If you've ever seen an egg hatch it's easy to understand why people throughout the ages have associated the egg with life, the earth, and the universe. Eggs are little bundles of life wrapped in a hard to the touch and yet delicate package. Since ancient times eggs have been used in fertility rites, farming rituals, divination, burials and even as sacrifices to appease the spirits. Coloring eggs has been an important part of many of these rituals and customs... so it is no wonder that colored eggs play a part in our modern Easter celebration. The christian celebration of the resurrection merges with the pagan celebrations of fertility and the rebirth of nature in spring.
Today we color our eggs with colored tablets dropped into cups of vinegar and water... but in the past eggs were dyed with natural colorings from plants such as onion skins, coffee, charcoal, grass, and beets. This Easter I decided that I'd try adding a little nature back into my Easter. I went to the store and bought some eggs, vinegar, beets, yellow onions, red cabbage, and of course some PAAS dye for the kids and I went to work. I found my instruction here... and here are some photos of my results and the process.
In this pan I used turmeric and vinegar.
These eggs are wrapped in onion skins and cheese cloth and then I boiled them in plain water. I think that these eggs came out the best of all.
The front pot has red cabbage and vinegar in it and the back the eggs wrapped in onion skins. The only thing the cabbage did was make my house smell like a German restaurant. I barely noticed a tint change on the eggs even when they soaked in the solution for hours.
Here is the finished product. The eggs on the left are from the onion skins and have a beautifully marbleized look. The eggs in the middle were dyed in the turmeric and the far right beets. The eggs were a little underwhelming (especially the cabbage) but it was a fun process and the eggs certainly have a natural look.