From Lisa Barnes
I just finished my St. Pat’s left-overs and now it’s time for dying Easter Eggs. Of course there are a zillion egg dyes at the supermaket and high end cooking stores to make the most picture perfect eggs. But how about some simple do-it-yourself natural colors?
Here are some suggestions for cooking hard boiled eggs and decorating them with your children — with or without dyes. Be sure to store dyed hard cooked eggs in the refrigerator if you want to eat them. Also, here’s a favorite yummy stuffing/spread to use all the eggs.
A Good Egg – Organic Hardboiled Eggs
Eggs have been served since ancient times because they symbolize spring and rebirth. During March and April they are served at a Seder meal as well as dyed and decorated for Easter traditions. This is also the only accurate way to separate an egg for a baby that cannot have whites (recommended for those under 1 year old). Here’s a way to insure the perfect hard boiled egg.
6 large cage free, organic eggs
Place eggs in a pot with lid. Add enough water to cover eggs. Put pot on stove over medium-high heat. When water starts a rolling boil, cover pan and turn off heat. Leave pot on burner, covered for 15 minutes.
Drain water and rinse eggs under cold running water. Tap the egg all over to break shell. Egg shells peel easiest from the rounder end (where there is air space). Eggs should have bright yellow centers. If gray or green color appears, then the eggs have been overcooked.
Unpeeled eggs keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you’re dying eggs and then plan to eat them later, they must be stored in the refrigerator, not at room temperature in a basket.
Egg Decorating Tips: Dying
Here are some fun tips for decorating eggs with children…
1. Start by layering a table with newspapers to mop up any spills or drips.
2. Use empty egg cartons as drying racks for the eggs once dyed.
3. Keep paper towels handy to blot any dye that collects under eggs.
4. Use individual containers for each color. I find ramekins to work well. Container should be sturdy enough to hold liquid and egg, and allow for fingers or spoons to lift eggs in and out. Nothing too tall or plastic that can tip. Be sure to rinse containers of dyes so there are no stains.
5. Use plastic utensils or wooden sticks to stir each color. This makes clean-up a breeze, and there’s no risk of stained utensils.
6. Let children create their own masterpieces, even if all the eggs come out blue. Be patient. If you do not want to use the prepackaged dyes and colors you can make your own natural dyes by boiling common ingredients in water with a tablespoon of vinegar until desired shade is reached. Be sure to strain to remove solids.
Here are the color options and what to add to the water:
Yellow – tumeric or yellow onion skins
Orange – make yellow and add beet juice
Pink – cranberry juice concentrate
Blue – grape juice concentrate, red cabbage
Red – beets, paprika
Green – spinach or kale
Egg Decorating Tips: Other Options
Some children are too small or you may not be up to the challenge or mess of working with dyes. Other ideas include:
Stickers – your child’s favorite stickers can transform an ordinary egg without mess or stained fingers
Collage – using a glue stick or craft glue, how about adding sequins, beads, ribbons, feathers or anything else your child can dream up
Drawing/Coloring – bring out the crayons, markers and pens for children to draw and color on eggs (warn them not to push too hard)
Happy Days Organic Egg and Olive Spread
(from The Petit Appetit Cookbook)
Run out of ideas for all those hard boiled eggs after Easter? Many adults think of egg salad and olive spread as comforting foods from their childhood. This recipe combines the best of both. The lemon and yogurt give this spread a new fresh taste and healthy alternative to the standard mayonnaise flavor, which many children do not like. As an alternative to the usual sandwich bread, try wrapping up in lettuce or stuff in pita bread with spinach leaves.
2 hard cooked, cage-free organic eggs
1/3 cup pitted black olives (about 10 whole), chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon plain organic whole milk yogurt
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Chop eggs finely using an egg slicer or knife. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.
Makes 15 (2 Tablespoon servings)
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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