natural eggs

If your Easter Bunny is feeling eco conscious this year, easy homemade food dyes is a hop, skip, and a jump in the green direction. When you choose to use natural, homemade food dyes to color your Easter eggs, you really take the rejuvenating “new life” theme to a whole new green level. While I think that most people understand that the use of artificial dye kits is less than ideal, convenience often wins over. However, according to a recent study (2007) funded in the U.K. by the Food Standards Agency, artificial food coloring has been linked to hyperactivity leading to learning difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Researchers have also linked food dyes to cancer and other health problems. Not only is this an environmental issue, it’s also a health issue for your children and family. With that being said, let’s learn how to make our own homemade food dyes for those Easter eggs.

How to Make Your Own Easter Dyes
Start off by carefully washing all the eggs with soapy water and dry them well; this is an important step no matter what type of dye you’re using in order to avoid salmonella. Then, it’s onward to prepare the dyes. The following recipes are for 8-10 eggs, except the recipe for the blue dye (red cabbage), which is for about 4 eggs.

When using the warm water technique to dye the eggs, first prepare the dye solution, and then place a single layer of eggs in the pot. Let the eggs simmer according to the following instructions. Remember to use enough water to cover the eggs, and those eggs should be at room temperature before you begin.

Dark Yellow

Use turmeric to achieve deep yellow eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons of turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • water

Instructions:

  • In a wide pot, add the turmeric, vinegar and water and boil for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture with a sieve or gauze and then return it to the stove.
  • Dip the eggs into the dye and add 1 more tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Bring the eggs to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the eggs and let them cool on a rack.

Light Orange

Use onion peel for orange eggs.

Ingredients:

  • Peels of 6-7 onions
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • water

Instructions

  • Prepare the mixture of the onion peels, the vinegar and the water and boil the eggs for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the eggs and let them dry on a cooling rack.

Shades of red:

Beets are the perfect solution for rosie red and pink eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of chopped beetroot
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • water

Instructions:

  • Boil the beetroot, vinegar and water in a pot.
  • Strain the mixture with a sieve or gauze and then return it to the stove.
  • Dip the eggs into the dye and add 1 more tablespoon of vinegar.
  • After you strain the mixture, add the eggs, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  • The sooner you remove the eggs, the pinker they will be. The longer you leave them, they will become redder.

Dark red

For a really deep red, madder root has been used as a dye for over 5,000 years, in Egypt and now around the world. You can find madder root in shops that sell spices. It’s a perennial climbing plant with evergreen leaves and small pale yellow flowers. The roots can be over three feet long, and are usually harvested in the second or third year of growth. Considered an ancient or heirloom dye plant; madder has been used throughout history for the brilliant orange and red hues it can produce.

Ingredients:

  • 70 g dried madder roots
  • ½ wine glass of vinegar
  • water
  • 15 eggs

Instructions:

  • In order to prepare your mixture, you first ground the madder roots in a mortar so that the color is released more easily.
  • Boil the madder in water for 10 minutes and let the mixture sit for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  • In the morning, drain the solution, add the eggs and boil for about 15 minutes with vinegar.
  • Remove the eggs and let them dry on a cooling rack.

Light Purple

Red/purple cabbage is the ingredient to make purple Easter eggs. Unfortunately, the waiting process is more for purple eggs (6 hours) for the color to stabilize, but the results are rewarding.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of a medium red cabbage, cut into wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • water
  • 4 eggs

Instructions:

  • Boil the eggs together with the cabbage for 15 minutes, remove from the heat and let the solution sit for 6 hours*.
  • *As a result of the long sitting time without refrigeration, these eggs are for decorative use only and should not be eaten.

Natural dyes will not create the extremely vivid colors that artificial dyes produce, but even when the color has penetrated the shell the eggs are safe for consumption (except for the purple eggs dyed with cabbage). Despite not being as bright as the artificial dyes, you’ll surely be impressed by the colorful spots that will form on the egg shells and these natural Easter eggs will truly make your eco Easter basket come to life. Happy Easter and enjoy!

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