All that build-up to Easter, and then in just a couple of days, it’s over. What a shame. I’m gutted. Easter is my favourite holiday. Better than Christmas. Better than Halloween. Better than Valentine’s. What can I say, I just really like tiny bunnies and coloured eggs, and more than anything, I like the fact that it’s spring and therefore almost summer. Easter is the best by association, mostly.
Easter is just so good because it announces better times. I’m not too bothered about Jesus, I’m talking more Eostre, dawn, new light, new life, fertility and all that jazz. I’m talking about no longer being cold and miserable, and just celebrating that we can start sitting outside again.
Here in Italy they’ve got some pretty funky outside-sitting Easter traditions, ranging from eating fava beans and cured meats in a field to having barbecues just about anywhere, of course all of it accompanied by copious amounts of wine. I’d love to join my new compatriots in this grilling business, of course, but for me Easter equals eggs, so I headed up North for the weekend and got colouring. Every year, my parents hide Easter eggs around the garden for me and my (equally adult) siblings, and I’d missed out on it a couple of years, so this year I had a catch-up.
Normally I let my mum take care of the dirty work, but this year I felt a strange urge to try some natural dyes that have been doing the rounds on the internet, so I took to colouring the eggs myself. They didn’t turn out as bright as usual (or as expected), but I actually kinda liked them. They looked pretty artsy and I’m contemplating dyeing eggs like this year round. I mean, why not? Dyeing eggs is ridiculous any time of the year, so why should it be acceptable one weekend of the year, but not the other 51? Try this, have some fun, and then amaze everyone with your artsy eggs.
So, apart from about twenty (preferably white) eggs, you will need:
- some flowers and small leaves
- a bunch of onion skins
- some string
- a soup bowl of boiling water
- 4 tsp of curcuma
- 1 tbsp of vinegar
- some rubber bands
- 3 beets, root and leaves
- a pot full of water
- some vinegar
- some string
First of all, prepare your kitchen surface or wherever your working like so.
Make sure you’ve got everything handy – eggs, flowers, leaves, water, onion skins, string.
Soak the onion skins in water, they’ll be easier to work with later. Now dip your egg in the water – the flowers will be easier to stick to the shell this way. Cover the egg in flowers and leaves, then cover those with onion shells. Keep them in place with copious amounts of string. This is a bit of a pain but you’ll get it with a little bit of swearing and determination.
Boil the eggs in their onion skins for about 10 minutes, then drain them and rinse them with cold water. They’ll look awesome!
Boil some white eggs in about 8 minutes, drain and rinse. Don’t pour the boiling water down the drain, instead mix it in a bowl with the curcuma and the vinegar. Mix well. Wrap the eggs with some rubber bands, creating a funky stripy pattern. Carefully drop the eggs in the mixture, and leave them there for at least 3 hours, or just overnight, what do you care.
Last colouring! This one is a bit of a pain, but you get funky violet eggs.
Peel the beets, cut them into slices and boil them in about 12 minutes. Don’t chuck them out, you can use them for beet and goat’s cheese salad which is not my favourite thing ever, but still pretty good. Make sure you use as little water as you can possibly get away with.
Now when you drain your beets, again, save the water. Add some vinegar, and leave some white eggs to colour for at least 3 hours.
As for the beet leaves, you can put those to the same use as the onion skins before. Stick a bunch of flowers and leaves to an egg, wrap it in beat leaves, then boil them like that for about 10 minutes. The effect will be much more subtle, as the beet leaves give off far less colour than the onion skins, but they’ll still look really cool.