With a plethora of different colors to choose from, it’s no wonder why so many people dye their extra eggs during this time of the year. In the springtime, eggs symbolize new life and energy - plus they make great decorations!
Anatomy of an Egg
Between the eggshell and the egg white, there are two membranes (inner and outer) that provide more defense against bacteria that may have slipped in through the shell. These layers are made of keratin; the same protein that makes up human hair.
An air space forms when the insides of the egg cool and contract after it’s laid. The air space is usually between the outer and inner membranes at the egg’s larger end, and it accounts for the crater you often see if you’ve eaten a hard-boiled egg. This air cell grows larger if it were left to age, and that’s why you should never eat an egg that floats--it floats because it’s old enough for the air space to cause the egg to float...and that makes it too old to eat!
The next component of an egg is the yolk. Contrary to popular belief, the yolk is not what develops into a baby bird if fertilized; it is the stockpile of nutrients that the baby bird uses to grow and develop inside the egg. The yolk contains less water and more protein than the white, some fat, and most of the vitamins and minerals of the egg. These include iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium, among others, making the yolk a great source of nutrition for a growing baby bird.
How the Dye Works
When you add vinegar (which is diluted acetic acid), you’re actually flooding the dye with protons that they can bind to. Now that the dye molecules have combined with hydrogen ions, they can form hydrogen bonds. The slight positive charge the dye molecules now have are instrumental in binding to the slightly negative atoms in protein molecules and calcium carbonate of the eggshell.
Dye Your Own Eggs!
To make the dye, mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 10 to 20 drops of food color in a cup to achieve desired colors. Repeat for each color.
Dip the hard-boiled eggs in dye for about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, wire egg holder or tongs to gently add and remove your eggs from the dye. Make sure you allow them to dry before touching them! If you don’t leave them out for too long, you can eat the dyed eggs after you’ve used them as decorations.
Egg diagrams property of Discovery Express Kids LLC.
Kratochvil Petr. “Colorful Eggs”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/28/17 from publicdomainpictures.net
Kratochvil, Petr. “Colorful Easter Eggs”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/28/17 from publicdomainpictures.net
Koev, Vladimir. “Easter Time”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/28/17 from publicdomainpictures.net