April 16th, 2014
Coloring eggs has been a big part of Easter and spring traditions for centuries. And while many folks stick with the synthetic color tablets, we can’t help but be drawn to more sustainable coloring methods.
Did you know you can make eco-friendly dyes from the fruits, vegetables, spices and vinegar you have in your own pantry? There are staples for nearly every color of the rainbow. If you’ve got an afternoon, some produce and a set of gloves, (Emphasis on gloves!) you have everything you need to get started. Here are a few pointers.
Prep the eggs. It helps to give the eggs a little scrub before you begin. Every tiny imperfection on the egg will take the dye a little differently, so if you’d like them to look more “finished,” give ‘em a light wash.
Boil before or during. You can choose to boil your eggs ahead of time or in the actual dye as you’re cooking. If you pre-boil, take the eggs out of the refrigerator and allow them to get room temperature before sticking them in the dyes. Or, you can choose to boil the eggs in the mixture with the vegetables. The color is more consistent in the first method, but more vibrant in the latter.
Let’s get cooking. Making natural vegetable dyes is easier than it sounds. Follow these simple steps:
Color Coding. Some colors like yellow, blue and pink are easier to achieve than green or deep red. Use this as a guideline.
RED - Red Onion Skins, Pomegranate Juice or Raspberries
PINK - Beets or Cranberry Juice
ORANGE - Yellow Onion Skins or Chili Powder
BROWN - Strong Coffee (already brewed or instant)
YELLOW - Turmeric or Lemon peels
GREEN - Large Leaf Spinach or Matcha Powder
BLUE - Red Cabbage Leaves or Canned Blueberries
LAVENDER - Grape Juice
Get creative. Don’t feel like making all these colors? Draw back on your color wheel knowledge and mix and match. We made green by dipping the egg in both yellow and blue. To add patterns, draw on eggs with crayon before coloring. Allow the eggs to sit in the boiled veggies in the fridge for a mottled effect. We even wrapped a mesh produce bag around a few eggs to achieve a snakeskin effect. Coat lightly with vegetable oil to make them glossy.
Do you have any other great tips for coloring eggs? Post your colored egg photos on our Facebook page and tell us what sustainable colors you've made at home.