The Easter egg tradition started way back when the house of Edward I gave out eggs covered in gold leaf to the royal entourage for easter. Since then giving colored eggs to lords and the church became a tradition. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that dyed eggs became something to be given to children instead.
Though plastic and chocolate easter eggs have risen in popularity, we still like to use the traditional decorated hard-boiled egg. After the Easter egg hunt, we keep the eggs to use for salads, sandwiches, or breakfast. But we don’t want to consume toxic or spoiled eggs. So how do we make sure that our easter eggs are safe to eat and still be able to make them lively and colorful?
Make sure the eggs are ok
When handled properly and refrigerated, hard-boiled eggs could last for about a week before going bad. If you’re not going to decorate your eggs after cooking, make sure to put them in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking and bring it out only when you’re going to use them. Discard any eggs left out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. Work by batches so you can put finished eggs back in the refrigerator as soon as you can.
Check if any of your eggs have any cracks. Discard eggs that have cracks or just use them right away. Cracked eggs spoil even faster than regular hard-boiled eggs so using them as Easter eggs is not advisable.
Natural egg dyes
You’re probably going to use a lot of different food dyes to color your Easter eggs, but did you know there are natural food-colorings that you can use that are actually safer than using food-grade dyes? You can actually dye eggs using natural ingredients that you’ll see in your kitchen. Though the color might not be as bright, it does give an understated rustic look to your eggs. Use the following ingredients to get the color you want. The brightness of the color depends on whether you boil or soak the egg in the solution and for how long you do it.
- Sienna/Rust - Onion skins - Boil eggs with onion skins for 30 minutes
- Orange - Onion skins - Soak eggs in onion-skin solution for 30 minutes
- Gold - Turmeric - Boil eggs in turmeric solution for 30 minutes
- Brown - Coffee grounds - Boil eggs in black coffee for 30 minutes
- Yellow - Turmeric - Soak eggs in turmeric solution for 30 minutes
- Pink - Beets - Soak eggs in beet solution for 30 minutes
- Blue - Red cabbage - Soak egg in cabbage solution for 30 mins
- Lavender Red cabbage and beets - Soak eggs in beet solution for 30 minutes followed by soaking in red cabbage solution for 30 seconds
- Yellow-green - Turmeric and red cabbage - Soak eggs in turmeric solution for 30 minutes followed by soaking in red cabbage solution for 5 seconds
- Salmon - Turmeric and onion skin - Soak eggs in turmeric solution for 30 minutes followed by soaking in onion-skin solution for another 30 minutes
Use food-grade material to decorate your eggs
A popular way of decorating Easter eggs is using shaving cream mixed with dye. This leaves the egg with a rustic stone-like pattern. The problem is eggs have a semipermeable membrane that allows air and moisture to pass through the pores rendering your easter eggs somewhat toxic. A way around this is by using whipped cream instead of shaving cream. Whipped cream has the same texture as shaving cream so you’ll get the same results. But whipped cream is also edible so it’s safe to use on your eggs especially when you need to soak them in the mixture for about 5 minutes.
Use food-grade materials when decorating your eggs to keep them safe to eat. Avoid using paint, rubber cement, glue, or any other materials that are not edible and unsafe. It’s best to be safe when kids are involved. You’ll still be able to create beautiful colorful eggs by using safe decorating materials.