Natural Egg Coloring for Easter

Spring is such a colorful, vibrant season and Easter offers us the perfect time to rejoice, gather and craft in these brilliant jewel tones and subtle, pale pastels. As a child, we lined up rows of small ceramic bowls, filled them each with warm water and pungent vinegar and carefully dropped a tiny egg dye tab into each. As we watched them fizz and bubble, we gathered our hard-boiled eggs and eagerly waited to begin soaking them.

While we took pains to cover our dresses and clothes with aprons and old, ratty tee-shirts, we never stopped to think of our little fingers dipped into this colored dye or eating the eggs within these brightly colored shells.

Today, while labels on these synthetic egg dyes claim to be nontoxic, many still contain synthetic food dyes that studies have linked to everything from allergies to behavioral problems such as ADHD. I love how my experience at nutrition school has really made me stop to think about what I put into and onto my body and what I want to be a part of. Why not change things up a bit?!

I have such fond memories of holiday crafting in my kitchen growing up. Whether we were baking, decorating or dying  we loved the excuse to gather and spend time together. Just as our understanding of processed foods have evolved, so can our understanding of what constitutes healthy, happy, holiday traditions. Let a new tradition begin with these lovely, pale-colored naturally dyed jewels. Create your own rainbow of distinctive dyes using our recipes below or using your own unique selection of spices, fruits, juices and vegetables.

Experimenting with natural dyes based with spices, plants and juices opens the opportunity for creating one-of-a-kind colors, patterns and experiences. Spend the day testing out your own ideas or try a few of ours.

These colorful egg dyes are safe to interact with and allow us to eat the eggs after dying. Mother nature won't miss the chemicals going down the drain either!

These natural dyes may take a little bit longer to develop into rich, bright and deep colors. So be patient, make several cups or bowls of dye and plan to work on several eggs while you wait for others to get to just the right color!

What You’ll Need

  • 2 dozen large, white, organic eggs (save the 2 empty egg cartons for drying)

  • a large pot (or several if you desire to make colors more than one at a time)

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar

  • ingredients for your selected natural egg colors

  • one bowl for each of the colors you select

  • newspapers (to cover your work surface)

  • aprons or old clothes

  • a sieve or colander

  • slotted spoons (for removing eggs)

  • crayons, glitter (optional)

Natural Egg Coloring

INGREDIENTS

Spring Green

  • 1/2 bunch chopped parsley

  • 2.5 oz chopped spinach

  • 3 oz blueberries

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Robin Blue

  • 2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) coarsely chopped red cabbage

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Pale Pink

  • 2 large shredded beets

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Rose

  • 2 shredded beets

  • 2 Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger herbal tea bags

  • a handful of chopped blackberries (approx. 10-12)

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Light Orange

  • 2 cups (1 oz./30 g.) loosely packed yellow onion skins

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Peach

  • 3 pinches saffron

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Golden Yellow

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric

  • a big pinch of saffron threads

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Lavender

  • 1 shredded red cabbage

  • 1 shredded beet

  • 2 Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger herbal tea bags

  • ½ cup grape juice

  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Violet (*do not cook this color, simply mix in a bowl)

  • 1 cup thawed frozen Concord grape juice concentrate

  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

  • 3 cups water

METHOD (all colors except purple)

  1. Fill a pot with 4 cups of water.

  2. For each of the 6 colors, combine the specific ingredients into a separate pot.

  3. Stir ingredients.

  4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

  5. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes to extract colors from foods and spices and to reduce the liquid.

  6. Allow dye to cool.

  7. Strain with a fine sieve or colander (preferably metal) into a bowl.

  8. If necessary, add cold water to make at least 3 cups of each color.

METHOD (purple)

  1. Combine ingredients together in a bowl.

  2. Stir.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

METHOD

  1. Place eggs in a pot with 4 quarts cold water.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar.

  3. Set a timer for 16 minutes.

  4. Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.

  6. At the end of 16 minutes, remove pot from heat.

  7. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  8. Drain off hot water.

  9. Fill pot with cold water and allow eggs to sit for 10 minutes.

  10. Drain and set aside.

 

 

Egg Coloring

METHOD

  1. Prepare the natural egg dyes above, allow to cool and strain out solid ingredients.

  2. Place already hard-boiled eggs into each dye. (preferably white eggs as brown does not show colors as well)

  3. For pastel colors allow eggs to sit in dye between 20–30 minutes or up to one hour.

  4. For richer, darker colors allow eggs to soak overnight in dyes in refrigerator.

  5. Using the slotted spoons, lift the eggs out of the dye and place gently into egg cartons to dry.

  6. Allow the eggs to sit until dry before handling - approximately one hour.

* Tip: While the eggs are soaking in the dye, play an Easter-themed game, color or eat some lunch to make the time pass more quickly!

Get Creative!

Try something different!

Write on the egg shells with crayon for a relief pattern.

The dye ingredients if left in the pot create lovely patterns and prints.

While eggs are still wet, roll in a tiny bit of glitter for just a touch of shimmer.

Remember that your hard-boiled eggs can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week. One last earth-friendly tip: you can compost all produce and tea used to make your dyes!

Please share your egg-ceptional creations with us! I hope you'll try a few of  our egg color recipes and experiment with your own. Stop by our Facebook page and share a picture of your eggs with us!

P.S. Come Easter morning you can find us beach-side for our annual tradition. Join us on Coronado for an Easter sunrise service. Dogs (on leash) and kids welcome. Attire is casual and warm as it's chilly at sunrise!  Bring your own beach chairs and blankets. We've been going for years and it is truly a highlight for us and a wonderful way to start the day.

Happy Spring!

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