water is deeply colored, about 15 minutes (if youíre using a ground spice to make dye, this extra simmering isnít necessary). Fish out the solids with a slotted spoon, draining as best you can so you donít remove all the liquid as well. Up the heat a smidge if needed to bring the water back to a gentle boil. Gently slide the raw eggs into the liquid, using a slotted spoon, and making sure they have plenty of room to bobble around. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon, and pop them back into their carton. Leave the carton open and slide the eggs in the fridge to cool completely. Alternatively, if the colorís too wimpy for your taste once itís dried, you can strain and cool the dye, cold-dyeing the eggs as below.

Cold dye method |
Boil the dye ingredient in a big pot of hot water and let it all simmer until the water is nicely colored, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, and let cool completely (speed things up by placing in an ice bath). Add pre-hardboiled eggs, pop in the fridge, and let them sit in the dye until youíre happy with the color (this might be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, even overnight, depending upon whether you want subtle tones or more saturated ones).

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