HOW TO: Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs


A couple of years ago we started coloring Easter eggs the natural way with vegetables and spices that can be teased out in a few minutes of boiling, steeping and straining. Our first colors were beet-derived pink, turmeric yellow, and blueberry purple-blue. We also learned that white eggs take color the best. No fear organic egg devotees! Makinajian Poultry Farm has them.

This year we added two more to our palette: red onion, which gives you a sort of earthy khaki color, and yellow onion, which tints the eggs a marvelous glowy yellow orange. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it is to do this with my 7-year-old. We wear aprons and cover the table completely (critical when working with turmeric especially) and then the messy, colorful, hands-on fun begins.

Here’s how:
Save the papery bits of red onion and yellow onion until you have a generous handful of each (the papery skins of a two-pound bag of onions should do it). Place each color in its own saucepan with 2.5 cups water and a teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a lively simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into your dipping containers, stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and you are ready to dip!

And in case you missed it, here are the original three:
Three pots, each filled with 2 cups water
HOT PINK – 1 large beet, chopped (peel can stay on)
YELLOW — 4 tablespoons turmeric
VIOLET BLUE – 12 oz. frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons white vinegar per color
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 2 Tbs vinegar to each bowl. Start blending, dipping and cross-dipping until you achieve the colors you like. Dry in the egg carton and add any decorations you see fit.

For tips on cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg, and other easy recipes, visit Natalia’s blog Hot, Cheap & Easy.