Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

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We’ll show you how to dye an egg-squisite basketful of festive Easter eggs using colors from nature. Kids will love discovering the rainbow of vivid shades they can create from vegetables and spices you already have in your pantry: red cabbage, yellow onion skins, beets, and turmeric powder.

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What do you do with all of those Easter eggs after the hunt’s over? Time for deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, and chopped salads. But don’t you always feel a little squeamish about eating an egg that’s been sitting in a Technicolor dye bath? We’re a whole lot more excited about dunking something we’re going to feed our kids into safe, all-natural plant dyes than a bunch of artificial coloring.

Plus, these colors! Part of the magic of making plant dyes is the mysterious color-change effect. You’d expect purple cabbage to dye eggs purple, right? Kids will marvel when they come out teal. Yellow onion skin seems like it should equal yellow eggs — but leave them in the dye long enough and they’ll turn fire engine red.

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With plant dyes, you won’t get instant results like with the store-bought kits. But your kids are already eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Easter bunny, so a little more waiting won’t kill ’em. Pop the eggs out of the dye bath after just two hours for lighter, pastel colors, or leave them in the jars overnight for more intense hues. Try dying brown eggs for earthier tones. Create a sponged effect by dabbing the eggs with a paper towel while they’re still wet. With so much room for experimentation, this exciting holiday project will keep little hands busy.

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Has Easter egg dying always made you hold your nose? A lot of people are put off by the vinegar smell that dying kits tend to fill the kitchen with. But our recipe uses just a touch of vinegar — and you’ll keep the lids on the jars and the jars in the refrigerator for most of the process anyways — so you won’t smell a thing. Don’t skip the vinegar, though; it helps the eggshells hold the color better. (But if it bothers you, some recipes say you can replace it with another household acid like lemon juice.)

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Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs


Makes: 12 eggs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: up to 12 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen hard boiled eggs

Blue/Green

  • 2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Orange

  • 2 cups yellow onion peel
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Pink/Red

  • 2 cups beet, grated
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Yellow

  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Optional

  • coconut oil or olive oil

Preparation

  1. You’ll need a medium-sized saucepan for each color. Add the dye material and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes – one hour. (The longer the dye material is simmered, the darker the dye will become.)
  2. Remove from heat and strain out the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to every 1 cup of dye liquid.
  3. Place 2 – 3 hard-boiled eggs each into four pint-sized mason jars and cover each with a different colored dye. Place the lids on the jars and refrigerate until the desired color has been reached, 2 – 12 hours. (The darker you want the color to be, the longer you should let them sit.)
  4. Once the desired color has been reached, carefully remove the eggs from the dye with a spoon and place them on a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan to dry.
  5. Optional: to give the eggs a nice sheen, rub a little coconut or olive oil on the eggs once they have dried.

Tips:

  • You can dye more eggs at once by using quart-sized mason jars.
  • If you want lighter colored Easter eggs, the eggs can be rinsed and dried after being removed from the dye. (The darker outer layer of dye can still be easily wiped away before the eggs have dried completely.)
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    Recipe adapted from mommypotamus.