Sunday, April 1, 2007

Edible Easter Eggs! Edible Centrepiece too! - Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs.

Yesterday morning, it was a perfect spring day ..a pleasant morning with lots of sunshine and breeze and blue sky and we were enjoying our lazy morning chit-chat in our balcony and in between, I asked CJJ to share some of his childhood memories on Easter, thinking that he will be able to throw some light into the family traditions at the time of Easter, as he was raised in a typical Kerala Christian family. I confess I had some vested interests behind asking that question, yeah.. I wanted to get some childhood stories for preparing my write up for the latest post on Easter eggs ;) But he thoroughly disappointed me saying that it was all about 40 days lent and attending the midnight mass to observe Easter Vigil and no fun stuff like Easter egg hunt or Easter bunny et al ! And since I was brought up in a Hindu family, the only picture I have in mind is that of a yellow coloured egg which P aunty gifted along with some other Easter delicacies to my grandma. As a kid, that yellow coloured egg did tickle my curiosity and honestly I always used to wait for P aunty’s Christmas and Easter trays as she used to prepare yummy cakes and puddings ;) Anyway, CJJ’s response did get me into a thinking mode. It is true, there was no Easter egg hunts or Easter bunnies or peeps or jelly beans, atleast in those parts of Kerala, where we grew up. There it was all about Lent, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday and Pesaha Appam, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter vigil and Easter Sunday; a pure religious festival celebrated to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and there is usually grand dinner or lunch in homes and visits from relatives. But after coming to US, my picture of Easter celebration has been completely changed... every year around Easter time, I see the grocery store aisles showing up a myriad of objects like Easter baskets, decorated eggs, bunnies, peeps, jelly beans and what not.

This visible difference between traditions and customs forced me into some googling yesterday and found out that though Easter is a festival celebrating the resurrection of Christ, ‘some’ of the Easter traditions go back to medieval times and some are pagan in nature, have nothing to do with Christianity and some are influenced by European settlers to North America. Wikipedia says that the English and German names, "Easter" and "Ostern," are not etymologically derived from Pesach (another name used by Europeans for Easter) and are instead related to ancient name for the Anglo Saxon goddess, Eostre, Goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox. It is a spring holiday and spring is synonymous with fertility and new life and eggs are linked because of their connection to the fertility. Painted eggs represented the sunlight of spring in medieval times and it seems German settlers in America are said to have brought over the tradition of a bunny named "Oschter Haws", the white Easter Hare who would visit houses on Easter Eve, leaving coloured eggs for children. Now, that explains why Easter bunny is not popular in our place :)

So, it is that egg-stra special time of the year where kids and adults get to enjoy the fun in decorating eggs. There are various colouring kits and acrylic paints available in craft stores for decorating eggs but using natural dyes also produce equally beautiful and at the same time, edible eggs. Our kitchen is full of natural dyes. Just rummage around your pantry and refrigerator and to your surprise you will come across numerous options available from turmeric to beetroots, blueberries to onions and coffee to spinach !! Here’s my share of the fun: -

  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Beet roots
  • Turmeric
  • Coffee Powder
  • Vinegar
  • Vegetable shortening or butter
  • Hard-boil know-how: Boil around 8 cups of water, or enough to cover the egg, in a saucepan and when it brings to a boil, simmer it and place the eggs into the pot and let it cook for 8-10 minutes. I usually use a ladle to place the eggs gently in the boiling water, to avoid cracking. When it is done, turn off the stove and drain the hot water and fill the saucepan with cold water. Completely dry the eggs before colouring them and apply some vinegar on the shell in order to help absorb the egg colour.
  • Pink & Red Eggs: Boil the beetroots (3 nos) chopped, with some salt and 1 tbsp vinegar in 4 cups of water and crush them well to extract the maximum juice and strain the dye; soak the hardboiled eggs overnight in the refrigerator. For a lighter pink shade, soak the eggs for not more than 3-4 hours.
  • Yellow Eggs: Boil 3 tbsp turmeric with some salt and 1 tbsp vinegar in 4 cups of water and soak the hardboiled eggs overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Brown Eggs: Make strong coffee solution and leave the hardboiled eggs in it over the night and keep them refrigerated throughout the dyeing process.
  • Polishing: Remove the soaked eggs from the natural dye and place on a paper napkin to dry. When dry, gently polish it with a bit of vegetable shortening or butter to make it look glossy.

