Secret Recipe: Beet-Dyed Easter Eggs
Next Sunday, April 8 marks Easter, so here's a recipe for naturally dyed eggs from SF's Leslie Jonath and Ethel W. Brennan's just-released cookbook At the Farmers' Market with Kids (Chronicle).
Although dyes for Easter eggs are always available in stores, natural dyes are easy to make using beets . White eggs turn brighter colors than brown eggs, which take on muted tones. The eggs can be cooked up to 3 days ahead and stored in their cartons in the refrigerator. Beet dyes work best when hot, so parent supervision is important.
6 medium red beets
2 tablespoons white vinegar
6 medium yellow beets
1 tablespoon turmeric
1. Place the eggs in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for 20 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and pat them dry.
2. To dye the eggs red, trim the stems and root ends from the red beets. Grate the beets on a box grater. They do not need to be peeled. Place the grated beets in a pot and add 3 cuts water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth. Discard the grated beets. Pour the beet dye into a small glass or ceramic bowl; you should have about 1 cup. Gently add 2 eggs at a time to the dye and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. The dye works best when hot, so reheat it as needed.
3. To dye the eggs yellow, trim the stem and root end from the yellow beets. The skins of yellow beets have a greenish tint that can muddy the color, so unlike red beets they need to be peeled. Grate the peeled beets on a box grater. Place the grated beets in a pot and add 3 cups water and the turmeric. Follow the same method as for the red beets, reheating the dye as needed.