Easter Eggs can be SAFELY dyed with many things you already have at home?
Since Dharma is about all things dyed we thought it might be a good idea to delve into the realm of the Easter egg. We know that not everybody is comfortable putting the creepy store bought “mystery dye” on something that we might actually eat. Not to worry, you can safely and beautifully dye your own eggs using natural ingredients you probably already have at home. What do you need? Something colorful and edible from your pantry or fridge and vinegar to act as a mordant—that’s it!
What colors can be achieved? All of them!
Here is a list of popular colors and what you can use to get them:
Red – Red onion skins (lots of them) or yes the scary powdered drink-mix that shall remain nameless
Orange – Yellow onion skins, paprika, orange juice
Yellow – Carrot Tops, Chamomile Tea, Ground Cumin, Turmeric or Saffron (but at about $1000/lb you may think twice about the Saffron)
Green – Frozen spinach or chopped parsley or any other dark green leafy veggie
Blue – Blueberries of course, but red cabbage and purple grape juice will work too
Purple – Squished Blackberries or boysenberries (frozen is fine if you're not lucky enough to have them in your back yard)
Pink – Canned beet juice or fresh grated beets, raspberries and cranberries or cranberry juice
Brown – Coffee (instant or regular), Black tea
Remember, this list is only partial; there are hundreds of other types of produce that will produce lovely shades…experiment, experiment, experiment!
Tip #1: Breaking down the material you are using for your dye i.e. squishing, chopping, crushing or blenderizing (is that a word?) will help release more pigment and give you a more colorful result. If you like, you can also boil your dyestuff ahead of time, strain it through cheesecloth and use the concentrated liquid that comes out.
Tip #2: You can dye your eggs while you cook them or afterward. Dyeing them while they cook will give you better color and will also save you a step. If you dye them after they’re cooked and you plan to eat them you won’t be using heat during the dyeing process and your colors will be much more pastel.
Tip #3: After the eggs have been dyed, rub them with a little vegetable oil to make them shiny.
Dyeing while cooking method:
Put your eggs in a pot in a single layer. Add your dyestuff (more dyestuff = more color) and add just enough water to cover the eggs, turn on the heat and add your vinegar. Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat to low and let it all simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove eggs from the dye pot and let them air dry.
Dyeing after cooking method:
Prepare your dyestuff (see Tip #1) and put it in a stain resistant container. Hard-boil your eggs as desired. After they’re cooked place them into your dye solution and add only enough water to make the liquid cover the eggs. Add ¼ cup white vinegar, stir and refrigerate overnight. Remove eggs from the dye and let them air dry.
Dispose of your “dyestuff” in your garden or compost pile. Very Green yes?