Note: Naturally dyed eggs are edible (make sure they are refrigerated until they reach the breakfast table) and they make a great centerpiece too, on your Easter breakfast table. It is safe to eat naturally dyed eggs but if you display decorated eggs longer than two hours outside the refrigerator, do not eat them. Adding a pinch of salt while hard boiling eggs makes it easier to remove the shells. The fun part is that you never know what colour will appear when using natural dyes. If you try soaking the eggs in two beet solutions, it will produce two different shades and the patterns :)

Check out for some Easter facts here and egg decorating techniques here and for some eggy facts,click here.

I would like to thank Johanna of The Passionate Cook for accepting my entry at the last minute for her WTSIM (Waiter, there's something in my ... Easter basket!) event !

Let me also thank Janelle of "Talk of Tomatoes" for accepting my entry for her
Centerpiece of the Month Event, an excellent idea to come up with novel and unique centerpieces every month from all fellow bloggers.

This may be an Easter tradition, but I think it’s also a great craft idea to have some fun-play-time with kids and also to lure those fussy eaters to a colourful plate of nutritious food.

Have fun colouring the eggs and HAPPY EASTER/SPRING HOLIDAYS :)


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. i tried my luck with natural dyes as well this year and had good success with bilberries for a nice purple, not so much with goldenrod for yellow. must try turmeric and hibiscus for pink (hate beetroot!). we gloss our eggs up with rinds of bacon where i come from, i used to love this as a kid.
    thanks for contributing!

  2. Nice write up!

    Ours was a Hindu household but most of our family friends were Christians so I have equally enjoyed all the Christian festivals and dishes associated with them. Easter egg was never a concept there. I remember the fish cutlets I used to gorge on every Easter:).

  3. Awesome entry !!!. Though I am a Hindu all we did during Easter was enjoy the 4 day holiday in our Christian school. That was the fun part. Its only in story books that I learned about the Easter eggs.

    Your write up was very good and I got a good idea of how Easter is actually celebrated in India.

    Those eggs are lovely. Getting kids to paint eggs is a good project but never used natural dyes like you before...nice idea

  4. Thanks for googling and giving a wonderful info Shn,I was wondering what the resurrection of Christ had to do with eggs!Also info on why eggs are painted,Wow that was a great piece of info too!Happy Easter to you and your family too:)

  5. Shn I loved that little bird too behind those eggs!Such a small bird and such big eggs!;)Nah.....I am kidding:))Well done Shn I loved this post!

  6. Very interestion write up.I got to know more about easter eggs and easter related info.

  7. We don't celebrate Easter, but the eggs will still make a nice centrepiece for any dinner :) So now you're painting the eggs, huh? :)

  8. "But he thoroughly disappointed me saying that it was all about 40 days lent and attending the midnight mass to observe Easter Vigil and no fun stuff like Easter egg hunt or Easter bunny et al !" wonder :) I would expect that you gonna write about "40 dayz he slept,When the easter day,he just wokeup to have "njam njam :)".

    Very nice to see your blog became one of the best food blogs.Congratz..Here is a special gift. A special new dish called "DVD-Hippo Kondaattam"

  9. Snh, you are so clever to come up with all natural dye! I love your post and your wonderful display.
    My primary school belonged to a Protestant church, I had nothing accept some dyed hard-boiled egg to bring home. My husband's from here, when he was a little boy, the town would even hide lots of eggs in a park for kids to search, really sound fun!

