It wouldn’t be Easter in South Tyrol without colored eggs on our tables. From time immemorial the tradition of coloring eggs is practiced from southtyrolean families on Holy Thursday. In some places the colored eggs are given as a present from young women to the young man they hope to marry in the same year… but that’s another story. On Good Friday the eggs and many other delicacies are put in a lovely way into a basket that is blessed on Easter Saturday in the church. All the culinary delights are eaten together with the whole family on Easter Sunday.
Next to the artificial colors you can buy in the stores, in the last years grandmother’s method of coloring with natural products became more and more popular. How it works: White eggs are pasted with leaves, herbs, grass or spring flowers by wetting the natural ornament slightly with some water in order that it sticks to the egg. Than you put the egg into a thin nylon sock and tie it strong. Vegetables and fruits are used to create a colored essence. (for the preparation see below). Cook the eggs in the sock till it’s hard inside and immerge them in the essence taking out the ingredient first. Let them in the essence for at least 30 minutes in order that they get colored well. Turn the eggs every now and then to get a uniform color. For a shining gloss rub the eggs with some oil on a cloth or with a piece of bacon rind.
Preparation of the essence:
Cut the vegetables etc. in small pieces and cook them for 30-60 minutes (it depends on the desired intensity of the color). For 2 liters of water you need approx. 500 g of vegetables and 50-100 g of berries, flowers, tea and coffee. The flowers, leaves and berries must be immerged in water for some hours before cooking the essence with them.
The following fruits, vegetables and plants can be used for the essence:
- Color RED: beetroot, red onion
- Color YELLOW: curcuma, saffron, chamomile flowers, leaves of apple tree
- Color ORANGE: carrot
- Color GREEN: spinach, stinging nettle, parsley, Saint John’s wort
- Color BROWN: black tea, onion skin
- Color BLUE and PURPLE: blueberry, red cabbage
Have fun and happy Easter!