This time of year the grocery and department stores are awash with pungent chemical Easter Egg dyes that are bright, uniform, and prepare quickly; but it’s important to know that those dyes are not the only way the gave a pastel embellished holiday to your little-ones.
Natural Easter Egg Dyes are easy to prepare, and even though they don’t offer the near instant gratification of their new age counterparts – I think the natural dyes look better and are just as fun to use.
Powder Turquoise: Red Cabbage
Lavender/Light Blue: Blue Berry
Purple: Red Wine
Dull Blue Grey: Grape Juice
Orange – Red Brown: Onion Skin/Paprika
Brown: Dark Coffee
Pink: Beat Juice/Cranberry Juice
Yellow Green: Turmeric
Green: Spinach or Wheat Grass
The cooking instructions vary for individual ingredients; but the desired result is the same for each: deep color in enough liquid to fully cover eggs. Add 2tbs of vinegar (any will do, i prefer white) for each cup of liquid dye to help with color fastness. If you want more detailed instructions, try here.
Step 1. Hard Boil the Eggs
My preferred method for hard boiling Easter eggs is to place a layer of eggs on a wide pan, fill pan with cold water till the depth is 1.5 inches above the eggs, and turn on high heat. Once the water starts to boil, turn the heat off, place a lid over the pan and let sit 10 minutes. Remove eggs from pan and refrigerate. *note* eggs that are 3 to 4 days old will be the easiest to peel.
Step 2. Boil Dye Ingredients
You’re going to have to play this one by ear – but it’s not hard to do, so have faith in your self. Cut/grind/mince ingredients into small chunks or strips and place 1 or 2 handfuls into a pan. Add 2 cups of water and place on stove with high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat till you achieve a light simmer. Simmer your selected ingredient for 10mins to an hour depending on the desired intensity of the color. Add more of the ingredient and allow time to steep, until desired color is reached. For dyes that use ground spices, 15 min steep time is sufficient.
Step 3. Decorate Eggs!
Allow liquid dye to cool. Add cooled dye to mason jars and submerge eggs. Let set at least 10 mins. Refrigerate eggs in dye over night for the most intense colors. *note* some natural dyes may effect the taste of the eggs. Some dyes are perishable, and should be handled as any other perishable food would.
The most important thing to do is HAVE FUN! Natural Dyes have been around for 1000’s of years. If a food item is colorful, and is safe to eat raw at room temperature, it’s likely that you can use it as a dye! Have fun, be safe, and happy Easter. Featured Image credit: Nomadic Lass
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