Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs
Egg-dying is a really fun family activity or a science project – regardless of your religious affiliation. This year, try going au naturale using these recipes:
What you need:
• White Vinegar
• Vegetables and spices, see below
• Filtered Water
• Measuring spoons
• Wooden spoon and slotted spoon
• Olive oil, wax, cooking twine, leaves, etc (optional)
What you do:
1. Choose which colors you’d like to dye your eggs:
-Red onion skins, use a lot
- Pomegranate juice
- Whole beets- not canned
- Cherries or cranberries
- Lemon or orange peel
- Celery seeds
- Ground Cumin
• Pale Yellow
- Boil eggs in 3 tablespoons of ground turmeric for 12-15 minutes
• Deep Gold
- Boil eggs in 3 tablespoons of ground turmeric for 30 minutes
• Yellow Brown
- Dill seeds
• Yellow Green
- Bright green apple peels
- Yellow onion skins
- Canned blueberries and their juice
- Red cabbage leaves
- Purple grape juice
• Baby Blue
- Boil ½ head of read chopped red chopped cabbage, soak eggs in solution in the fridge for 1-2 hours. (Cabbage dye does not work until it cools).
• Royal Blue
- Boil ½ head of red chopped cabbage for 30 minutes, soak eggs in solution in the fridge overnight.
• Violet Blue
- Violet blossoms
-Red onion skins (less than needed for red)
- Spinach leaves
-Fresh green herbs
- Olive green, use red onion skins (colored produced by reaction with vinegar)
• Brown/ Tan
-1 quart of strong black coffee instead of water
- Black walnut shells
-Handful of cumin seeds
• Lavender/ Purple
- Diluted purple grape juice
-Violet blossoms plus squeeze of lemon
- Frozen Blueberries
- 3 cups of chopped beet
- Cranberries or cranberry juice
- Red grape juice
2. Place eggs in the bottom of a large pan. Cover with water. For each color, fill a saucepan with at least three inches of water. Add 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar. Add the natural ingredient of your choice from above. It’ll take around 2 cups, packed.
3. Bring the contents to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the color you are intending. Some ingredients take longer to set and the longer the eggs boil, the deeper the color. To further deepen the color, take the pan off the stove and store in the fridge overnight.
5. Remove the eggs from the dye. If you’re satisfied with the color, then allow them to dry on racks over old dish towels. For deeper, richer colors, strain the liquid, and allow the egg to continue to soak for up to eight hours. Any longer, and the vinegar will start to disintegrate the shell. If you plan to eat the eggs, put them into the refrigerator.
Use brown eggs to deep gold and browns, white eggs for other colors. Try creating unique designs on your eggs by drawing on them with white crayons, tying cooking twin around them before dying. For permanent hollow eggs, create a small hole in both ends of the egg with a safety pin or wire and gently blow contents of the egg out of one end. Any food that gives off a tint when boiled is a potential dyeing agent- look around the kitchen for other ingredients that might produce interesting hues.
To add a marbleized effect, stir in a few teaspoons of olive oil into the cooled, stained dye. The oil will stick to the shell in certain places, preventing the dye from continuing to color the shell in certain spots.