Do you ever wonder about how this whole coloring Easter eggs thing got started?
I mean, why do we celebrate Easter with eggs?
(Seems weird, right?)
And, what are some different ways to dye Eater eggs?
As Easter approaches, many of us are planning Easter festivities and coloring Easter eggs.
It was during this time that I started to wonder about the history of the Easter egg and why egg coloring plays such a prominent role in a (for many) Christian religious holiday.
Before we get to the Easter egg coloring fun, let’s take a look at the history of Easter and coloring Easter eggs (and even about that perplexing Easter bunny).
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Origins of Easter Eggs | History of Easter
If you look up the origin of Easter eggs and history of the Easter egg, you’ll find two prominent versions: a pagan origin and a Christian definition.
Even though Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ, some believe the addition of eggs to be a pagan tradition used to celebrate new life.
According to Forbes.com:
“Easter comes from an Old English word referring to the month of April, named after the pagan goddess of the dawn. In other modern languages, Easter is called a variant of Paschal, a word that can refer to either Easter or to Passover, demonstrating the strong link between these two Judeo-Christian celebrations.”
Easter as a Christian Holiday
However, for Christians, Easter represents the new life of Jesus as He was resurrected from the tomb.
Easter eggs symbolize and represent joy, celebration, and new life.
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Easter Bunny Origin | So, Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From Then?
So, Easter bunny?
What up, yo?
The story goes that German immigrants brought over a tradition of a bunny called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws” that laid color eggs.
In Spring, kids would make colorful nests so that the Easter bunnies could lay the eggs.
DID YOU KNOW: The first Easter Bunny appeared in stories as early as the 1500s!
Baskets later replaced the nests (probably out of practicality).
Then, the Easter bunny didn’t just leave Easter eggs, but the bunny also delivered chocolate and gifts to children.
That’s how the whole Easter bunny and eggs thing came about.
CHECK THIS OUT NEXT FOR MORE FUN:
Why Do We Spend Time Coloring Easter Eggs?
Christian Easter Eggs
Some Christians dye the eggs red as a representation of the blood of Jesus.
With these “Jesus eggs,” the outer shell represents the tomb where Jesus was buried, which gets “cracked” to symbolize His resurrection.
Spring Easter Bunny Eggs
However, other sources say that it was a common tradition to color eggs as gifts during Spring festivals.
The Christians adopted the tradition of decorating eggs, and expanded it to include the red egg “Jesus eggs.”
According to History.com:
Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.
Some say this is why eggs are still served today as part of an Easter feast on the holiday!
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HOW TO DYE EASTER EGGS 3 WAYS
In this section we’ll cover:
- How do you boil eggs for Easter egg dye
- How to boil eggs so that they peel easily
- How do you color eggs naturally (without chemicals)
- If you can color brown eggs
- If you can color raw eggs
- How to color eggs with food coloring
- How to color eggs with shaving cream (or whipped cream)
- Is it safe to eat eggs decorated with shaving cream
- Can you dye eggs without the shell
First, let’s cover:
How do you boil eggs for Easter egg dye?
Knowing how to boil eggs seems sounds like it would be easy, right?
I mean, it’s water . . .AND EGGS.
How hard could it be?
Well . . .
If you’ve ever boiled eggs for holiday, lunch, or any other reason, you know that sometimes it can be hit or miss.
Did you know that the green ring around the yolk of an egg means you boiled your egg too long or at too high of a temperature?
And, peeling those boiled eggs can be a total nightmare. Here are directions on how to boil eggs that we’ve been using for a few years now and it works every time.
(Thanks to my friend Tawni over at Unsoaped.com for sharing these instructions!)
They’re SUPER EASY to peel after (especially if you’re not coloring them)!
How to Boil Eggs That Peel Easily
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add eggs after water is boiling.
- Cover and turn down the heat to a light, rolling boil.
- Cook 13 – 15 minutes.
- Drain immediately and cover eggs in an ice bath.
- Leave eggs in ice bath for 5 minutes.
If you’re boiling eggs to color, leave off Step 7 for egg decorating and coloring!
How do you color Easter eggs naturally?
Like, how to dye eggs red and how to dye eggs pink (and many other colors) when you’re coloring eggs naturally. . .
. . . and, can you dye eggs naturally?
First, you can buy natural food coloring with no artificial dyes.
For example, this Watkins food coloring is made with pure vegetable juices and spices instead of artificial coloring.
If you want to try natural products at home, follow these directions for coloring eggs:
- Add water to a saucepan. The amount of water (number of cups) will depend on how many eggs you will be coloring for that batch.
- Add the natural dye item to the saucepan (see list below) and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes. Check the color of the water. Your eggs will be a few shades lighter than the dye in the pan, so continue to cook in 10 minute increments until you get the desired shades.
- When you’ve reached the desired colors, remove the pan from heat and cool completely.
- Strain the liquid.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every 1 cup of dye. Stir.
- Add room temperature boiled eggs to a bowl, pour cooled dye over the eggs so that they are completely covered with the dye.
- Place eggs (in the dye) in refrigerator until your eggs have reached the color you want.
- Repeat with each natural food item to get different colors.
