One of our beloved Easter rituals is dyeing eggs, and most folks were raised like I was: my sisters and I would drop tiny pellets (full of suspicious chemicals) into slightly stinky vinegar water until, voila! Electric neon hues unfurled like ribbons to fill the cup. We’d dip in a hard boiled egg and out would come a brilliant blue treasure.
In the early days of the Martha Stewart domestic goddess empire, one of her magazines printed instructions for dying eggs using all natural ingredients; though novel to me, it’s actually how my grandparents did it. Though the smell of vinegar remained, I was freed from the falsely bright colors and potential harm that can come from chemically-based dyes: compromised immune systems, asthma problems and potential sterility (not what you want in symbols of fertility and spring’s rebirth).
With natural dyes, potential alchemy could be found everywhere in my kitchen: coffee grounds, red cabbage, beets and chamomile tea were all potential paints, and eggs from a friend’s urban chicken coop guaranteed the results would be organic, free range and delicious. Each of the dyes produced deep, rich colors, with the exception of the chamomile tea: it was such a faint yellow it could hardly be seen.
Natural living advocate Robyn Lawrence has posted great instructions here for vegetable and fruit-based dyes for this Easter. Instead of chamomile she recommends using onion skins (results shown above) or powdered turmeric. My local Indian market sells fresh turmeric root—I can’t wait to see the results!
How do you dye eggs for Easter? Share your favorite tips below.
Image courtesy of sha-put-ski.