TIE DYED EGGS

silk-dyed-eggs-6-1-of-1.jpg

To jazz up The Spring Cottage for Easter I tried my hand at making tie dyed eggs this week using a simple, mess-free method. That's right- there'll be no staining your hands, blowing out yolks, or finicky painting with this technique - all you need are some old silk ties, elastic bands, and a pair of scissors. Because white eggs are so difficult to buy in Australia I used the lightest free range brown eggs I could find at the market. I worried that the vibrant colours would be lost to the darker background, but actually it's cool how the tie-dyed pattern looks as though it's printed on wood. I think the results are beautiful as individual favours on our table. This would also be a great craft for older kids who could make their own silk dyed eggs and then hide them for younger children to hunt.

silk-dyed-eggs-1-1-of-1-600x663.jpg

Where to Buy White Eggs in Australia

The short answer is, you can't buy white eggs in Australia very easily. I looked for them in anticipation of Easter egg decorating for weeks in Brisbane with no success... Here's why.

In the 1950s, around the same time sliced brown bread became popular as the wholesome alternative to white, the Australian egg industry got to thinking that brown eggs must be healthier too and marketed them as such to the general public. Over time, this idea that brown eggs are 'more natural' than white took root.

The truth is that the brownness or whiteness of an egg is no indication of  nutritional value or how healthy and well treated the chicken was who laid it. It's just that some chickens lay brown eggs and some chickens - White Leghorns in particular- lay white eggs. White Leghorns are the standard chicken in North America, which is why we're accustomed to seeing white eggs there. But in Australia the fad for brown eggs has lead over the years to commercial egg farmers only being supplied with government approved chicks that grow up to lay brown eggs.

Many Australians think of white eggs as artificial  but in fact it's some brown eggs that we should be wary of. Because brownness is associated with naturalness and wholesomeness here, it's been found that some factory egg farms in this country add colourants to their chook's feed to ensure the eggs they produce are extra brown. Gross.

So the lesson is that on the inside, white and brown eggs are the same. But if you do want to buy white eggs for your Easter crafts in Australia, where should you look?

  • Ask friends with backyard chooks that lay white eggs. There are privately owned White Leghorns around so you might get lucky.
  • Find a Jewish Kosher deli. Kosher eggs must be white so each can be 'candled' or inspected for blood spots through the shell. There's a kosher deli that sells white eggs at Bondi Junction, but there doesn't seem to be one here in Brisbane from what I can tell.
  • Farmers markets sometimes have white eggs for sale around Easter, so ask your local markets to put you in touch with their egg sellers.
silk-dyed-eggs-7-1-of-1.jpg

How to Make Silk Tie Dyed Easter Eggs

1. Get some old silk ties or silk scarves, remove any lining and cut them into squares large enough to wrap around your eggs.

silk-dyed-eggs-2-1-of-1.jpg

{hint: If you're working with brown eggs, deep colours like blues, purples, indigos will show up beautifully. Pale or bright colours like turquoise, yellows, and pinks won't do as well.}

2. Making sure the bold side of the silk is touching the egg, wrap the fabric around each egg tightly and secure with a twist tie.

3. Using an old rag or t-shirt, cut out the same number of squares and layer top of the silk wrapper. This will prevent the colours from bleeding from egg to egg and messing up your patterns in the water bath.

silk-dyed-eggs-4-1-of-1.jpg

4. Place your eggs in a ceramic or stainless steel pot (not aluminium - it'll cause a chemical reaction that'll mean your eggs don't turn out as vibrant). Cover with water making sure each egg is completely submerged then add 2tbs of white vinegar.

5. On a medium heat, simmer on the stove for 20 minutes. Pull out your egg bundles and let them cool completely before unwrapping to discover the unique patterns on each egg.

silk-dyed-eggs-5-1-of-1.jpg