Friday Recipe: Create Beautiful Easter Eggs With Natural Dyes and Ingredients

March 29, 2013

You can create a whole rainbow of colored eggs with natural items from your garden, pantry or even your spice rack! Here are just a few options available in your paint set.

The weather is warmer, the flowers are starting to come up and many families are looking to celebrate Easter with all the bright colors and new beginnings of spring. Coloring eggs can be a fun activity that brings loved ones together, so here's a host of great options for dyeing, coloring and decorating Easter eggs with all-natural hues and without chemical dyes. Foster an appreciation of nature — all while recycling wilted veggies, unused spices and old onion skins! 

Here are just a few options available in your paint set (thanks to The Kitchn and Vegetable Gardener for the ideas):

  • Purple cabbage (blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs)
  • Red cabbage, shredded (midnight blue, teal)
  • Red onion skins (lavender or red)
  • Beetroot (brown-purple)
  • Beet tops (dove gray)
  • Beets (pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs)
  • Blue potatoes (muted teal)
  • Carrots (yellow and olive)
  • Spinach (pale green)
  • Blueberries (deep blue)
  • Raspberries (light fuschia)
  • Blackberries (plum)
  • Yellow onion skins (orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs)
  • Onion skins with rose petals (peachy hues, green or yellow tints)
  • Ground turmeric (gold)
  • Cinnamon (mahogany)
  • Paprika (light orange)
  • Red Zinger tea bags (makes lavender)
  • Black tea bags (reddish-tan)
  • Coffee (chocolate brown)
  • Grape juice (lavender)

Once you have your colors picked out, and plenty of eggs and vinegar ready to go, here’s how to dye and decorate:

Dye (from The Kitchn):

  1. To prepare the colored dye, first chop, chip or peel away the dry skins from your veggies of choice.
  2. In a stainless steel saucepan, boil enough water to generously cover the number of eggs you'll be dyeing.
  3. Add the dye matter and bring to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes. The dye is ready when it reaches a hue a few shades darker than you want for your egg. Examine a sample in a white dish.
  4. Remove from the heat and it let cool to room temperature 
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another stainless saucepan, or into a bowl then back into the original pan or otherwise use a flat bottom vessel like a large jar, Dutch oven, etc.
  6. Stir in the vinegar at the rate of 1 tablespoon per cup of strained liquid.
  7. Arrange the room-temperature eggs in the vessel in one layer and carefully pour the cooled dye over them.
  8. Place the dye bath in the refrigerator until the desired color is reached.
  9. Carefully dry the egg then massage in a little oil to each, then polish with a paper towel. Store the eggs in the refrigerator until it is time to eat (or hide.)

Decorating ideas:

  • Attach leaves, flowers or other green things to the egg for a cool nature imprint. Just pick your plants and affix to the egg by tying together into a cheesecloth before placing in the dye.
  • To create fun marbled patterns, cover the egg in flower petals or onion skins before wrapping into cheesecloth to immerse. (Vegetable Gardener suggests using water instead of vinegar with this idea.)
  • Tie the eggs in rubber bands or strings before immersing to create a striped pattern.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful start to spring, from all of us at HSC!