Reprinted with permission from the March 7, 2012 post by BROCCOLI CUPCAKE:
It seems that natural Easter egg dyes are all the rage this year and I LOVE it! Our oldest is allergic to red dye so we chose the natural route out of necessity. While I’ll admit it’s a little more “work” and takes more time – it’s also a lot more fun.
If you choose to use natural dyes for this year’s Easter eggs (and I hope you give it a shot), I’d suggest making an afternoon of it. We used it as home-school science project and charted the intensity of the different food dyes and the colors they made when mixed together. You won’t get the traditional neons or pastels that the box kits produce, but you will come up with some really unique and earthy hues that are great for decorating.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Boil your eggs. We boiled a dozen white and a dozen brown. The brown eggs actually pick up the natural dye really well and make some interesting colors. I know it seems like common knowledge, but here’s how we boil our eggs. Place them in a pan of water first (dropping cold eggs into boiling water makes them more likely to crack). Put them on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Run them under cold water to cool them down before coloring.
Step 2: Choose your colors. Spinach = light green Blueberries = purple/blue Beets = vibrant red Coffee Grounds = brown Yellow Onion Skins = light orange Turmeric = orange Most of the vegetables need to be shredded first. We ran ours through the food processor. The blueberries, onion skins, coffee and turmeric can go into the water as is. Place your ingredient in a pan and cover with enough water to boil. Bring each item to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Allow it to simmer until the water is a few shades darker than the color you hope to achieve for your Easter eggs. I dipped a white measuring cup into the water to check the color levels. When it’s ready, pour the mixture through a strainer and into your container for egg dyeing. We used mason jars and large coffee cups. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to each color. This definitely helps produce a more vibrant dye. Allow the natural dye to cool before coloring your eggs. You can put them in the fridge to speed things up.
Step 3: Color eggs as usual. We dipped them, dunked them and double dipped to get a variety of shades. And we had a great time doing it!
If your kids are a little older or you really want to get creative mix 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar with one tablespoon of the natural dye. This makes a paint paste that you can apply to your eggs with a brush to make raised patterns. Just make sure the eggs are completely dry before you try it.
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