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How to Dye Easter Eggs Without Chemicals
Dyeing Eggs With Onion Skins and Other Natural Food Items
If dying eggs with food coloring isn’t your thing, use the following food items you have around the house to color Easter eggs naturally:
- Red onion skins: Make red or lavender dye
- Yellow onion skins: Make orange (white eggs) or rust red (brown eggs)
- Turmeric spice: Makes yellow dye
- Purple cabbage: Makes blue (white eggs) and green (brown eggs) dye
- Beets or beet juice: Make pink (white eggs) or darker pink/maroon/red (brown eggs) dye
- Spinach: Makes green dye
- Grape juice: Makes purple dye
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The natural Easter egg dyes will result in dyed eggs that are more natural, pastel colors (rather than the bright, vibrant colors of the others).
EASTER EGG TIP: Rub olive oil or coconut oil on your dyed eggs to make them shiny!
Will brown eggs color for Easter?
YES! You can color brown eggs for Easter the same way that you can color white eggs. However, don’t expect the colors on brown eggs to be as vibrant as the dye colors on white eggs. The brown eggs will dye more muted and have a more natural look, but are just as pretty and fun as the white eggs! You can dye any color eggs that come from your own chickens or from the store!
Can you dye raw eggs for Easter?
You may also be wondering, “Can you dye eggs without boiling them?”
You can color Easter eggs without boiling them, but your little ones need to be more careful with them (as they, of course, will break easier.)
If you are worried about bacteria on the raw eggs and your kids handling them, just gently wash the regular (unboiled) eggs with dish soap and water and pat them dry before dyeing them.
Some people make a hole in each end of the egg and blow out the raw inside eggs before decorating. Then, they gently decorate the remaining shells.
Can you dye eggs with just food coloring?
How to dye boiled eggs with food coloring is pretty simple (and the most traditional way).
Vinegar and food coloring make the best recipe for dyeing Easter eggs.
But, do you need do you need vinegar to dye Easter eggs?
According to Education.com, here is the science behind why we use vinegar to dye eggs:
Food coloring is an acid dye. It bonds using hydrogen, and this chemical process only works in an acidic environment.
When you add vinegar to water, it creates ideal conditions for food coloring to dye the egg. Since eggs are made out of calcium carbonate, this calcium in the shell reacts with the acid in the vinegar to make carbon dioxide. If you place an egg in vinegar and water, you can often see that chemical reaction taking place as bubbles of carbon dioxide form in the liquid.
So, you’re going to get better results using the chemical reaction of vinegar and food coloring than just food coloring alone.
However, you can color Easter eggs with just food coloring and water.
The eggs will be much lighter and more pastel looking.
Directions for Coloring Easter Eggs with Vinegar and Food Coloring
- Dozen (or more eggs) (keep the egg carton for drying, or use a wire baking rack)
- 1/2 cup boiling water for each color
- 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar for each color
- Food coloring (colors of choice)
- Bowls or mugs, large enough to place an egg in (you’ll need a bowl or mug for each color that you want)
- Slotted spoon
- Paper towels
- Boil eggs and allow to air dry.
- To each mug/bowl, place a 1/2 cup boiling water, 2 teaspoons vinegar, and 10-20 drops of food coloring until you reach the desired color. Repeat this for each mug/bowl.
- Allow the dye liquid in the cups to cool.
- Gently place an egg in each cup of dye color.
- Allow the egg to sit in the dye color for at least 5 minutes. The longer you allow the egg to sit in the dye, the deeper the colors will become.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the egg carton or gently on a wire baking rack to dry.
IMPORTANT: Food coloring can stain, so be sure you’ve protected clothing, tables, carpet, etc. before starting this project!
Can you dye eggs without the shell?
If you want to peel the boiled eggs and dye the egg white, you can do that, too!
This actually makes really fun deviled eggs for your party because the whites are colored.
Here’s how to dye peeled eggs:
- After you boil your eggs, peel them normally and rinse them.
- Mix water with 10-20 drops of food coloring.
- Drop the peeled egg into the colored water and let it sit for 1-2 hours.
- Slice the eggs and eat or use for colored deviled eggs!
How to Dye Easter Eggs with Shaving Cream
If you want less of the drippy way of coloring Easter eggs, you should try coloring eggs using shaving cream.
This is a really fun method, especially for little ones (where the vinegar-food coloring method can create a bigger mess).
- Spread unscented regular shaving cream in a large baking pan. (Head to the dollar store and grab multiple cans!)
- Dot food coloring across the top of the shaving cream. (DO NOT MIX IN!)
- Using a fork or a toothpick, swirl the colors throughout the shaving cream. (Don’t stir in.)
- Place a dried, cooled boiled egg into the shaving cream.
- Roll the egg around in the shaving cream. (You can use food gloves or sandwich baggies on your hands to keep your fingers from rubbing off the coloring. Or, use two plastic spoons to manipulate the egg around.)
- Using a plastic spoon, take the egg out of the shaving cream and place on paper plates to dry.
Is it Safe to Eat Eggs Decorated with Shaving Cream?
If you are going to use the shaving cream method, I’m not sure I would recommend eating the boiled egg after.
Remember, eggshells are porous, so the things that you do to the shell will eventually make it to the egg on the inside.
So, I personally wouldn’t eat shaving cream colored eggs, especially if you are letting them sit for a few days.
If you’re worried about the chemicals in the shaving cream, you can try it with whipped cream instead of shaving cream.
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Do you decorate Easter eggs? Have you tried any of these methods?
What is your favorite way to decorate them? (I’m especially curious in natural methods!)
Leave your tips or questions in the comments!
(I’d also love to hear your favorite memories of decorating eggs!)
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