Thursday 2 April 2015

Natural Egg Dyes


I know neon was in a few years ago, but the Pantone colour of the year is Marsala, and I'm really feeling the natural, warm tones that are trending lately.  I figured this should translate to my Easter eggs this year, so I scouted out some recipes for dyeing your eggs using natural ingredients.  Granted, it's harder to get the colours really dark and saturated, but I'll go natural over chemical anyday!  Or most days.  On good days?  That's it, I'll go natural on my good days.

Easter egg dye
  • For red hues: beets, perilla leaves (also known as shiso leaves - you can usually find this in your Korean or Japanese store)
  • For orange hues: yellow onion skins, paprika
  • For yellow hues: turmeric, yellow apple peels, green tea, red swiss chard
  • For green hues: spinach, chlorophyll (available from some health food stores)
  • For blue hues: blueberries
  • For purple hues: grape juice, hibiscus tea, red wine
  • For brown hues: coffee, tea.  Or just buy those brown eggs?
  • white vinegar (to deepen the colour of your dye)
Oh, and eggs.  Did I mention we need eggs?

easter egg dye
I actually ended up trying spinach, grape juice, beets, paprika and turmeric/red swiss chard.
beets turmeric

  1. Wash your eggs.
  2. Cut up/mush your dye ingredients.
  3. Place dye ingredients and eggs in a pot.  
  4. Pour in enough water to come up around the eggs.  Try to keep track of how much water you pour in, so you can add in the appropriate amount of vinegar.
  5. Pour in 3 tablespoons of vinegar for each cup of liquid.
  6. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat and let simmer for as long as you like.  Basically, boil it until you like the colour.  Be warned, some eggs will never get very dark.
Tip!  Get your toddler in on the action.  They can help tear or cut up the dye ingredients, or help pour in water and vinegar.  Just be sure to have them help before you start boiling so they stay safe!

My notes:
  • the spinach didn't work.  I ended up with only very, very lightly stained eggs.
  • beets worked really well!  I used 3 beets for 4 eggs and those are the ones in the photos.
natural egg dye
  • grape juice worked moderately well.  I used a can of grape juice from concentrate and omitted the vinegar.  It stained the eggs a very light purple.
  • paprika made the eggs brown (I imagine a similar brown to what you'd get if you used tea or coffee), not orange, but it could just be old paprika.  I used about 1.5 tbsp for 4 eggs.
  • turmeric was amazing!  I used about 1 tsp, plus 4 stalks of red swiss chard, and it produced the golden eggs you see in the photos.
swiss chard and turmeric

Tip!  Use a smaller pot so that your dye materials come up around the eggs.

Keep in mind that your results will vary based on cooking time, soaking time, and the eggs...for some reason, some eggs just don't dye evenly!  Either way, you'll end up with super-cute, rustic, natural eggs for Easter.
beets turmeric paprika

Tip!  If you like the look of natural dyes, but don't want the hassle, buy egg dyes at the craft store and dye brown eggs.  Having the brown base really tones down the brightness of the dyes.

natural dye

Tip!  Save your dye ingredients to naturally dye homemade playdough.

Now you have gorgeously dyed eggs that you won't be afraid to eat!  Serve them up at your Easter brunch, bring them to a potluck, or save them for egg salad sandwiches next week.  Either way, it's a fun activity and beautiful decoration for your Easter season!

Happy Easter!

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