  10. Easter is always special..coz thats the time christians start eating pure non vegeterian food with vengenance..

    You must see how we eat chicken and other assorted animals after lent period devouring till the last bone!! ;-P

  11. Happy Easter!:))

    I LOVE the photos shn,beautiful!!Great info too,enjoyed reading it sneezing in between of course!;D

    I went to a Catholic school in India,so I am a bit familiar with all these.Enjoy and great entry!

  12. Hi Shn, Its so beautiful dear. Very nice to see. the bird cage looks so cute. very creative!!
    keep it up!!


  13. In our place also no egg concept. I too know only fasting and prayers. It is always fun to make something like this. great tips for dying eggs. Let us remember the resurrection of Jesus christ in these days.Happy Easter :)

  14. easter n jelly beans:) we used to have big sale in our school premise during easter n we kids used to gulp so many jelly beans in a go;)
    liked the way u presented those colourful eggs. u have got so many cool ideas shn:) may be i should come n get some training from u:)

  15. Love your post, Shn. And congratulations on the dyed Easter eggs.
    For us here in the Caribbean, Easter is all about going to the church services, feasting on Easter Sunday and flying kites. Easter eggs for us are the chocolate-shaped ones with their gooey insides. The painting and dying of Easter eggs only started a few years ago here.

  16. Beautiful post Shn and those easter eggs look beautiful..

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Easter


  17. You really have a talent for crafts as well as cooking! What a smart cookie to dye the eggs naturally that way. I never thought of that when my kids were little. They look lovely :)

  18. For me also easter means lent,Goodfriday,Pesaha,and the Grandddd.. Luch..Oh no one more thing, breakfast on the easter day,breaking our lent...In almost all the christan families the breakfast will be Appam and Ishtu..You know but making pesaha Appam and cutting that is really memorable things.That is the only day my dad helps my mom in the Kitchen.

    Loved ur post very much.."Muttene angilum veruthe vittude molee Athil kayari Kalaviruthe Kanichalle"
    hahah..Kittatha munduiri pulikkum alle

  19. Hey this was nice try for edible eggs...though i'm not aware of easter egg concept, i can give a try to make my daughter eat those being so colorful!!

  20. I love the display Shn- the eggs in natural dyes look delicious, so much better than the plastic ones!

  21. Happy Easter to you shn :). The christ may have taken a rebirth in US but in Kerala he resurrects :D every year. The food items in your blog looks quite edible in pictures . Which camera do you use ? :D

    PS: First time here , but excellent blog :)

  22. Hi Shn,
    Very informative post! And beautiful centerpiece! You are so creative. I am far from that. Though i do like to look and enjoy! I had no idea that Easter had such a long and culture rich history behind it! Great info!

  23. hey Shn! I truly admire your enthusiasm that reflects in every one of your blogs! Keep it going...not sure if lazy me will try out the easter eggs :)

  24. oh its such a wonderful write up!!!wonderful start to my day u know!!
    My child is going on easter egg hunt today and is very much excited( me aswell)

  25. Wow! the eggs look great...although, we are Hindus, I know all about Christian traditions, having studied in a Catholic school...this year we've been invited for Easter lunch at one of our friend's house...

  26. What a lovely post from the photos to the story. I love the idea of naturally colored eggs as well. And thank you so very much for your concern. Your sweet words made me feel better. I'm glad to be getting back.:)

  27. Hey,
    Nice article. Did u face any opposition from ur parents when u married a christian guy and how about ur inlaws. Just curious.

  28. The passionate cook, hey Johanna that comment was full of tips and info....never thought of hibiscus....and glossing with bacon rinds, really ? I am glad I found out about your event; else I would have missed browsing through all that entries loaded with info on different traditions and customs. Thank You !

    Reena, Welcome to Mishmash! :) was all about church services and a grand feast back home.

    Sandeepa, Thanks a lot dear. Glad that my write up was of interest to you. I was thoroughly confused coz of this difference in customs and traditions.

    Sumitha, hahahahha....u re a witty girl :) I didn't notice the size of the bird :)) Happy to know that you enjoyed the post.

