Naturally Dyed Eggs

The following post comes from the Whole Foods Market blog:

How To Have An Egg-cellent Easter by Mercedes Vaughn,

March 27th, 2010

“The Do’s and Don’ts of Dyeing

There are two methods used when dyeing eggs: cold dipping and hot boiling. Cold dipping produces subtler, more translucent shades and is generally the preferred method for using multiple colors on the same egg. Hot boiling produces much more intense shades, but these eggs are for decoration only, not eating.

The instructions below are for dyeing using natural ingredients. This can be a fun project for the whole family but be warned that it can be messy and is quite involved if you want to create multiple colors. (If using premade dye, please follow the instructions on the packaging.)

For both methods, use four cups of the selected fruit or vegetable (or one tablespoon spice) to four cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar to make the dye. Also, be sure to wash your uncooked eggs in mild soapy water to remove dirt or oil that might adversely affect the dye. Wear gloves so as not to stain your hands!

  • Cold Dipping – Boil eggs and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring dye ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 15-30 minutes. Strain dye and allow to cool to a comfortable warm temperature. Remove boiled eggs from refrigerator and dip for 5-10 minutes, until the egg has reached the desired color, then dry on paper towels or drying rack. Remember to rotate the eggs in the dye regularly to create even coloring. If overlapping shades, repeat after egg has dried.
  • Hot Boiling – Place both uncooked eggs and dye ingredients into a pot and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and dry on paper towels or drying rack.

Creating Colors Naturally

Here are some ingredient suggestions to get you started. Have fun, experiment and be sure to cover your work area!

  • Yellow – Lemon or orange peels, carrots, celery seed
  • Gold – Turmeric
  • Orange – Paprika, cumin, chili powder, yellow onion skins
  • Red/Pink – Cranberries, beets, raspberries, radishes
  • Purple – Hibiscus tea
  • Blue/Lavender – Red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, purple or red grape juice
  • Green – Spinach leaves
  • Brown/Beige – Coffee, tea, walnuts
  • Keeping Your Creations Edible

    If you’re anything like me, then you’ll not only be enjoying the visual beauty of these eggs, but also their sheer scrumptiousness! With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to enjoy these holiday treats safely.

    Keep uncooked eggs in the refrigerator until absolutely necessary in the preparation process. Eggs with visible cracks after boiling and/or dyeing may be eaten, but should be kept in the refrigerator and not used in an egg hunt or placed on display. Also, since eggs may have fine cracks you’re not able to see, it’s always a good idea to hide them in places protected from dirt and other sources of bacteria.

    Most importantly, remember to only keep cooked eggs you intend on eating out of the refrigerator for a maximum of two hours. That includes hiding and hunting. Any longer than that and the eggs are no longer safe to consume.

    Lastly, all eggs should be eaten within one week, so try not to dye any more than you can manage.”

    Check out the full article for links to egg recipes.

    Here’s another blog that shows how to naturally dye eggs: http://jeannewinters.blogspot.com/2009/03/jesus-easter-eggs.html. I can’t wait to try this out. Maybe we’ll bring the stuff in for our Sunday School class this week…if I’m brave enough.

    “Jesus!” Easter Egg Display
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