Easter is a messy holiday. Think about that Easter basket “grass” that sticks to everything. Then there’s those little tablets to turn your hard-boiled Easter eggs (and kitchen counter) brilliant shades of green and blue and pink. They claim a year’s worth of paper towels and your little brother’s shirt as sacrifice, and after the whole thing is said and done, you have whiffs of vinegar stalking you for days. There’s a better way to dye your hard-boiled eggs, and conveniently, it’s more delicious too. We’re talking about pickling with all natural dyes.
As it turns out, nature provides some pretty great food coloring. Turmeric lends a golden yellow color, blackberries and blueberries turn pickled eggs shades of blue and purple, and beets provide that shocking pink. But these eggs aren’t just a pretty face. That slightly sour, slightly sweet, kind of acidic flavor from the brine takes every hard-boiled egg dish to new heights, and senior food editor Chris Morocco’s brine, with equal parts salt and sugar, leaves you with a balanced sweet and salty flavor that translates well to anything from salads to noodles.
But talk is cheap. Let’s pickle some eggs.
1. Heat 1 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, and 1 cup water with desired coloring ingredient (2 small red beets, shredded on a box grater, 2 tablespoons ground turmeric, 1 cup blueberries, or 1 cup blackberries) in a small saucepan over medium until hot. Remove brine from heat. This will be the same for all the ingredients above.
2. Gently tap eggs to crack shell all over, but make sure to keep the shell intact. This cracked shell lets the brine penetrate and concentrate in certain areas, making a unique tie-dye pattern on the egg. Carefully add eggs to brine and chill the pot for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The longer you leave them in, the stronger the flavor of the brine will shine.
3. Once the egg craving kicks in and you’re ready to eat them, remove the eggs from your brine and peel them, discarding the shells to reveal trippy colored patterns the brine left behind. This is where the ooo‘s and ahhh‘s come in.