Easter is a lot more fun when you’re a little kid.  It’s all about the arrival of the mystical Easter bunny, who leaves a basket full of all sorts of stuff in celebration of the holiday.

When you get a bit older, you start to get skeptical.  How does the bunny get around to everyone’s house in one night (similar inquiries about Santa are made the next time Christmas rolls around)?  How does the bunny hold the basket if he doesn’t have opposable thumbs?  And how does the bunny get into my house?  Sure, the bunny may be magical, and he might hold the basket in his mouth, but there’s really no logical explanation for that last one.  Unless, of course, the bunny is an expert at disabling several dozen types of alarm systems and breaking and entering techniques, or can teleport directly inside (let’s face it: a teleporting Easter bunny can in no way compare to the Nightcrawler from Marvel Comics’ X-Men).

This year, Easter was mostly an inconvenience.  On Easter Sunday, every hair salon within a one-hundred-mile radius of my house was closed – just when I was badly in need of a haircut.  And my sibling’s bizarre school projects interferred with my schedule.  Why did she invite four people over, and why was she standing in the driveway practicing a dramatic report for every random passerby to see?  And why was that girl I don’t know wearing MY Renaissance costume?

Easter eggs in a carton, naturally dyed with tea and herbs

It was a stroke of luck when I stumbled across instructions for dying Easter eggs with tea.  The recipe, if you could call it that, was surprisingly simple: So I couldn’t resist trying it out.

The type of tea you use to dye your eggs depends on what color you would like them to be.  Teas that contain hibiscus supposedly produce a purple-ish color, chamomile will have the egg looking remotely yellow, most kinds of green tea produce a brighter yellow, and black teas and chicory produce shades of brown and orange.  The only two I tried were a raspberry tea with hibiscus and a white tea called “Mandarin Orchard.”

Easter eggs soaking in a pot of dye made with tea

First, you steep the desired tea for at least 15 minutes using twice the amount of tea you would use to make tea to drink.  After the tea has finished steeping, you add a teaspoon of white vinegar, and the eggs.  The eggs should be left in the dye solution for at least an hour – the longer the eggs are left in the solution, the brighter they end up, as with any dye.  I will admit to forgetting about the eggs for a few hours, although that was possibly better than my checking them every few minutes.

Upon removal, I found that the egg steeped in the raspberry and hibiscus tea was a somewhat unsuitable tan, but the egg steeped in the white tea was a slightly more satisfactory orange-yellow.  Put them in a bucket with a handful of cotton, and they don’t look so different from normal Easter eggs – that is, if a bright pink, synthetically colored egg can be considered normal.

Eggs steeped in tea also are alleged to taste like tea, if some of the tea gets through the shell and into the egg.  However, I have yet to try eating them, as I’m still celebrating my triumph in dyeing them.  (My last kitchen project resulted in scraping cookie batter off the ceiling after nearly cutting my hand off with an electric mixer and eating excessive amounts of hazelnut-coco butter.  My classmates assured me the cookies were delicious, though they may have had a different opinion if I’d mentioned my cat had licked some of them.)

Hopefully, using tea as a Easter egg dye will be another fun way for the rest of you tea enthusiasts to brighten your holiday, too!

This article has been reformatted and updated from the original May 2011 publication.

Photo “Naturally dyed eggs” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “lizard mama” and is being posted unaltered (source)

Photo “Steepin’ in Star Anise” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “purdman1” and is being posted unaltered (source)