An earthy Easter

7 Apr

As a kid growing up in the mountains of Big Tujunga Canyon we used to have a hippie tradition that was so wonderfully wholesome it set me up for Easter disappointment for the rest of my adult life. Nothing can compare to the warm spring evenings and homemade root beer that drove all of us kids running in the direction of our friend’s horse property half a mile down the road. Right before dusk the whole neighborhood would convene to help the kids tie leaves and grass around our eggs with twine, and then boil them in a cauldron of bubbling onion peels. After they were cool we would carefully cut the string free from our packages and press back each strand of grass until a fluffy nest had formed around our precious eggs. As a by-product the eggs were left with the most delicate shadowy patterns of whatever leaves imprinted upon their shells, and we all felt like the grand creators of something very, very special.

This year I realized, rather to my own surprise, that I had yet to share this experience with my boys. Perhaps it was time. And lucky for me a dear friend happened to forward a post from mothering.com which included suggestions for dyeing eggs naturally. So this afternoon the boys and I donned aprons for our first attempt at an old tradition. Although I fudged a few details here and there (trading cheesecloth for wild grasses and coffee for root beer…) I am happy to say the results were various hues of yummy neutrals, and between picking leaves from the garden and chowing down on the fruits of our labors the boys and I most definitely succeeded in bringing back the old days. Can’t wait for next year to do it all over again. Read on for how-to!

Boiling spinach and onion peels to make dye. Next year I'll skip the spinach as it didn't provide the pop of color I was hoping for.

Big bro steeps black tea.

All geared up for the main event!

Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar per cup of dyeing liquid.

Collect greenery to imprint onto your eggs. I found that ferns worked best, but cilantro, parsley, and any other small leaves from your yard will work as well.

Wrap cheesecloth around egg and leaves, and secure with a rubber band.

Happy kid!

Place wrapped eggs into bowls of dye and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Little bro snacks on the job.

Really?!

Papa takes a break to wrangle the lizard friend that joined us in the kitchen...

Little bro releases our new buddy back into the wild.

Back to business just in time to take the eggs out. Dyes made of boiled turmeric, boiled frozen blueberries, boiled yellow onion peels, grape juice, and black tea.

The finished product! This pic makes me happy.

Happy Easter, friends. Boom Shakalaka Boom Boom.

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2 Responses to “An earthy Easter”

  1. Keeping Up With The Holsbys April 16, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    I wish I saw this in time for Easter. Your eggs are awesome!! – Odd sounding sentence. Would have been perfect on our egg hunt as we’re quite fond of an egg around these parts….. Although the chocolate version were hardly poo poo’d.

    • FreeTheMom April 16, 2012 at 5:52 am #

      I should have gotten this post out sooner to give folks a chance to try the process – but we can only do so much! I’ll aim for that next year. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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