Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dyeing Easter Eggs...Naturally


It's almost Easter.  And Easter means colored eggs.  Of course if you have some colored egg-laying chickens, you don't need to worry about dyeing eggs for Easter, but since this is our first spring having white duck eggs, I wanted to try some.  I decided to experiment with natural ingredients for the dyes instead of using either food coloring or Kool-aid.

Its was so easy and the results were glorious as you can see !  


Here's the method that I used and then some suggestions for ingredients to use to achieve an assortment of beautifully dyed eggs.  The beauty of this method is that you hard boil and color the eggs in one step.
I started with a bowl of white duck eggs (although you can use white chicken or goose eggs also) and rinsed them in warm water, scrubbing gently to remove the bloom.  

Then I placed a few eggs in a small pot in a single layer and covered them with water, adding 1 Tablespoon white vinegar per Cup of water, along with whatever I was using as coloring agent, brought the mixture to a boil and then simmered for 15-20 minutes, checking the color intensity after 10 minutes.
~eggs simmering in onion skins~

~eggs simmering in beets/stalks~

When I had achieved the desired color, I removed the eggs gently and placed them in a plastic egg carton to dry.  I poured the remaining water mixture (except the onions,coffee grounds and wine) into a large bowl to give to the chickens when I was done.  

When the eggs were dry, I rubbed each with a cotton ball dipped in cooking oil and then buffed gently with a clean paper towel to give them a beautiful shine.
 

These are the colors I got from various common food items:

CRANBERRY JUICE/CRANBERRIES ~ PINK
I didn't use any water, but instead covered the eggs with the cranberry juice (fresh or frozen cranberries would also work - I just didn't happen to have any) and added 1T white vinegar per Cup of juice to get a nice rosy pink.

BEETS & STALKS ~ BEIGE
I added two sliced fresh beets and stalks to enough water to cover the eggs (canned beets would also work)  for a beige color.

ONION SKINS ~ ORANGE
Onion skins produced an orangish color. One egg came out after about 10 minutes, the others I left in for 20 minutes for a contrast in colors. (I discarded the skins when I was done)

TURMERIC~YELLOW
I added a few Tablespoons of turmeric to the water and white vinegar for cheery yellow eggs.

SPINACH~GREEN
A handful of fresh spinach leaves added to the water/vinegar produced pale green eggs.

BLUEBERRIES~BLUE
Fresh blueberries, mashed and added to the water and vinegar produced gorgeous blue eggs.

RED WINE ~PURPLE
Again, no water, just boiled the eggs in wine and added 1T white vinegar per Cup of wine
(the wine I discarded when I was done) and got a pretty purplish color.

COFFEE~TAN/BROWN
I brewed a pot of strong coffee, putting the eggs right into the carafe while the coffee was brewing, and then leaving them to steep for 10 minutes for the lighter tan and 20 minutes for the darker color. I discarded the coffee when I was done.

I ended up with a beautiful assortment of naturally dyed eggs ...

and the chickens got a nice fruit and veggie soup mix to enjoy.

Try these ideas or others - such as pomagranates, carrots, or other types of greens.


Happy Easter ...
from the Ducks !

You can also use blown eggs so they will last indefinitely.



19 comments:

  1. SO pretty! What a fun experiment. I'm going to try the yellow ones as soon as my Hamburgs get back to work!

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    1. The yellow were my favorite too. The color was SO vibrant. The blueberry also. And the cooking oil buffed on really makes them look like those marble eggs.

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  2. I love these natural colors more like nature.Can't wait to try this.
    Sandra Miller

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  3. What a neat idea. Does any flavor get into the eggs?

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    1. I didn't notice that any did. Anyway most of the flavors are pretty benign. Beet-flavored hardboiled eggs actually would probably taste pretty good !

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  4. Pretty neat!
    Did it dye the egg inside, too?

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    1. No it didn't Linda...but as I just mentioned to Becky, duck eggs have much thicker shells than chicken eggs.

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  5. Lisa, I know you had fun with this! Besides the beautiful photos, the inspired idea, the simple-to-follow instructions, I liked the oiled eggs! Did any of them pick up the flavors of the dye donors? -Becky

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  6. No color or flavor seeped in Becky - but I used duck eggs which have MUCH thicker, less porous shells than chicken eggs. I can't say if any of the flavor would seep into a chicken egg, but I doubt much if any.

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  7. What a great post. A great project for anyone - and a lesson for children (or anyone really) is the whole idea of natural dying.

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  8. I wonder if brown eggs would take any color?

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    1. Maybe very light tan ones, but the natural dyes aren't nearly as strong as using food color or artificial coloring. I think you really need white eggs.

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  9. This was a fun post! Thanks for sharing your beautifully colored eggs...they are gorgeous!

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  10. How cool! I wonder if some of the natural ways of coloring would work to color foods as well?

    ahumblebumble.blogspot.com

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  11. This is seriously cool! I love that you've found a nice way to transform regular, white eggs into farm fresh lookalikes. :)

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  12. I love this! I'd like to invite you to link up on Saturday Spotlight @ Angels Homestead today. I'll be featuring Easter treats and crafts soon, and would love to include this in the collection.

    http://angelshomestead.com/

    Hope to see you there :)

    April

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Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
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