How to make "Botanical Eggs"

Allison Jones from the South Carolina Botanical Garden shares with us at "Making It Grow" how to use onion skins and purple cabbage along with materials from your yard to decorate eggs!

Botanical Eggs

1. Making Dye:

Materials: Eggs (Boiled or raw, for blowing out later; If you plan to blow eggs out by mouth later, WASH NOW!) Purple Cabbage, chopped coarsely Onion skins, from ~10 onions Vinegar Stainless steel pots Metal spoons (plastic may become stained with dye) Directions: Place dying agent into pot and cover with water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Then allow to cool. *Eggs can be boiled with the onion dye to achieve a very dark rust color. If you want to do this, decorate your eggs and lower into the onion skin dye bath before heating. *Cabbage dye works best cooled.

2. Decorating with Botanicals:

Materials: Pantyhose, cut into strips Various small leaves, flowers, etc. small bowl of water Directions: Apply a small amount of water to the surface of the egg to help the botanical stay in place. Place the botanical part/parts onto you eggs and press down to ensure a good seal. Very carefully, wrap and tie the panty hose segment around the egg to secure the botanical in place. You want your knot on the opposite side of the design and you want the hosiery wrapped firmly, but not so tight that it pulls off or breaks the egg.

3. Dying the Eggs:

Lower the egg into the prepared dye bath with a spoon. The longer that you leave an egg in the dye, the darker it will get. Carefully, check the color as minutes or hours pass, and remove from the dye when desired color is achieved. *Remember that the color underneath the hosiery may be slightly lighter than the exposed areas of egg.

4. Blowing Out Eggs:

Materials: Straight Pins Baby aspirator, (If you don’t have one, you can use your breath to blow out the eggs) Bowl for catching egg liquid Directions: *Practice first with a plain, raw egg! Using a straight pen, poke a small hole into the egg on the small end and a slightly larger hole on the large end. You may need to chip away at the holes a bit, especially the bottom one, to ensure that it is big enough that you can effectively blow out all the egg’s contents. Make sure to break up the yolk and membrane with the needle so it will not get stuck on the way out and crack your egg. Now you can use either a baby aspirator or you mouth to blow into the small hole and force the liquid contents out of the larger hole. Just be careful to not blow with too much force, as you can easily crack you egg that way. Once the contents have been blown out, give your egg a quick rinse. You can blow any remaining water out through the holes and give it a pat dry. I like to stand my eggs back in carton for a day or so to allow any remaining liquid to drain out. Once dry, they are ready to use for years to come.