Not that you would actually eat the shells of the eggs that Christians — observant or not — hard-boil and dye at Easter, but last year we thought it would be fun to try making food coloring from actual food, rather than from those store-bought tablets.
So my then-five-year-old and I set about hunting recipes on the Internet and came up with a few we could do easily. I won’t lie and say we only used seasonal, local ingredients, but in our defense they were natural and minimally processed — and the eggs were indeed from within six miles of our home.
The steps were easy and the colors were gentle and earthy (and made more interesting by the fact that we used eggs from Donna Sinetar’s flock at Restoration Farm that are tinged with blue and cream and brown and rose already, depending on the hen). The only problem was that they were so fresh, they were hard to peel later (older eggs are preferred for hard-boiling, as they are slightly drier inside, and that makes the membrane around the white separate from the shell).
We did three colors: pink, yellow and blue. This year I might renew my search for chlorophyll tablets to make green as well, but it really isn’t necessary, as my son had loads of fun dipping and re-dipping to make new colors.
Coloring Easter Eggs the Natural Way
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, cooled (make patterns with crayons or wax pencils before dipping)
Three pots, each filled with 2 Cups water
Hot Pink — 1 large beet, chopped (peel can stay on)
Yellow — 1 Tbs turmeric
Violet Blue — 12 oz frozen blueberries
2 tsp white vinegar
crayons or wax pencils
Put one coloring ingredient in each pot. Bring to a boil, turn off and let steep five minutes. Strain into three separate bowls (removing chunky bits). Add one tsp vinegar to berry and beet bowls. Start dipping and cross-dipping until you achieve the colors you like. Dry in the egg carton and add any decorations you see fit.
See Natalia’s post on natural Easter egg dye on her blog Hot, Cheap & Easy.