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Natural Egg Dyes

April 4, 2010

Our annual Easter egg hunt with friends in one of our favorite Portland parks. The April showers almost deterred us. Almost. Bennie, at almost 3, was much more into the hiding and finding this year. Years past its been all about sitting at the picnic table eating obscene amounts of colored eggs. Of course, we did a bit of that this year too. Serious business.

Dark red: Red onion skins – Add the outer skins from 1 or more red onions to 1 cup of boiling water; simmer 20 min.

Orange/Yellow: Onion skins. Add the outer skins from 1 or more yellow onions to 1 cup of boiling water; simmer for 20 min.

Yellow: Turmeric – makes the brightest yellow.  Paprika makes orange-yellow.  Add 3 tablespoons of turmeric to 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer 10 minutes, then stir and let cool to room temperature.

Green: 1 bunch fresh Spinach leaves. Chop and simmer  Chop the leaves and simmer 20 minutes in just enough water to cover. (Fresh or dried stinging nettles work well too)
Blue: Red cabbage – Chop 1/4 head of red cabbage, add to 2 cups of boiling water. Simmer 20 min. (concentrated grape juice work as well)
Purple / pink: 3 large fresh beets (the roots, not the leaves) or pickled beet juice. Chop and simmer for 30 minutes

Purple: Blueberries –  Add one pint of blueberries to just enough water to cover the berries (and make at least 1 cup of broth. Boil 5 to 10 min, let cool, strain out the skins.

Brown-gold: Dill seed – Add 2 TBSP dill seed to 1 cup of boiling water; simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, let cool.

Brown: Ground coffee beans Add 2 Tbsp dill seed to 1 cup boiling water; simmer 20 min. (Try dried seaweeds for brown variations)

Prepare the dyes!

  • Mix the plant extracts with 1 tsp of vinegar. Make sure the mixes are cool before dunking in your eggs.
  • Let each egg soak for 20 minutes to overnight, depending on the color intensity you want.  We did ours overnight – (in the fridge).
  • Pat the eggs dry to avoid staining.
  • To sass up your eggs a little, shine them up with olive oil. Use wax crayons or rubberbands to create a white relief effect.
  • There are so many plants and fruits out there that make amazing dyes. Experimenting can be a lot of fun. The color of your eggs makes a difference too. We used brown eggs, which can make some real rich colors, but is rather anticlimactic when it comes to brown and yellow hues.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Grandma Linda permalink
    April 4, 2010 6:20 pm

    Holy Mother…This is amazing! I now know and appreciate Julie and Julia…and am so grateful to share your times as a family. Can’t wait to see you all again, and share your growth together in person, as well. Happy Easter…and I love you all so much!

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