Dyeing eggs is traditional at Easter time and what better way than to to dye Easter eggs naturally.
There is no need to go out and purchase special Easter egg dyes to make brightly colored eggs. Dye Easter eggs naturally using plants and other natural substances around the house or from the grocery store. Surprisingly, these natural substances make beautiful light or dark colored eggs that are safe to eat as long as they don’t stay in hot water for over an hour and are refrigerated after they are colored.
There are two methods of coloring eggs with natural dyes. You can boil raw eggs right with the substances to make a very dark color, or you can cool dyeing water and put hard boiled eggs in the dye for a few minutes at room temperature or put them in the refrigerator dye and all, over night Naturally dyed eggs are not very shiny, but you can dip a soft cloth in some olive oil and spread it on the egg after they dry and cool.
BOIL IN METHOD
To boil raw eggs in the dye, always use a stainless steel or glass pot. Aluminum pots tend to change the chemical composition and the colors might be a little off. If you add vinegar to brighten the color, aluminum pans will really change the colors, so avoid aluminum at all costs. Place eggs in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and add white or cider vinegar as indicated with the different colors below. If there is no amount of vinegar mentioned next to the particular color use 1 to 2 teaspoons. Lighter colors like pink and yellow require white vinegar and dark colors, like red or blue, can withstand cider vinegar. Just add the natural substance, vinegar and water to the pan and start to boil the eggs until they are hard boiled. Be careful about boiling eggs with chunky substances like cut up beets or berries. There is a good likelihood that the substance might break the egg. If the egg is not dark enough for you, just put the egg, dye and all in the refrigerator overnight after cooling 20 to 30 minutes. Depending on the substance, the eggs might look a little mottled, but that can be quite pretty.
COLD DIP DYE
If you prefer to use a cold dip to dye your eggs, make the dye by boiling the vinegar, water and natural substance first and let cool. Dip hard boiled eggs in the dye and leave them in 20 minutes rotating them occasionally so they become evenly colored. Remove them, dry and put in the refrigerated. These eggs will be more pastel than the boil in method.
SUBSTANCES TO MAKE COLORS
RED – Pour canned cherries and their juice into a stainless steel pan and squish with a potato masher. Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups water and one teaspoon vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer until eggs are done in boil in method or simmer 20 minutes, cool, strain and cold dip. A brick red is achieved by combining 2 tablespoons paprika in 1-1/2 cups water with 2 teaspoons white vinegar.
PINK – Achieve a deep pink by cutting up 1 medium beet and adding 4 cups water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes, cool, strain and use in cold dipping only. Another way to get pink is to boil 1-1/2 cups cranberry juice with 1 teaspoon white vinegar and do a boil in or cold dip method. If you like pickled beets, use the liquid as the dye in a cold dip.
BLUE – Take a can of blueberries and put it in a pot. Mash with a potato masher and add 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. It is possible to do a boil in method with the berries for a mottled look, but if you want smooth blue eggs, prepare the dye first and then boil raw eggs in the dye until done or do cold dip method for light blue. Red cabbage makes a beautiful robin egg blue. Chop 1/4 head of red cabbage and boil with 4 cups water and 2 tablespoons vinegar with or without the eggs. You can also cold dip with the cool and strained mixture.
GREEN – Fresh spinach leaves make the most lovely green color. Pack a cupful into a pot and add 3 cups water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Boil eggs in for a mottled effect or strain after 15 minutes of boiling let cool and add raw eggs to boil in the dye until done. A very light green is achieved with a cold dip. Red onion skins make a jade color. Peel six red onions and put the peels in the pot with 1-1/2 cup water, 3 teaspoons white vinegar and the eggs for the boil in method or cool the dye and cold dip. Grass from the front lawn can produce green with the same method, but never use grass that has been sprayed with insecticide.
YELLOW – Boil peels from six oranges or lemons in 2 cups water and 3 teaspoons vinegar. Cool, strain and add raw eggs and boil until done or use the dye as a cold dip. Carrot tops also produce a yellow by boiling 4 ounces of carrot tops with 1-1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Another way to get yellow is with the peels of six yellow apples in the same manner as the carrot tops. This produces a greenish yellow color.
PURPLE – Place 1 cup grape juice in a pot with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1-1/2 cup water and boil raw eggs in the solution. You can also do this with 1 cup red wine. Use a cold dip for lavender. Frozen blueberries crushed with 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon white vinegar simmered 20 minutes and used as a cold dip makes a nice light purple color.
BROWN – Yellow onion peels are traditional for making golden brown eggs. Just use the peels from six onions with 1-1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Boil the eggs in the mixture for a mottled look or cool strain and boil eggs. Cold dipping doesn’t work well. You can also use strong coffee to cold dip eggs.
It seems like a great deal of trouble to dye eggs naturally rather than using a pre-packages dye, but the kids will love seeing what makes the different colors. Make it into a learning experiment. After all, who would think red cabbage would dye eggs blue.