Easter Egg Dyes With Natural Foods and Spices
Setting up the kitchen laboratory to get a good feel for which Easter egg dyes with natural foods and spices work. Some I have tried before. Some, I have not.
For color purposes below, assume you start with hot, white eggs. For each item used I will give the directions on how to make the coloring and any special instructions.
A Few Reasons We Dye Easter Eggs
In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, with further symbolism being found in the hard shell of the egg symbolizing the sealed Tomb of Christ — the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.
Cooking Your Eggs
To this step once you have your colors set up. I have found using hot, dry eggs allows the shell to absorb the most coloring. Gently boil your eggs in a glass or stainless steel cookware for 10-12 minutes, until hard boiled. Drain off the water, leaving the eggs to stay hot in pan.
Preparing Your Liquid Colors
Use glass or stainless steel to hold your colors. It will prevent a chemical reaction between the food and the container holding the color.
Lifting Eggs From Color
Use a slotted spoon to lower and lift each colored egg in and out of the dye. Set out newspaper to air dry the eggs or on wax paper.
RED – Pastel Pink To a Deep Rose
1.) Fresh Beets – In a small amount of water boil fresh beets, covered. Boil until they are still a little on the hard side. Lift beets from water and save water. Peel outside skin off beets. Slice or dice the cooked beets and place them back into the hot water to soak for several hours. Remove beets. Reserve 3/4 cup of juice. Add 2 teaspoon of vinegar to the juice. Immerse eggs into coloring. Longer it sits, deeper the color. Not usual for them to sit 5 minutes or longer. Side note you can skip boiling and use canned beet juice too.
2.) Red Onion Skins – Save your outer dark and dry skins from at least 6 large onions. Tip for shoppers. There are always extra skins roaming around the produce department. Since you are charged by weight, throw more skins in with the onion your purchase. Boil the skins in a cup full of water in a covered pan for 15 minutes or until the liquid is dark. Strain and reserve liquid. Submerge a hot, dry egg into liquid. Color depends on how long the egg sits. Light red to a rusty orange red on white egg.
YELLOW – From Light Yellow To Dark Gold
1.) Yellow Onion Skins – Save your outer dark and dry skins from at least 6 large onions. Boil the skins in a cup full of water in a covered pan for 15 minutes or until the liquid is a dark yellow. Strain and reserve liquid. Submerge a hot, dry egg into liquid. Color depends on how long the egg sits. Side note here: This one can vary a little. It can also make orange on white eggs at times and a rusty red on brown eggs. I have had it do both yellow and orange on white eggs.
2.) Ground Turmeric – Dissolve 2 tablespoons ground turmeric in one cup of hot water.
BLUE – Light Blue and Turquoise
1.) CHOPPED PURPLE CABBAGE – Chop one 1/2 head of purple cabbage and simmer in 1/2 cup of of water until the cabbage turns dark green. The juice will be blue. Lower hot egg into liquid.
ROBIN EGG BLUE – Light To Dark Robin’s Egg Blue and a Blue/ Purple
1.) BLUEBERRIES – Strain the juice from ripened canned blueberries into a cup. I do not add any vinegar to the mix. Just stain the hot egg with the color. Longer dip times will yield different shades. If you use sweetened blueberries, there will be a sticky residue left behind. Dip the egg into clean water and pat dry to remove the residue.
LAVENDER – Pastel Colored Purple
1.) FROZEN BLACKBERRIES – Slightly crush dark, frozen blackberries with your fingers. Wipe the berries onto the hot shell of the egg. Wipe quickly and evenly. Do not rinse. If rinsed you will get a blue-purple. Gently wipe off excess juice on the surface of the egg with a dry, soft cloth.
2.) RED ZINGER TEA – Steep one tea bag of Red Zinger tea in a cup of water. Then Lower hot egg into the hot bath water.
GREEN – Olive Green
1.) USE YELLOW ONION EGG – Use a dry, yellow egg which was dyed with onion juice and dip it into the blue liquid of the cabbage juice.
2.) MATE TEE OR TEA – Mate also known as yerba mate is prepared by steeping dried leaves just like traditional tea.
A fun way to decorate your eggs is to take the hot eggs and gently moisten around the egg. Adhere leafs to the outside shell. Place egg into a piece of pantyhose. Knot it on top. Dip egg in solution as you would above. After egg has sat in color solution, remove from pantyhose and remove the leaf. The leaf outline and even some veins will show on the egg.
1.) Remember to start with hot eggs. Some start with cold. It can be done too. Although, I found my color bleeds quicker into the shell and I do not have to use vinegar as much. Vinegar is only added to a few. Not all.
2.) The longer your egg sits in the color solution usually the darker the outcome.
3.) For planning purposes remember for every dozen eggs, it will take at least four cups of dye.
4.) Some dyes will have a variant of color. Not sure why this is. One time I can dye eggs with yellow onion skins and get pure yellow. The next time, orange. Keep this in mind.
5.) Rub all eggs with mineral oil or vegetable oil after dying them. This does two things. One, it protects the color from moisture. The colors are water soluble. The colors will run if they come in contact with moisture if the oil coating is not used. The second reason is that the oil adds a beautiful sheen to the eggs.
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Use Lavender From Your Garden To Make Lemonade
As you can see from my long winded post that Easter eggs with dyes from natural foods & spices can yield excellent results. I find it fun to experiment and leave behind the chemicals. I’d rather not ingest the chemicals from commercial kits if the coloring happens to bleed through on the eggs. Just food for thought – pun intend 🙂