Written by Megan of Stetted.
Our family is not religious, but we still enjoy celebrating the arrival of spring with a morning of hunting for brightly colored eggs, followed by an egg-laden brunch table.
We try to not let our son eat food with artificial colors in it, and this year I decided we had to make the same rule when it came to our Easter eggs. True, the colored shell of the egg is not eaten, but why bother with chemicals when you have Mother Nature’s bounty to give you gorgeous hues?
Here’s what you need to create all-natural dyes:
- Pink/red: 1 beet (peeled and diced) or 1 teaspoon paprika
- Yellow: 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Browns: Tea, coffee, or onion skins
- Purple/blue: 1 cup Blueberries or blackberries (red cabbage can work also)
- Green: Torn spinach, 1-2 bags green tea, or mix the blue and yellow dyes
- …plus 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add your chosen color ingredient. Let simmer on medium for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
- Strain the liquid into bowls or cups large enough to hold 1-2 eggs. (Don’t toss the used berries! They can be saved for your smoothies, your morning oatmeal, or pancake topping!)
- Set your hard-boiled eggs into the dyes and let stand in the fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on how deep you want the color.
- Remove eggs with a spoon, let dry on a rack or wipe dry with a towel.
Feel free to try other foods and spices to dye your eggs, but remember that it’s a trial-and-error process. I fully admit that my first attempts failed and resulted in either no color at all, or a weird gray that scraped off the egg with a fingernail.
For me, blackberries yielded both purple and reddish eggs, and I could not get spinach to work, while my friends had success with using leafy greens. White eggs work best, but with a bit of patience you can also get stunning results from brown eggs.
Our eggs dried with a speckled pattern, which I think only adds to their charm. If you want a more even color, try straining the dyes through a coffee filter before adding the eggs.
All photos by Megan
Do keep in mind that these dyes will take longer to set than the traditional egg dye kits, so your kids might not be patient during the waiting process. You can still involve them in the decoration by having them draw on the undyed shells with a crayon, loosely wrapping rubber bands or string around them, or slipping them into a nylon bag with a leaf, to create fun patterns and images once the dye has been set.
And if you’re not interested in dyes at all, you can still find beautifully colored eggs by seeking out your local farmer. We’re lucky enough to get eggs that come in brown, blue, and even light green.
Do you color eggs for your spring celebrations? What are your favorite tips and tricks?