Itâ€™s about a week to Easter for those who celebrate this holiday. While the traditional foods of Easter such as lamb, ham, etc. are an interesting subject, this post is about a more colorful tradition in our houseâ€¦ coloring Easter eggs. It never ceases to amaze me how many people roll their eyes and say something to themselves along these linesâ€¦ â€œwhat a bother, waste of time, waste of money, etc.â€â€¦ instead, they are most likely to be the ones who rush their kids to the mall, buy some sugar and icing eggs for way more than the cost of making their own, throw in a rabbit to pacify a screaming toddler, then eat at a mediocre restaurant to celebrate the holiday. Now you know where I stand on the subject. Coloring Easter eggs is a great tradition, a fun activity for kids of all ages and far cheaper than parking and amusing yourselves at a mall.
Kids who have come to our house have always enjoyed themselves immensely doing this activity. Many have never colored eggs before. Their work is really creative and every year yields a surprising favorite egg. First, invite over a bunch of your kids friends and ask them to wear old clothes. Next, buy some eggs in the grocery or at the markets â€“ I like to mix them up and get peewees (smallest size), medium and extra large eggs. Try and select the ones with unblemished shells and count on a dozen per kid unless they are really young in which case 3-5 pieces per kid. At least 10-15% of your eggs will crack during the boiling process because we have such calcium deficient hens here that the shells are just way fragile. To boil with minimal breakage, fill a large pot with water and put eggs at room temperature (not straight out of the fridge) in the water. Place pot over the burner and turn the heat up to medium high. Wait until the water boils and turn the heat down so that the eggs simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the burner and leave the eggs in the hot water for another 15-20 minutes. Carefully add tap water and cool the eggs down and dry each one. Once they are cool, they are ready to color.
There are several ways to color eggs and I will describe three from the simplest to the more creative. First, prepare several cups 2/3 filled with water then add 10-20 drops of food coloring and clear distilled vinegar. The coloring can be adjusted to your liking, the vinegar helps the color adhere to the eggs. When the kids get to your house, they can start by carefully soaking the eggs in the colors for say 10-15 minutes to get traditionally pastelly easter colors. You can stop here or add designs on top of the base color. Second, you can assemble several plastic sandwich bags. Place a boiled egg in the bag, add a few (say 3-4 drops of food coloring, then move the egg around inside the bag to color the entire egg. You can add two colors for more interesting combinations. This process keeps your hand clean, too. Just remember to keep like colors together or use new plastic bags. I also like to use wax drippings (from a small white candle) on eggs and then color the eggs. These make terrific colored polka dot eggs that are a personal favorite. Kids who are older can do this with adult supervision. Finally, you can take a sponge and cut it up into smaller pieces and use them dipped in food coloring to put patterns on the eggs. Once an egg is colored, it is useful to put it on a paper towel to take off excess dye and to smoothen the colors.
The colored eggs should keep several days out in your living room but they cannot be eaten if you have kept them out longer than a day. If you donâ€™t want to waste the egg, you can eat the ones you colored later in the same day. I always take the eggs that cracked earlier on and make a nice big egg salad with a bit of celery and a mustard mayonnaise dressing. I also do like the sugar eggs so I tend to have a bunch of them as prizes for an egg hunt in the garden. If you really want to indulge, a box of easter chocolates or jelly beans is always terrific.