Dying Eggs, Naturally Dah-ling

by Angela on March 29, 2013

Easter snuck up on me this year.  I think because it’s been unseasonably and unbearably COLD lately (it snowed earlier this week…what?!)!  It just doesn’t feel like spring.  But Easter is only a couple days away and, as is our annual tradition, we dye about a dozen eggs for the Easter Bunny to hide.

Every year I, along with millions of others, buy the commercially and chemically processed egg dye kits.  I remember using these kits as a child, and for the past 9 years, have used them with my own kids.  I’ve never considered looking at the ingredients before and certainly never considered it to be bad for you….until this year.  I made a conscious effort to look at the ingredients and did not like what I saw.  How could I have never looked before?

Eggs Ingredients 1

Eggs Ingredients 2

Eggs Ingredients 3

So I guess the argument is that it’s just on the eggshell, which gets peeled away anyway.  But what about this one?

Eggs cracked

How many times have you dyed an egg with a crack in it?  And how many times have you peeled said egg and found the egg white tinted the color of the dye?  AND EATEN  IT ANYWAY?!  Yup, been there, done that.

So, I decided this year to experiment with some natural dye ingredients.  I didn’t make a special trip to the grocery store for anything, but used what I could find in my pantry.  Here is what I came up with:

Eggs dye ingredients

Left to Right:  turmeric, coffee, paprika and red wine

First I boiled my eggs.  I normally get organic brown eggs, but I didn’t think they would take to dying very well, so I caved and bought conventional, white eggs.

Eggs dozen

Then I prepared my egg dyes (since I was only experimenting with one egg per color, I made a small batch of each, but these can all be doubled):

For yellow:  1 Tbs turmeric, 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tsp white vinegar

For brown:  just use a brown egg….kidding.  1/2 cup coffee, 1/2 Tbsp vinegar

For red/orange:  1 Tbs paprika, 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tsp white vinegar

For lavender:  1/2 cup red wine (you can substitute grape juice but I only had wine in the house, duh), 1/2 Tbs vinegar

Place eggs in dye mixtures and forget about it (meanwhile let kids use the store-bought dye kit for the rest of the eggs just in case the natural dyes are a total failure…okay, just this once I did this since I was only experimenting!).

You can’t see them, but the eggs are hidden in these beautiful earth tones…2 of which I drink on a regular basis, and it’s not the turmeric and paprika!

Eggs dying

After almost two hours, I took the eggs out and rinsed them under cold water.  And the results were….

Eggs done1

As you can tell, the turmeric and coffee dyes were definitely the most “vibrant”.  The paprika came out very lightly speckled, and the red wine was very light.

Eggs done2

I did read, during my research on ingredients, that they could be left overnight in the dye in the fridge, but I wasn’t too thrilled with my eggs sitting in liquid all  night for some reason.

So would I do this again?  Absolutely!  Every ingredient I used was natural and something I could pronounce!  The kids probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much because it doesn’t give the instant gratification and vibrancy of the chemical egg dye kits, but I’m willing to experiment with more colors next year to get better results.

Has anyone else tried natural egg dyes?  What ingredients have you found to work best?

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