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Decorated Eggs for Easter

And why not for summer picnics too?

So much has changed in our time that it is lovely to see young children today excited about the same things that attracted us when we were young.

Easter is one of those events which really hasn’t changed too much over the years. Certainly it was more religious in my youth, but the fundamentals of presenting highly decorated eggs - plus of course giving chocolate easter eggs - has remained unchanged over decades.

If you want to dye your egg to create something really special, there are a few good tips that can help.

Decorating boiled eggs to be served hot is the most difficult (which is why today most decorated eggs are hard boiled eggs allowed to get cold). The best way to decorate a hot boiled egg before serving is to buy a commercial food dye and just paint it on as you serve. It will run down the shell because of the heat but will give a little colour and fun.

But for cold hard boiled eggs, there is real scope for exciting colour and patterns. First how you cook the eggs are key. Pop them gently in a saucepan so they are all side by side (non in a second layer) and cover with cold water that comes up around an inch or so above them. Try not to overcrowd a saucepan because then they can jiggle against each other and crack the shells. Turn the heat on the hob and bring to the boil quickly. Once the bubbles start coming up, remove the pan from the heat, cover with a tightly fitting lid and simply let them stand for 15 minutes.

Now here is a great tip that can help achieve a sharp white in the egg rather than that greyish white so many hard boiled eggs have. When the 15 minutes are up, gently remove the eggs from the pan and put them immediately into a bowl of water chilled with ice cubes. Leave them here for another 15 minutes, then dry carefully with kitchen paper taking care not to crack the shell.

This should give you a perfect hard boiled egg.

To dye them, fill a container with some boiling water and vinegar (about 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to half a cup of boiling water) plus a food dye of your choice, usually around 20 drops of so will give a good base shade. Simple pop the egg on a spoon and dunk for around five minutes or more, turning occasionally. The longer you leave it the darker the egg. Then just pop on some kitchen paper to dry.

One change from our childhood is that today you can buy commercial dyes from many shops across the UK. Some of these include instructions on how to create charming marbling effects and also glitter, neon colours and some really intricate patterns for eggs using egg holders and paint palettes.

It really is quite easy to create highly coloured decorated easter eggs - in fact they can look so beautiful that increasingly people are decorating eggs for use in picnics and at special occasions right through the summer months as well.


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