Natural Easter Eggs

 

photo by Christa Montgomery

photo by Christa Montgomery

Natural Easter Eggs

by

Christa Montgomery

 

Every time I cut into a beet and see the rich red color, I think about how great a dye it would be, and with Easter around the corner, I wondered if I could dye eggs with all-natural colorings, including beets.

After reading a few online articles, I decided that the candidates for natural coloring would be as follows: carrots, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, beets, strawberries, blackberries, coffee, and kale. They were chosen based on my research, availability, and quite honestly, what was laying around in my refrigerator!
I was really pleased with how well the homemade dyes turned out. Eight colors was a bit much to take on for a weekend project, but I enjoyed experimenting with the different colors and discovered that carrot, red cabbage, beet, and blackberry gave the best results. If I had to pick my absolute favorite, it would have to be the carrot. This is mainly because its mustard-yellow hue gives the eggs a vintage feel. Second, would be the red cabbage, because it felt like a science experiment. First, it’s called red cabbage, but it actually is purple. So, logically, it would make a purple dye, right? Nope! Once the red cabbage was added to the boiling water, a magical blue color emerges. I was giddy at how wonderful this blue color was. Now, imagine my disappointment when I added the vinegar and the water’s color changed to a deep purple. I do have a science degree—but that science is beyond me! In the end, it does create a stunning shade of blue on the egg.
This is a fun (and chemical free!) Easter project for the whole family. Make a day of it at a local market, find what it is season and experiment with the bounty that early Spring brings. Be creative and have fun!

Natural Easter Eggs

Total time: 4 hours
Print Recipe

photo by Christa Montgomery
photo by Christa Montgomery

ingredients:

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Vegetables or Fruit:
    For Mustard Yellow: 1/2 pound carrots with tops, roughly chopped
    For Orange/Brown: 10 ounces sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
    For Blue: 14 ounces Red Cabbage, roughly chopped
    For Dark Pink: 18 ounces beets, roughly chopped
    For Light/Medium Pink: 12 ounces strawberries, mashed
    For Crimson: 12 ounces blackberries
    For Brown: 2 cups of coffee* (I used espresso)
    For Pale Yellow: 18 ounces kale
     
    *For the coffee, no additional water is added, only the 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
     

directions:

  1. Boil 3 cups of water, once water is boiling, add vegetables or fruit, and boil for 15 minutes. Strain and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Let cool. Place hard cooked eggs into coloring and let sit 4 to 12 hours, refrigerated, depending on how deep a hue you want to achieve. For my eggs, I let them soak 12 hours.


Date Published: March 31, 2013

All recipes have been tested by the Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.

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