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Easter means many things, including brilliant-colored eggs. This year use a an earth-friendly alternative to those chemical dyes sold in big box shops. This natural method for turning those Easter Eggs into gorgeous creations is a great project for you to share with your children/grandchildren.
Blueberries and grape juice, red and yellow onions, orange peels and spinach: all these foods and more can make egg dyeing a green affair.
There are two main dyeing methods - hot and cold. To get started, consult the steps and color recipes below. Note: Some foods need to be boiled before you add them to the eggs.
This involves dyeing the eggs as you boil them. Since most stoves have four burners, you can typically make four different colors at once.
1. Cover the eggs in water: add about one teaspoon of white vinegar to each egg-filled pan.
2. Add the natural dyes (see recipes below). The more dye you use, the more intense the color will be.
3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and let the eggs simmer for about 15 minutes. The longer they cook, the deeper the color.
4. Once you see a color you like, remove the eggs from the water.
5. For a deeper color, remove the eggs after the boiling process. Take the dye liquid from the pan and strain it through a coffee filter. Cover the eggs with this strained dye liquid and refrigerate overnight.
This involves dyeing eggs after they’ve already been hard-boiled.
1. Cover the boiled eggs with water in a variety of pans. Add different colored dye and a teaspoon of vinegar to each of the pans.
2. Let the eggs stay in the refrigerator until they turn a color you like.
To design patterns on the eggs, draw on them with crayons. (Note: it’s not advisable for kids to draw on raw eggs, unless parents are willing to deal with a viscous mess.)
Hint: You can use fresh, frozen, or even canned produce, but canned goods usually produce less potent colors. Try the guide below to get the colors you want, but don’t forget to experiment—and record the best recipes for each hue. You’ll be able to recycle your results next year, and create a beautiful Easter tradition.
Dye recipes from About.com
For lavender color: A few teaspoons of grape juice; violet blossoms plus 2 tsp lemon juice; or Red Zinger tea
For violet blue: Violet blossoms; a few red onion skins (boil these first); hibiscus tea; or red wine
For blue: Canned blueberries; red cabbage leaves (boiled first); or grape juice
For green: Spinach leaves (boiled first)
For greenish yellow: Yellow Delicious apple peels (boiled first)
For yellow: Chamomile tea; green tea; or the following (all boiled first): orange or lemon peels; carrot tops; celery seed; ground cumin; ground turmeric
For orange: Yellow onion skins (boiled); cooked carrots; chili powder; or paprika
For pink: Beets (or pickled beet juice); cranberries or cranberry juice;or raspberries
For red: Lots of red onion skins (boiled); canned cherries with juice; pomegranate juice; or raspberries