Yesterday we dyed Easter eggs using only natural, whole foods: beets, blueberries, coffee, spinach, and turmeric.
The final product was actually quite beautiful! More pastel than we’re used to, but very lovely in their own natural way:
Beets were the most successful dye, which isn’t too shocking considering they stain countertops, dishes, and clothing pretty much instantly. They created a lovely pink shade within seconds.
An egg emerges from its beet bath:
Turmeric was also very successful; it made yellow eggs. The dark brown dye is coffee, which made tan eggs. By the way,I felt the need to tease that you could just go buy tan eggs… Right?
Please observe the glass lurking in the background with the sickly green dye. That was spinach, and that was a resounding failure. It turned the eggs a kind of dingy color - I wouldn’t even call it a green. Or any color at all, other than maybe dirty white.
Here is the final product, a lovely bowl of pastel eggs & their color source. Note that these eggs were soaked in the dye solution for just a few minutes. Others have let the eggs soak overnight in the dye to obtain deeper colors.
One note about the process: it was messy. Consider the following steps:
- Shredding, food processing, or blending the whole food ingredients to fully release their color.
- Simmering the ingredient with water & a little vinegar on your stovetop for 10 minutes.
- Straining the final dye product (to remove the pulp).
- Then, upon an egg’s remove from its color bath it needed to be wiped off with a paper towel to remove the stray bits of vegetable pulp left on it. If you used cheesecloth or a finer mesh sieve during the straining process, you could avoid this problem.
This would be a really fun project to do with children. Our 18 month olds were admittedly a little young to handle the process of dyeing, but they did enjoy carrying around the final product!
Natural Easter Egg Dye
- 1 cup of shredded fruit or vegetable matter (beets, blueberries, etc)
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- hard boiled white eggs
Shred, blend, process, or in someway pulverize the fruit or vegetable to be used as the dye source. Put this material into a small saucepan and add 2 c of water. Add the 1/4 c. of white vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes or so, then strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth into a glass jar. We found that bigger jars with a lot of extra room to accommodate overflow (the water lever rises a lot when you add the egg) were best.
Let eggs sit in the dye for a few minutes or longer. I read that you can get more intense colors by letting the eggs sit in the dye over night – if anyone has tried this, let us know. Especially if you have comparison pictures!
Note: For turmeric, we used about 5 Tbsp in 2 cups of water. For coffee we used straight coffee with no additional water added. Vinegar was added to both.