During this time of the year, the egg is kind of a visual shorthand for new life and un-hatched potential. The egg brings hope and is a symbol of fertility and the circle of life. In certain ancient creation myths it was believed that the world was formed from a cosmic egg.
The tradition of painting and decorating eggs as part of a springtime ritual predates Christianity. For thousands of years, Iranians and others have decorated eggs on Nowruz, the Iranian New Year that falls on the spring equinox.
In celebration of the egg and the magical potential it represents, we’d like to encourage you to experiment with decorating your own. Forget the artificial food coloring in the pre-packaged egg coloring kits. Using dyes from foods and spices you may already have in your kitchen yield a range of hues from subtle to rich. Try using red cabbage, onion skins, beets, turmeric, paprika and coffee.
For each dye bath, start with a quart of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in a pot. Add about 4 tablespoons of dried spice or about 4 cups of the vegetables suggested above. (If using coffee, there is no need to further dilute it with water.)
Boil each of your dye baths for about 30 minutes, cool and strain. There are two methods you can try: the hot method and the cool method. For the hot method add raw eggs to one of your strained dye baths and boil for about 30 minutes for the strongest color. For the cool method, pre-boil your eggs and submerge them into your room temperature dye bath for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. The longer the egg is submerged, the stronger the hue!
Experiment. Have fun. Celebrate Spring!