Use natural egg dye materials to make colorful eggs at Easter or any other festive occasion without worrying about the side effects from artificially colored dyes. By taking colors from nature, such as berry juices and herbs, you can create a varied palette of colors for your eggs. The process is basically the same no matter what color-stuff, or dye material, you use.
You can achieve the following colors using the items noted, and once experienced at it, you can experiment with other items as desired to find the perfect hue.
Blue: Purple grape juice concentrate, canned blueberry sauce, boiled red cabbage leaves
Lavender: Hibiscus flowers, less grape juice concentrate, violet blossoms, Red Zinger tea bags
Pink: Beets or pickled beet juice, cranberries, raspberries
Red: Canned cherries, pomegranate juice, boiled red onion skins
Green: Spinach, chlorophyll in liquid form
Brown: Dill seeds, coffee or black tea, boiled walnut shells
Yellow: Saffron, carrot tops, orange peels
Orange: Yellow onion skins, curry powder, carrots, paprika
Only dye hard boiled eggs that have been washed gently with soap to remove any oils that would keep dye from sticking to the eggshell.
These are the basic steps to using natural Easter egg dye to color eggs:
Place dyestuff in a small pot and add water to cover the color material by about an inch or so.
Bring the the water to a boil and simmer gently for 15-60 minutes water achieves the desired color.
Remove pot from the burner and pour through a sieve into a glass measuring cup.
Add 2 teaspoons white vinegar per cup of dye mixture.
Pour dye and vinegar mix into a stainless steel dish or glass bowl.
Gently place eggs into the dye liquid, allowing them to sit for at least an hour.
Remove the eggs and dry on a cooling rack over paper towels.
Be careful not to over-handle the eggs after dyeing; their shells are a bit weakened by the vinegar. To create a mottled look, smudge off bits of the color before the eggs dry. For a tye-dyed look, wrap eggs with rubber bands prior to dyeing. Remove the bands after the dye has dried completely.
As you practice with natural egg dye, you'll find other materials to use for coloring the eggs and get a better feel for how much material to use and how long to let the eggs soak to get specific colors. After dyeing the eggs, you can buff them with a little mineral oil to add sheen and brightness.
You can also raise Easter Egg Chickens for naturally blue- and green- colored eggs -- no dyeing needed! Author Maria Miller keeps a backyard chicken flock of 14 hens and one silky rooster, sharing chicken information and resources at http://egglayingchickens.com.
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