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DIY Easter Egg Dye

by verdemama on March 28, 2010

We’re pretty secular ‘round these parts, but now that I’m a mama bear I can’t help but want Orion to enjoy some of the more fun holiday traditions, like dying eggs for Easter. Rather than going with conventional store-bought potentially toxic dyes, I thought it would be more fun to make the dyes myself using foods and spices from around the house.

First I collected some chard  from the garden (which, if you’ve been reading, you know we have A LOT of).

A beet and some red cabbage from last week’s farmers’ market haul.

And tumeric from the cupboard.

This is just what we had on hand, but there are lots of other colorful food items that will make great dye.

Then I chopped up the veggies, separated the chard stems from the greens, added them each to their own pot of water (the tumeric went in with the yellow chard stems) and boiled for about 20 minutes, then let cool. I added some white vinegar to each dye bath (2 tbs per quart is recommended), dressed up the eggs with some masking tape and white crayon, plopped them in the dye and let them rest for a few hours.

I also plunked an egg in a leftover cup of coffee from breakfast. Why not, right?

This was the result.

I think the colors actually turned out pretty great. Beet = pink, red cabbage = blue, yellow chard stems + tumeric = yellow, coffee = brown, obviously.

I had never tried dying eggs with natural ingredients before so I considered this year’s attempt to be an experiment. I’ll definitely do it again, but next year I’ll actually measure out the white vinegar (2 tbs per quart, remember), because I just eyeballed it this time around and used a bit too much, which apparently makes the eggshell bubble and peel. An overnight soak might yield more vivid colors, as well. I also used the leafy part of the chard to attempt some lovely green eggs, but those didn’t turn out so well. I think I used too much water and not enough greens. Back to the drawing board for that one.

In the end, Orion rewarded all my effort by chucking the eggs into the flower bed, which, naturally, is exactly what I had hoped would happen. It’s his way of saying, “Thanks, mom. These are gorgeous. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to crack them all open and smear them in the dirt.” Happy Easter!

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