An Interesting Way They Used to Dye Eggs in France for Easter

(UPDATE: Here are directions I’ve written for dying eggs naturally.)

I’ve been emailing back and forth with Monique, of Mama Lisa’s World en français, about Easter traditions in the US and France.

I asked Monique whether or not they dye Easter eggs in France. In the US many people dye (hard boiled) eggs. Most people buy an egg decorating kit at the supermarket that has 6 color tablets that you put into individual bowls and add vinegar and then water. It gives six vibrant colors to dye your eggs.

I don’t know if people still dye eggs. When I was a child, they would hard boil them with an onion in the water to dye them yellow, with string beans in the water to dye them green, and with beet juice in the water to dye them red.

I don’t think people still dye eggs, I never hear kids speaking of it. But I can’t say for sure as they may still do it in other areas in France. There are instructions on the internet! They say to first hard boil the eggs and then let them stand for the day in water as follows:

For Red Eggs: in water in which red onions have been boiled
For Light or Dark Pink Eggs: use beets, blueberries or grapes
For Yellow Eggs: use saffron, curry, turmeric or nutmeg powder
For Ocre Eggs: use yellow onion skin
For Brown Eggs: use coffee
For Green Eggs: use spinach, but I remember my mother dying them in water with string beans.
For Blue Eggs: use red cabbage

It’s always interesting to me to learn not only about how people do things differently in different cultures, but also how they did things differently in the past.

Thanks for sharing this with us Monique!

-Lisa

P.S. According to an online article by Martha Stewart about dyeing eggs naturally – you don’t have to soak the eggs for the day. Instead, you can boil the coloring agent (listed above) in 4 cups of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. You can adjust the proportion of water to vinegar as needed. (A head of red cabbage will need 8 cups of water and 4 T. of vinegar.) Bring to a boil and then cook on low for 1/2 hour. Let cool. You can dunk the eggs for short amounts of time, or for more intense colors, you can soak the eggs in dye for the whole day as mentioned above.

(UPDATE: Here are directions I’ve written for dying eggs naturally.)

This article was posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2006 at 8:20 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Dyeing Eggs Naturally, Easter, Easter Eggs, France, French, Holidays Around the World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “An Interesting Way They Used to Dye Eggs in France for Easter”

  1. Monique Says:

    I’d like to add that when I was a child, people wouldn’t have used blueberries or grapes as they couldn’t be found out of season. There were no such things as canned blueberries or grapes from the Southern hemisphere to be found for Easter. And I’m very skeptical about people using them now.

  2. Lisa Says:

    FYI – I asked my mother how she dyed eggs as a kid. She grew up in the 1940’s in the suburbs of New York. She said at that time they already had the tablets for dying eggs that you can still find in the stores.

  3. Nancy Says:

    I live in Maryland in the US and, with my children, dye eggs for Easter using onion skin, blueberries (frozen), cranberries, beets, and tumeric. They produce the most beautiful, natural, colored eggs. We like to place a leaf on the egg, wrap it in a piece of old pantyhose before we dye it and you get a great leaf design on your egg. There are plenty of resources on the web to instruct you how to do this- the biggest trick is to add some vinegar to the pot. My son also uses this technique in his Waldorf preschool.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for writing. That’s very interesting!

    -Lisa

  5. Thrifty Mommy - Cool thrifty mommy frugal with time and money Says:

    […] Other sources for information: Martha Stewart:   Dyeing Eggs Naturally About.com Mama Lisa Technorati Tags: dye, dyeing eggs, Easter, Easter eggs, Martha Stewart, natural April 5th 2007 | Permalink | 0 Comments » […]

  6. How to Dye Eggs Naturally | Mama Lisa's World Blog Says:

    […] doesn’t involve ironing or starching shirts!) When my colleague from France mentioned that she used to dye eggs naturally, I knew that one day I had to try […]

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