Spring is in the air which means the bluebonnets are blooming, oak pollen is falling off the trees (yuck) and the chickens are laying eggs again (yea)! It also means it’s Easter and time for another memorable Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddos.
During the holidays, I try and do something festive with my cousins’ children that centers around the kitchen. They are 6 1/2 and 3 1/2, fabulously creative, incredibly curious and fantastically funny–as you can personally witness these truths below. Their personalities are well developed and it’s mesmerizing to witness them put life’s pieces of the puzzle together.
On Christmas Eve, we made decorated sugar cookies that were left for Santa. The kids think that was why they got such great gifts, and I am not here to change their mind. Of course Santa loved our cookies!
So for Easter, dyeing eggs was a no-brainer, though I was not keen on just picking up the tradtional, dye-in-the-box Paas Easter Egg kit I grew up on–the kit that 10 million Americans use. I wanted something more natural, more “granola,” if you will, and certainly more unique. Never doubt the value of Facebook. It provides insight, inspiration and plenty of information–some valuable and some not so much. Whole Foods Market posted something last week that suggested the idea of using fruits and veggies for dye. When I read it, I smiled as I shook my head and thought, “duh.”
I had most everything I needed including beets, turmeric, a jar of espresso and a few bottles of leftover “house” red wine.
All I needed was a head of red cabbage, curry powder and cheap (yes, you read right–no need to use good pastured eggs here since they will be used for decoration) white eggs. This is important because, first of all, it’s much easier to dye white eggs than brown eggs.
This is such an easy, fun, inexpensive and healthy way of extracting color from food to give unique and ranges of mellow to vibrant shades of color to our Easter eggs.
From our family to yours, Hoppy Easter!
DIY Easter Egg Dye
- 3 cups of water
- 1-2 Tablespoons distilled vinegar
- Vegetable fruit or spice
- Hard boiled eggs
In a small pot, add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add coloring ingredient and vinegar and return to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and sinner 20-30 minutes. Carefully strain the dyeing liquid into a quart-sized container or wide-mouth mason jar, discarding the solids. Let the liquid dye cool. Repeat with each ingredient.
To dye the eggs
When both the coloring dye and hard-boiled eggs are cool, depending on the amount of eggs you are dyeing, add a few eggs to each container of dye. Set aside, turning and stirring occasionally until the desired color is achieved. Expect to leave the eggs in the dye at least 2 hours, though overnight will provide more vibrant colors. When they are ready, transfer the eggs to a plate lined with a paper towel or newspaper and then return them to the egg carton until dry to the touch.
Variations of Color
Red beets for magenta to red eggs
Use 4 medium red beets, grated, or 4 cups chopped canned beets. (This variation is completely unique in that brown eggs will result in a better red while all of the other colors are best achieved with white eggs. Plus, this dye needs to be hot, so reheat as needed.)
Red cabbage for blue eggs: Use 1 small head red cabbage, quartered and core removed, 2 extra cups of water and 3 additional tablespoons of white vinegar
Coffee for mocha eggs: Substitute strongly brewed coffee for the full amount of water or just add a few Tablespoons of espresso mixed into the water
Blueberries for lavender eggs: Use 3 cups frozen blueberries
Red wine for burgundy to purple eggs: You won't want to use the good juice for this activity, but perhaps you have some leftover half bottles sitting around that may be closer to vinegar now than wine. These would be perfect, as would a $5 or less bottle you pick up specifically for this task. Let the red wine replace the water and remember that the color will darken as it dries on the eggs.
Hibiscus flowers or hibiscus tea for purple eggs: Add a handful of hibiscus flowers or 2 tea bags
Curry powder for pale yellow eggs: Use 3-4 tablespoons curry powder
Turmeric powder for vibrant yellow eggs: Use 3-4 tablespoons ground turmeric (You may need to wipe any excess spice from the eggs with a damp cloth after removing them from the dye.)
Cayenne or chile powder for orange eggs: Use 2-3 Tablespoons of cayenne or chile powder (Stir well after 2 Tablespoons to see if you want a darker color)
Cranberries or raspberries for pink eggs: Use 2 cups of cranberries or raspberries