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tuesday tips: natural ways to dye your easter eggs

Posted Mar 26 2013 4:07pm

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This is probably one of the most fun posts I’ve written!  For this post, I got to tap into my inner “kid” and also my inner “scientist” (have I mentioned that I was a middle school science teacher back in my pre-children days?).  This project was like one big experiment, as I really did not know anything about dying Easter eggs naturally before starting.  Finding an alternative to the Paas dying kit is something I vow to do every year after we dye our eggs, as I hate wasting perfectly good hardboiled eggs that are contaminated with all kinds of unnatural coloring.  So this year, I set out to see if I could find a way to color my eggs with ingredients I already have around the house.  I was so surprised at the result, and now I have a fridge full of pastel colored eggs, which are much more fun to eat that the plain white or brown variety.

 

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When buying eggs to dye, I chose white free-range eggs.  These happen to be on sale at our nearest grocery store, so that was a definite bonus since I was buying so many.  In my mind, I always think of brown eggs as being more “natural” and healthy, and white eggs being kind of like white flour – the kind that comes from less healthy factory chickens.  Well, that is a myth.  The color of a chicken’s egg depends of the color of the chicken (kind of like the difference between us having brown eyes and blue eyes) and in no way affects the nutrients found in the egg.  If you’ve ever visited a local farm to buy your eggs (fresh eggs from a chicken free to roam are the healthiest), when you open your carton of eggs to check for breakage, you’ll see eggs of all different shades of brown and white.  So have no guilt about buying white eggs – they certainly soak up the dye better and result in much prettier dyed eggs than the brown variety.

 

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The first step in dying Easter eggs was to hardboil the eggs.  Check out this post for how to perfectly hardboil eggs .

 

The second step was to choose some brightly colored foods that I already have around the house.  I tried to pick out foods that I remember staining my fingers or dishes in the past, as I am assuming these foods have pretty potent plant pigments.  The first foods that come to mind are beets, blueberries, and turmeric.  But upon digging around in my fridge and pantry, I found a few more.

 

Next, I followed these steps to dye my eggs.  If the food was already ground, I skipped step 1, and if it was already a liquid, I skipped to step 4.

  1. Chop the food into small pieces.
  2. Place the food in a small saucepan, and simmer in 2 cups water with a little salt added for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain out the food over a small juice glass to separate the colored liquid or dye. (The cooked food can be stored in the fridge for use in other recipes.)
  4. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to the dye.
  5. Place a harboiled egg in the dye for at least 2 hours, overnight for darker eggs.

 

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To achieve the following colors, I used:

 

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Blue:  ½ purple cabbage

 

 

 

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Purple:  1 cup grape juice

 

 

 

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Dark green:  skin of a purple onion

 

 

 

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Deep blue:  ½ cup frozen blueberries

 

 

 

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Blue-green:  1 teaspoon spirulina

 

 

 

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Pink:  1 beet

 

 

 

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Dark Red:  1 cup cranberry juice

 

 

 

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Orange:  2 tablespoons paprika

 

 

 

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Bright yellow:  2 tablespoons turmeric

 

 

 

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Light yellow:  1 sweet potato

 

 

 

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Brown:  1 cup strong coffee

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say that I am both surprised and happy with the result!  It was so easy to do, and I now my Easter eggs look both beautiful and appetizing.  This was a fun project, and one I will definitely be repeating with my kids.  I’d love to hear your ideas for foods to use when naturally dying Easter eggs.  Please comment and share!

 

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