Make Your Own Natural Easter Egg Dye
Egg decorating dates back to pre-Christianity in Africa. Embellished ostrich eggs as old as 60,000 years have been found and 5000 years ago it was common practice in Sumeria and Egypt to bury decorated eggs with the deceased. The early Christians of Mesopotamia adopted the art of dying eggs red to symbolize the blood of Christ at the crucifixion and later as a symbol of the resurrection. There are abundant techniques for creating ovoid works of art--from the ornately painted Ukrainian eggs to the simple, soft pastel-coloured variety. You can achieve an assortment of richly-coloured and inexpensive results with natural ingredients available in your fridge, cupboard, or grocery store. Try these for a fun, non-toxic activity (and maybe even eat some of the ingredients!).
Natural food dye
You can experiment with colour intensity, and hue will vary depending on the amount of dye matter and whether the eggs are white or brown, but a good ratio to begin with is one cup of water boiled with:
- Blue: 1 cup chopped purple cabbage or blueberries
- Red: 1 cup red onion skins
- Green: 1 cup spinach leaves or 1 cup red onion skins + 3 Tbsp dill seed
- Orange: 1 cup yellow onion skins
- Pink: 1 cup shredded beets or red berries
- Yellow: 2 Tbsp ground turmeric or 1 cup chopped carrot tops
- Lavender: 1 teabag of Red Zinger tea
- Brown: 2 Tbsp instant coffee
- Bring the water and the dye matter to a boil and simmer for half an hour.
- Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, and strain out solids.
- For every cup of dye, stir in 1 Tbsp white vinegar. This will act as a mordant, causing the egg shell to accept and fix the dye more readily.
- Four cups of dye will colour about a dozen eggs.
- Place hard-boiled eggs in a bowl or dish and submerge in dye overnight in the fridge. The eggs will turn out to have a matte finish so if you want a little gloss, polish lightly with some oil.
You'll love the beautiful, organic colours that result and not only can you repurpose some of the dye ingredients (use the berry pulp in sauce and pickle the cabbage!), you can also eat the eggs safely!