One of the best Orthodox Easter traditions in dying eggs red for the Easter Sunday. It's fun and super easy to do it at home with a few simple ingredients that are safe to use, and it's guaranteed to get a lovely red colour every single time. I'll also show you how to make different designs using leaves or flowers for that extra wow factor.
Why do we dye eggs red for Easter?
Dyed Easter eggs are found on every table in Romania on Easter Day, and I add them to my Easter Dinner Menu without a fail. Although other colours like yellow, blue, green or purple are quite common too, red is the main colour, as it symbolises the blood of Jesus Christ.
Colouring eggs is one of the many beautiful traditions we have for our Orthodox Easter, and the same tradition is found in other Orthodox countries like Greece or Ukraine.
There are quite a few legends about why we dye eggs red for Easter. One of them says that, when Jesus was crucified, a woman who was passing by carrying a basket of eggs stopped to look at Jesus. She put the basket next to the cross and blood poured over the eggs, colouring them in red.
Ingredients used to dye eggs red
- red onion skins - the more, the better
- beetroots - cooked or uncooked
- red food colouring - for a more intense colour - optional though
- vinegar - It helps the colour stick better
- water - for boiling the eggs
- oil - for a nice shine
How to dye eggs red for Easter
- bring a pan of salted water to the boil - I used 4 cups for the 6 eggs I coloured
- add the vinegar, red onion skins and sliced beetroots
- boil everything for 15 minutes, then remove all the skins and beets to leave a clear red water
- carefully wash the eggs to remove any impurities, then add them to the coloured water
- add the red food colouring too at this stage if you use any
- boil for 15 minutes until you get the desired colour
- remove the eggs from the pan, leave them to cool slightly, then use some kitchen paper soaked with oil to give each egg a good polish - the colour will be a lot more vibrant
How to create different designs on dyed eggs
Decorating eggs is taken to a whole new level in Romania, where a painted egg can be a real piece of art. Whether you use a brush with paint, tie rubber bands around the eggs, use wax or leaves to create patters, you can create spectacular designs every single time.
The easiest way is using leaves and some unused tights. It can be absolutely any nicely-shaped leaf or flower that use stick to the egg, then carefully wrap it with tights to make sure the leaf stays in place.
Then follow the exact same steps, and once the tights are removed, the egg will be red with the leaf pattern on it.
Adding vinegar is crucial in order to get a lovely dark colour, otherwise the colour might not be even or stick well to the eggs.
You can use only red onion skins and beets for a more natural touch, but if you add some concentrated red food colouring - liquid one won't be as good, you will get a much vibrant colour, rather than a more brownish one.
The longer you boil the eggs for, the better the colour - so even if you'd rather have a more soft-boiled egg, I highly recommend boiling the eggs hard, as the colour won't have time to stick otherwise.
What to do with leftover dyed eggs?
We always boil way too many eggs at Easter, as they are so much fun. Leftovers can be easily turned into delicious new dishes that go down well with everyone.
My first choice is always a starter that we all love: Deviled Eggs - they are the perfect finger food, and great at this time of the year.
Or, you can turn them into Deviled Egg Sandwiches that everyone will love, from little to big ones. Another great recipe is the one and only Potato and Egg Salad, which can feed a crowd. And the list of ideas can go on.
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How to Dye Eggs Red for Easter
- 6 eggs
- 2 beetroots
- red onion skins from 10 onions
- 2 tablespoon vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon concentrated red food colouring paste
- oil to add shine to the eggs
- Pour the water into a pot and bring it to a boil.
- Add the red onion skins, sliced beetroots and vinegar, and boil the mixture for 15 minutes.
- Remove the skins and beets to leave clear red water.
- Carefully wash the eggs to remove any impurities, then add the eggs to the pot.
- Add the red food colouring paste if you use it - this can be optional if you don't have any, and leave the eggs to boil for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the pan, leave the eggs to cool slightly, and polish them with oil for a good shine.
- Adding vinegar is crucial in order to get a lovely dark colour, otherwise the colour might not be even or stick well to the eggs.
- You can use only red onion skins and beets for a more natural touch, but if you add some concentrated red food colouring - liquid one won't be as good, you will get a much vibrant colour, rather than a more brownish one.
- The longer you boil the eggs for, the better the colour - so even if you'd rather have a more soft-boiled egg, I highly recommend boiling the eggs hard, as the colour won't have time to stick otherwise.