From the LorAnn Oils test kitchen
I already knew that LorAnn’s professional strength food colorings make the most beautiful colored eggs, but I wanted to delve deeper into the art of making Easter eggs. In my pursuit of Easter egg perfection, I dug into the science behind the craft and did some testing as well. Turns out there are a lot of tips to pass along!
Tip #1 – How to make the perfect hard boiled eggs
Instead of using blown eggs for coloring I like to start with ones that have been hard boiled. These instructions for making hard boiled eggs will result in yolks that are cooked through, yet still yellow & fluffy – not tinged with green and rubbery.
- Start with eggs that are at least a week old. The fresher the eggs, the harder they are to peel.
- Place eggs in a single layer in a pot that is just large enough to fit the eggs without much space in between. They should be pretty snug together. The less space the eggs have to move around, the less likely they are to crack.
- Add enough cold water to the pan to cover eggs by 1 to 1-1/2 inches. Starting the eggs in cold water will allow the whites and yolks to cook evenly.
- Turn heat to medium high and bring water to a rapid boil. Remove pot from heat and cover. Allow eggs to sit for 15 minutes. Remove eggs and place in a bowl filled with ice water until eggs are cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. Hard boiled eggs can be kept for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Tip #2 – Creating the perfect dye mixture
Some directions I saw called for adding as much as 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 cup of water. Adding more vinegar does seem to yield brighter colored eggs, but adding too much vinegar triggers a chemical reaction with the calcium in the shells. Tiny bubbles start to form on the shells that will cause your dyed eggs to have a mottled appearance.
Adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of warm/hot water gave the eggs a rich color without creating bubbles on the shells. In the picture below, the egg on the right was dyed in a mixture with too high of a concentration of vinegar.
I also wondered why most directions called for hot water in the dye solution. The temperature of the water did not seem to affect the color of the dye, but I did learn that having the dye solution warmer than the egg itself will help prevent the color from bleeding into the white of the egg.
My dye mixture recipe: Mix about 10 – 30 drops of LorAnn liquid food coloring in 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Add 1 cup warm or hot (not boiling) water. Using LorAnn gel food coloring will result in even more vibrant hues.
Tip #3 – Use the right size container for dipping
A cup, bowl, or jar can be used – just make sure that your egg will be completely submerged in the dye. The cups I used only held 1/2 cup of the dye mixture. I just adjusted the dye recipe accordingly, adding half as much of the ingredients to each cup.
Tip #4 – Rotate eggs. Remove with tongs. Dry on parchment paper.
While the eggs are in the dye, rotate them occasionally to insure even coloring. When desired color intensity is achieved, remove eggs with tongs and dry on parchment or wax paper that has been placed on top of 2 layers of paper towel. The smoothness of the parchment (or wax) paper will allow the eggs to dry without leaving marks and the paper towel underneath adds a bit of cushion.
Tip #5 – Experiment with color shades
To achieve different shades of a color, try adding a blend of colors. Yellow + blue = green. Adding more yellow to the green base makes a lime green shade. Adding more yellow and a touch of blue to the green base results in a kelly green shade. The green eggs shown below were each immersed in dye for 5 minutes.
Tip #6 – Experiment with decorations
For polka dots – Before eggs are immersed in the dye, adhere circular metallic or vinyl stickers (we used a hole punch on contact paper). Remove stickers once eggs are completely dry. Avoid using paper stickers as these tend to adhere too much to the shell and will be difficult to remove.
On colored eggs, use scrapbook stickers (those used for decorative borders look nice) or add designs using paint pens. Just make sure eggs are completely dry before adding stickers or ink. 15 minutes drying time should do the trick.
For another decorating idea, check out these instructions for marbleizing Easter eggs: Marbleized Easter Eggs