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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Using Natural Dyes For Easter Eggs


Ready for some Easter Egg fun? In my family dying the eggs is one of the most exciting parts of our Easter traditions. For as far back as I can remember we always bought the little dye tablets in the holiday section of the store – or tried (mostly unsuccessfully to use the little squeeze bottles of food coloring). There are so many beautiful colors found in nature. What a fun time to experiment with coloring and a great opportunity to reduce the amount of artificial coloring in our food products.

One of the quickest ways to use natural ingredients is to boil the produce with the eggs as the eggs cook. Since your stove most likely only has 4 burners you can just do four colors at a time. Dyeing the eggs after they have been cooked takes as many dishes and more time, but may be more practical.

Try using both fresh and frozen produce. Canned produce will result in much paler colors. Boiling the colors with vinegar will result in deeper colors. Some of the fruits, vegetables, and spices can be used cold. To use a cold material, cover the boiled eggs with water, add dyeing materials, a teaspoon or less of vinegar, and let the eggs remain in the refrigerator until the desired color is achieved. In most cases, the longer you leave Easter eggs in the dye, the more deeply colored they will become.

Here is the method that I prefer for dyeing naturally:


1. Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered.
2. Add approximately one teaspoon of vinegar.
3. Add the natural dye. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color.
4. Bring water to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
6. If you are pleased with the color, remove the eggs from the liquid.
7. If you want more intensely colored eggs, temporarily remove the eggs from the liquid. Strain the dye through a paper towel.
8. Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and let them remain in the refrigerator overnight.
9. Naturally-colored eggs will not be glossy, but if you want a shiny appearance you can rub a bit of cooking oil onto the eggs once they are dry.

Here are some sources for beautifully naturally dyed Easter Eggs:

Lavender
Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea
Beets

Violet Blue

Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Hibiscus Tea
Red Wine

Blue
Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice

Green
Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Greenish Yellow Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)

Yellow
Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Chamomile Tea
Green Tea

Golden Brown
Dill Seeds

Brown
Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Black Tea

Orange
Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Cooked Carrots
Chili Powder
Paprika
Dried Peppers

Pink
Beets
Cranberries or Juice
Raspberries
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets

Red
Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Canned Cherries with Juice
Pomegranate Juice
Raspberries

Get out and have fun looking at the colors that nature has provided

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