My family loves hard boiled eggs. Loves. Them. But I’m really not so very fond of eating eggs hardboiled at Easter time. Why? Well, by the time you get that hardboiled egg to eat at the end of the day, its exchanged who knows how many little germ covered hands, been cracked open in who knows how many places in the yard and spent the better part of a sunny afternoon being turned into something less than appetizing. Want to avoid all that – and that ever present worry that one of those hard boiled eggs wont be found until a month later? Enter the simple, the way less gross – blown eggs for Easter.
What is a blown egg?
And, no, this does not mean Easter eggs that are wasted, smashed or ruined. Blown Easter eggs are regular raw poultry (chicken, duck, goose, whatever) eggs that have had their gushy, egg-y insides removed by blowing. Once they’re cleaned out, you can decorate them as you would any other Easter egg.
Blowing out Easter eggs is quite common in Europe; the famed Faberge and Pysanky eggs being two great examples. Just as a side note, one of our favorite Easter/Passover books has got to be Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Pollaco – just a sweet, sweet book – where hand blown eggs are featured. We just read it today, in fact!
Anyway, I was browsing through the Hearthsong catalog about a decade ago when my youngest was just a baby and I saw this neat looking Easter kit for the family that included a small tool with a rounded but sharp point. You use the tool to carefully create two holes, one on each end of the egg. The kit comes with this little blower tool that turned out to be completely useless since it popped a hole after about ten uses. Not necessarily Hearthsong’s bad, stuff just happens sometimes.
You make one hole at one end of a room temperature egg and then insert the blower tool up inside and start pumping to blow out the egg – so have a bowl underneath you operation. BUT, if your blower pops a hole or if you just decide you don’t want to bother (the tool does take awhile), you can make a hole at both ends of the egg and just put your mouth on one and blow the egg out the other end. I live on a homestead and I put raw eggs in my homemade ice cream and I really don’t freak out about getting egg on my lips. If you do, use the blower.
Tips for successful blown eggs
There are some things we’ve discovered over the years that make this operation go a little smoother. With five small children, I need all the smooth I can get.
- Don’t let very small children blow eggs. Do I need to explain why?
- Room temperature shells work best – cold shells aren’t flexible enough to withstand the blowing process without cracking or breaking. If you have to use cold shells, go very slowly.
- Slightly enlarging the bottom hole with help the process go faster. When you’re doing a few more than five blown Easter eggs (like, say, a dozen or two), faster is better, imo.
- A reader just reminded me – make sure you stick a craft needle or the pokey end of the blower tool up inside your hole to break the egg yolk. Those buggers are tough and big, but if you can break the yolk, everything should come out a bit easier. Thank you, Karen!
- Put your blown eggs in a bowl of water with a bit of soap to get the insides as clean as possible. You most likely wont get them pristine but they’ll dry out inside and be fine for the Easter season. I’ve never had a problem with mold or anything yucky.
- You can decorate your blown eggs like you would any Easter egg. If you don’t want to mess with dye, you can use stickers, ribbons and glue, henna designs, Sharpie pens or acrylic paint if that’s what your kiddos prefer.
- If you decide to dye your blown eggs, you’ll need to remember that they float so be prepared to gently weigh them down (a spoon works fine) or put several into a pint size mason jar and screw on a lid to keep them submerged. We did so many batches with our natural dye experiments that we were able to fill jars with eggs.
- You can freeze the egg part, which ends up scrambled at bit, to use later or you can make an awesome soufflé by following this link!
As you might expect, The Chicken Chick has some tips on blown eggs for Easter and Christmas! Natural Mothers Network has a tutorial, too, and they give you suggestions on how to decorate your eggs – which brings us to our next topic.
Decorating blown eggs
Once your blown eggs are decorated the way you like. This year we did an experiment with homemade, natural dyes and a store bought natural dye – care to see which one one the duel? You can simply use a pipe cleaner in a spring color to create a hook with which to hang your egg like an ornament, if you’d like. Cut a pipe cleaner in half and insert it through both ends of the egg. Keep one end of the pipe cleaner longer and bend it over to form a hook; the other end you can simply press over against the egg’s bottom to secure it and keep it from falling through.
This year, we were feeling extra fancy (and I packed our pipe cleaners for our move) so we used ribbon. I took a plastic craft needle and fed some thin ribbon through each end of the egg. At the top I’d created a hoop by tying a knot to act as the hook for the blown egg – at the bottom, I just tied a double knot. You can work it however you want and even add extra ribbons here and there. I’m not so crafty and I get bored quickly so one ribbon worked for me! For more inspiration, The Artful Parent has some fun ideas for decorating your blown eggs, too.
Blown eggs are delicate and not every phase of this process is good for including young children, if you keep them of staff. BUT, even little ones can be taught to place the eggs carefully into the dye baths, to tie simple knots in the ribbon, to make scrambled eggs with the leftovers. Plus, they can help you crush shells for the compost pile of the ones that inevitably break despite your best efforts. Stuff breaks. You work hard, you give it your all and stuff still breaks. Some cracks can be repaired, though. Maybe not the ones that appear on a blown egg, but the ones inside you and I? Yeah, those can be mended. Isn’t that what this time of year is all about? Maybe that’s why the egg is used as a symbol of renewal and hope in both the Easter and the Passover celebrations that mark the coming and going of this season?
Sometimes its a craft. Sometimes its an object lesson. That’s why I love Nature’s God.
To begin your egg blowing/decorating adventures, you may need these fine products:
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