Using Natural Ingredients to Dye Easter Eggs

For those who don't like to use food coloring, or are just looking for something different this Easter, try using the foods and other things in your kitchen to dye your Easter eggs. Makes a fun lesson for children, and results in more translucent and natural looking eggs that look pretty on your table.

Pink to red: fresh beets, pickled beet juice, pomegranate juice, canned or frozen cherries, crushed cranberries or cranberry juice, Spanish onion skins, radishes, rose hip tea, safflower seeds

Reddish-purple: raspberries

Light yellow: lemon peels, orange peels, ground cumin, ground annatto seed, celery leaves, carrot tops, celery seed, chamomile, sage

Bright yellow: saffron

Golden yellow: ground turmeric

Yellow orange: yellow onion skins

Orange: paprika, yellow item plus beet juice

Light green: spinach leaves

Golden green: yellow delicious apple peels

Blue: red cabbage (crushed and boiled), blackberries

Purple: grape juice concentrate (purple), blueberries, blackberry tea

Beige / mocha: strong coffee, black tea, juniper berry, barberry

Brown orange: chili powder

Golden brown: dill seeds


How to make a dye bath for your eggs:

Place hardboiled eggs in container with enough water to cover the eggs. If you are using juices, coffees, or teas, substitute that for the water instead. Use 1 tsp of white distilled vinegar per cup of liquid (skip when dyeing with onion skins). If using berries or other solid fruit/vegetable matter, add 1/2 cup per every cup of water. If using spices, add 2 tsp for every cup of water. Adding 1/2 tsp alum powder will supposedly help to make the colors a bit brighter.

Allow eggs to sit in cold dye until desired color is achieved, soaking anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours in the refrigerator. Turn eggs occasionally to try to ensure more even coloring. Handle eggs carefully, especially if they have been sitting in the solution long as the shells will be more inclined to crack. Dry on paper towels, coffee filters, or in egg cartons.

An alternative method to use involves the microwave.
Add water to bowl or mug and microwave for approximately 3 minutes on high power or until almost boiling.
Add spices, teas, or other dye matter to water.
Place boiled eggs in water and allow to sit (place in refrigerator if extra time to darken is desired).

You can also try creating even more custom colors by dyeing in one solution, allowing the egg to dry, then dying in another solution.

Warning: You may find that the eggs take on some of the flavor of the dyes. You may wish to use empty eggshells instead.


Use the following common household objects in dying and painting your Easter eggs:
rubber bands
vegetable / canola / olive oil (rubbed on after eggs have been dyed and dried)

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