Friday, March 23, 2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Our chickens lay the most lovely colored eggs on their own- hues of blue, brown, and pink.

So why would I need to dye Easter eggs?  Well, I was curious.  And for those of you who don't have access to eggs already colored by chickens, I thought you might like an option that celebrates even more of God's creation.  The instructions below show you how to dye blue, brown, yellow and pink eggs using purple cabbage, coffee grounds, turmeric, and beets.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs (recipe from Yankee magazine)
Read the instructions below carefully.  The ingredients below are totals- some will be divided.
Use only metal or glass utensils and bowls if you do not want your plastics and ceramics stained.

up to 2 dozen white eggs, hard-boiled
16 cups water
4 tbsp. white vinegar
4 tbsp. salt
2 small beets, chopped
1 small head purple cabbage, chopped
4 tbsp. ground coffee
5 tbsp. turmeric

If you have 4 sauce pans/pots (that can easily hold a quart and a half each), you can make all four batches of dye at one time.  If you're like me and only have two, you'll have to make two batches, rinse out your pots and make the next two.  You're going to make a "base" for each color and then add the ingredient that gives color.

For each batch, combine four cups of water, 1 tbsp. of white vinegar, and 1 tbsp. salt in a sauce pan/pot.  This is the base.  To each base add the coloring.  For the pink eggs, roughly chop two small beets (skins and all) and add them to a pot.  For the blue eggs, add 1 small head of purple cabbage roughly diced to another pot of base.  To the third pot, add four tbsp. of coffee grounds and to the fourth pot, 5 tbsp. turmeric.  Bring all four pots to a boil, then simmer (note times below).

beet dye- simmer for 20 minutes, strain through a sieve and let cool
cabbage dye- simmer for 20 minutes, strain through a sieve and let cool
coffee dye- simmer for 10 minutes, strain through a coffee filter and let cool
turmeric dye, simmer for 2-3 minutes, while whisking, until the turmeric dissolves (I should have done this longer), pour into a bowl/jar and let cool (no straining needed)

Once the dyes have cooled to room temperature, gently add the hard boiled eggs.  Refrigerate them until you've reached the desired intensity of color.

I pulled one of each out early for you to see (above), then returned them to the dye overnight (below).  Carefully, remove the eggs and let them air dry on a paper towel.  Keep refrigerated until you're ready to display/serve them.  Beautiful and much more natural-looking than artificially dyed eggs.

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  1. What a great post! The egg colors are just perfect before and after. Thanks so much for sharing the recipes. ~ Jamie Asper

  2. These are beautiful! My grandma always saves the onion skins (from yellow onions) and steeped them. She would then strain the skins out of the brew and hard boil the eggs in the dye (let the eggs sit in the dye for a while after they are cooked). The eggs turn an amazing rust/red color. She would finish them off by rubbing them with a little oil after they had dried to give them a little shine.

  3. I'm going to ask a dumb question -- so please forgive me? Do the eggs in any way pick up the flavors of the items you use for dyes? They're beautiful but I know if they pick up the flavor my kiddos won't touch them.

    1. It's not a dumb question:-). No, they taste just like plain, hard-boiled eggs:-).

  4. Those are beautiful! So much nicer than the store bought stuff. The blue is amazing.

  5. Do you think these natural colors would work for the pickled eggs?

    1. I've never tried it. I guess you would use the pickled recipe, but add the natural ingredients (versus the food coloring) and then cook it to dissolve the sugar/break down the color of the vegetables. Then strain it, let it cool and add the hard-boiled eggs. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it turns out, so please come back and share:-).

  6. Can this be used for dying fabric as well? How long would you leave the cloth in the mixture?

  7. i would also like to know how to use it for fabric and is it permanent or is it going to wash out over washing

    1. I have not tried these dyes on fabric but I imagine if you did an internet search for natural dyes for fabrics you'll find some good info.:-)


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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