Dye Your Easter Eggs the Natural Way
Beyond the beautiful Easter baskets mom created for us as children, each bursting with the best handcrafted chocolate candy she could find, or make, my most permanent memory of Easter was dyeing Easter eggs. I loved plunking the hard boiled egg into the cup of dye and pulling it out a bit later to discover the colors that resulted. But, you know, I never, ever ate one of those eggs. I dislike eggs in their most eggy form – hard boiled, scrambled and sunny side up. Always have, always will. But somehow the egg dyeing process has always intrigued me.
So, now as an adult who has become more and more interested in what is in my food and what I am bringing into my household for my children to eat, the idea of dying eggs with natural dyes – you know, those that have been used for thousands of years prior to the invention of the manufacturing plant – intrigued me quite a bit. Especially since these eggs are being prepared for my loved ones.
Now, first let me say, read no further if you are not up for a project that is going to take a few hours – granted it is moments of action over longer periods of waiting – but, nevertheless, dyeing eggs naturally is a process. It takes some planning, some patience and, well, a little bit more money than that $2.50 you were going to pay for those chemical dyes (you know, the little pellets of neon colors).
But, after testing this process three times (yes, three – we had about 2 dozen colorful hard boiled eggs in the fridge) … I think I have it figured out, and am recommending the dyes that work the best, hopefully saving you time and some mulla if you try this at our house this year. And, really, I hope you do, the results are beautiful. Your eggs will come out different than mine did, but they will be beautifully unique to your household. In the end, there is a certain sense of accomplishment for creating something special just for your family out of nature.
How to Dye Eggs Naturally
- 1 dozen white eggs
- Large pot
- Small sauce pot
- Plain white vinegar
- 6 dye containers – small, deep rectangle Tupperware works as do mason jars
- 2 Cups Red Wine (Light Burgundy – gives the eggs some sparkle too)
- 2 Cups Cranberry Juice (Light Red/Pinkish)
- 2 Cups Grape Juice (Purple)
- 2 Cups Beet Juice (Redish – juice from two cans/bottle of beets)
- 2 Cups Blueberry Juice (Light/Spotty Blue)
- 2 T Paprika (Light Orange)
- 2 T Turmeric (Bright Yellow)
- 4 Bags Red Rooibos Tea (Light Orange)
- 4 Bags Green Tea (Light Yellow)
Directions: (You can combine step 1 and 2 if you would like, but feel free to take it slow and do this step by step on a day when you are hanging at home).
Hard boil your eggs using one of these two methods (or your favorite method) – one from Beth here at Live Pretty, one from chef and food writer Dawn Viola.
Once room temperature, scrub your eggs with a sponge (use a natural soap if you have some, otherwise just use water), then rub each egg dry and place aside on a plate with paper towels to dry through.
If using paprika or turmeric (turmeric is my favorite dye, just be warned your hands may be yellow for a few hours), boil two cups of water with 2 T of each spice in separate pots for 3-5 minutes (or one after the other). Strain boiled liquid into your dye container. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
If using teas, boil tea bags with 2 cups of water separately for 3-5 minutes. Pour into your dye container. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
If using juices, pour two cups each of selected liquids into your dye container. If cold, set aside to come to room temperature.
Once the liquids are room temperature and your eggs are cool and clean, put 6 T of vinegar in each dye (4-5 T if your dye container looks lower than the others), stir.
Carefully, place two eggs each (or one if you have more than 6 dyes), in each dye container. Sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
Check at 30 minutes, if happy with the color, pull them out careful as not to scratch the surface of the egg where the dye has adhered, and place on a paper-towel lined platter to dry. If not (it took me about 1-2 hours each), put them back in the dye, checking every 30-60 minutes until you are happy.
NOTE: At this point you can put them in the fridge and should if they have been out of the fridge for 2 hours. Just know, putting them in the fridge seems to make the dye adhere in more of a bubble fashion making a texture of dot-like colors around the egg.
And just because we don’t want you to miss out, here are a few more favorites. Enjoy.
Quick Cornbread Casserole
Fabulous Overnight Rolls: AKA Pepperoni Rolls
Simply Roasted Vegetables
Marsala Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Pumpkin Dip: Pumpkin Fluff
Pumpkin Pie with Carmel Pecan Topping
Setting the table
Thanksgiving Pineapple Turkey Centerpiece