Do you color Easter eggs every year, only to peel off that pretty shell to wind up with a plain white hard-cooked egg? This year, peel the shell before you dye the eggs to create a beautiful ring of color around the edge of your cut eggs for a fun change of pace.
A few notes: You may need to hard-cook eggs in batches, depending on how many you plan to dye. Also, because this process requires peeled eggs to sit in colored water, let them soak in the refrigerator. Hard-cooked eggs should not be left at room temperature longer than two hours, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (For more tips on Easter egg safety, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov and type "Easter egg" in the search field.)
Liquid food coloring
Cups or small bowls
1. Prepare your color scheme: Mix 20 drops of food coloring (see color guide) with 1/2 cup water in a mug or small bowl. Create a cup for each color you plan to use.
2. To cook eggs, gently place them in a saucepan where they can fit in a single layer; cover with water. Heat water to a boil; continue to boil 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat; cover pan. Let sit, covered and undisturbed, about 12 minutes.
3. Run tepid (not cold) water over the eggs until they can be handled. (Cold water can make the eggs "tighten" and harder to peel.) Peel eggs.
4. Let eggs soak in colored water two hours in the refrigerator.
5. Before serving, remove eggs from the colored water; rinse well. Slice in half to reveal the beautiful rings around the whites of the cooked egg.
Color variations: A package of food coloring typically comes with red, green, blue and yellow. Some boxes include variations, along these lines:
Orange: 17 drops yellow, 3 drops red
Purple: 15 drops blue, 5 drops red
Grape: 12 drops blue, 8 drops red
Teal: 15 drops green, 5 drops blue
Pink berry: 14 drops red, 6 drops blue
Yellow-green: 14 drops green, 6 drops yellow
Going natural: For those who wish to bypass artificial coloring for this project, natural dyes, which use foodstuffs such as blueberries, red cabbage and yellow onions, are an option. Some natural foods stores and online sites sell them, but you also can make your own. Here are three websites with recipes: Better Homes and Gardens (bhg.com), About.com and What's Cooking America (whatscookingamerica.net). Type "natural Easter egg" in the search field of each site. Note, however, that we did not test these dyes for this project; also, omit the vinegar when dyeing eggs without the shell.
Amanda Formaro is a professional crafter; find more projects at her website, craftsbyamanda.com.
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