Variations on these eggs have been going around the blogosphere this year, but I actually found a slightly different version last year and bookmarked it to try. The instructions seemed clear and simple, if not entirely easy.
This Sunday was Orthodox Easter (Pascha) so on Friday, in between services and baking, I made the eggs.
I had forgotten to get the beets when I bought the other ingredients, so I planned to make three colors: orange, blue, and green. I also used fresh herbs from our garden (we had such a mild winter, they’re already taking off). I chose oregano, fennel, chamomile, and thyme. As you’ll see, I got a fairly different result than the original and I’m not sure why. We’re on well water, so there may be minerals or other deposits that changed things, even though I used the filtered tap. I didn’t quite have enough spinach, so that may have been a factor. And I also may not have added enough vinegar, which acts as the mordant for the dyes here. However, I’m still pretty pleased with the results and plan to fiddle around with it next year, to see if I can get them a little better.
The blue (red cabbage) was definitely the best of the three colors, as you can see. The orange stained all sorts of other things, but didn’t stick to the eggs very well–a bit mottled. The green–well, the green only stuck around the edges of the herbs, creating an effect I actually like quite a bit, but wouldn’t know how to reproduce. It’s a bit eerie, like a ghost-imprint of the herbs on the eggs.
Of the four herbs, the thyme created the prettiest patterns, I thought. Here’s the “green” version on top, with the “green” oregano just below it. The two in the background are the orange chamomile and blue fennel.
From a different angle, here’s the “green” thyme and the blue thyme. Again, you can see the difference in coloration–the blue and that particular orange egg turned quite well, while the other orange eggs are duller.
It was a fun project and, since you put the eggs in the refrigerator for hours, fairly simple. Also, it’s nice to do natural dyes.