    Pravs, Thank you dear :)

    Jyothsna, no dear, I did not paint the eggs, I just dyed them ;)))) yes, it will make a great centerpiece.

    Kiranz, nooo how can he sleep for 40 days at a stretch, he is not the type who skips meals ;))) Thankz a ton for that hippo kondattam, he is a sweetheart :)

    Gattina, yes the egg hunt traditions here is real fun....btw, this is not my invention dear, someone else had found out all this to make our lives easier :))

    Mathew, ohh...u always make me I am imagining u sitting with all that pile of bones ;)))

    Asha, Thanks dear :) Hope you take good care of yourself. Get some medicine from your hubby ;)

    Sharmi, Thanks a lot dear nice to hear all that inspiring words :)

    Just for fun, you try dying the egg this time...its fun, am sure you will like it. Easter greeting to you too :)

    Sia, wonder in which part of India you studied where you got all this jelly beans during easter time ! great to know that you liked this cool idea too :)

    Cynthia, flying kites on easter !!...hey thats another new info to me...great, I am glad I made this post as I got to learn a lot. Why don't you make a Caribbean Easter special post ?

    Sushma, Thanks dear :)

    Linda, You can do it now as well....dyeing eggs is fun for adults as well as kids. Give it a try and thanks for all that supporting words. Means a lot to me :)

    Kitchenfairy, hahahah...athey muttayilum oru kai pareekshichu :)) try this with your kids and niece and nephews this time...they will all thank you for making them do this :)

    Dhanya, yes you said it :) A warm welcome to Mishmash!

    Mandira, Thank you, dear :)

    Nariyal Chutney, hahahh...its true, in our place its all religious and here its more of celebrations, and somehow I like the latter ;) I am using a very old fashioned, not at all a hi-fi camera - Canon A-85 . Thanks for dropping by...and Easter greetings to you too!

    Latha, hey come on...You can do it for sure....Am sure your kids will enjoy this. Don't hesitate dear, try for sure :)

    Ash, hehehe...;)

    Paddukoti, hmm...that must be really fun :) Thanks for dropping by and a warm welcome to Mishmash!

    Sunita, hey you re lucky to have such friends...enjoy the Easter dinner. Welcome to Mishmash ! :)

    Susan, Great to know that you are getting well. Miss reading your posts! Take care!

    Anonymous, hahaha..there wasn't any opposition as such except for the initial reality shock and they supported me fully; in-laws have been nice too and the bottom line is we both are happy :)

    Happy Easter and holidays to you all !


  29. so, shn, what did you do with all those eggs? recipe, ps.

  30. Beautiful presentation as usual. You're very creative. Thanks for all the cool ideas.


  31. happy easter...nice presentation shn..
    i am so happy that u liked swiss chard..and the wonderful thing is u can grow them in ur won backyard.they r very easy to grow and u can get the seeds from the home depot/ lowes.

  32. Hi Shn

    Happy Easter!!

    Your write up is really interesting and very nice pictures too. I envy your creativity ;)

  33. For me, the best thing about easter is coming home after church for some palappam and chicken curry. I find that in America, easter is more about the eggs like Christmas is all about the gifts. Well, can't criticize much because it is about the appam and chicken curry for me :)

  34. Lovely captivating, that kept me staring for long..Happy Easter to you:)

  35. Mathew, Thanks and I really hope you have some easter fun too :)

    Bee, very simple recipe..cut them into two pieces and do a bit of pepper and salt action! ;-)

    Rg, Thank you and glad to see you coming back again :)

    Maneka, I don't have a backyard, what I have is a balcony, so not sure if I can grow them in containers as they grow really big...anyway, I guess I should research more on that. Thanks dear :)

    Maria, Thanks and I wish you the same ! creativity...ooohh ..thats really a big word with very in-depth meaning dear...don't know whether it really fits me ! :)

    Gini, lets "live and let live " right ?:) Happy Easter !

    Lera, Thanks for those lovely comments :)



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.