The tradition of dyeing, painting and decorating eggs for spring is one that pre-dates Christianity, and modern Easter celebrations include everything from plastic eggs filled with candy to chocolate eggs to dip-dyed hardboiled eggs. While store-bought egg dyeing kits may fun and easy, not everyone is comfortable with using the artificial dyes they contain.
Luckily, creating natural dyes from fruits, vegetables and other edible ingredients is really easy. The result is colorful, yet rustic Easter eggs you don’t have to be afraid to eat!
The Cold-Dip Method
With this method, you can safely enjoy your Easter eggs after dyeing them. To start, you’ll need to hard boil your eggs (see below for tips on making perfect hard-cooked eggs) and allow them to cool completely.
In a stainless steel saucepan, bring 2 to 3 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (which acts as a fixative) to a boil. Add the coloring ingredient and boil for 15 to 20 minutes before straining into a mason jar or other deep container to dip your eggs. If you prefer a more mottled look, leave some of the coloring ingredients in the dye.
Allow the dye to cool before soaking your hard boiled eggs. Leave your eggs soaking in the dye until you reach the desired color (for the deepest color, you may want to soak them overnight in the refrigerator).
Egg Dye Colors
The best part about making your own natural dyes is that there’s no wrong formula. Experiment with the quantities of coloring ingredients you add to the base recipe to achieve different shades. For example, adding 2 tablespoons of turmeric yields a brilliant, golden yellow. Here are some of the household staples you can use to create different colors.
- Yellow: ground turmeric / chamomile tea
- Blue: red cabbage leaves / blueberries
- Lavender: purple grape juice (no need to boil, just add vinegar)
- Brown: strong coffee ( just brew as normal, then add vinegar)
- Red/Pink: chopped beets / cranberries
- Green: red onion skins / fresh herbs
Tips for Making Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs
Making perfect hard-cooked eggs is simple, and if you follow this method, you shouldn’t get that unsightly (albeit harmless) gray ring around the yolk.
Gently place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in one layer. Add cool water to the pan to cover them by about 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover it and let stand for 15 minutes (for large eggs).
Drain and cool by running cold water into the pan until the eggs are cool enough to handle for peeling.