I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been concerned about using conventional Easter Egg Dye Kits. I mean just adding more toxicity to a holiday that already reeks of excessive sugar consumption doesn’t seem like common sense, to me. Even if you don’t eat the Easter eggs you color for Easter, conventional dyes contain chemicals that can get on kids’ hands (and all over the kitchen) during the process. Did you know that food dyes are made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum, a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar. Why mess with the synthetic stuff when nature provides us with a beautiful array of colors?
A little bit of history. The tradition of painting Paschal eggs (Easter eggs) dates back to when households would give up eating eggs in observance of Lent. Fat Tuesday was known to be the last day people were able to enjoy dairy and eggs before the celebration of Easter. Sometimes Easter eggs were dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ.
Other Suggestions for Easter Baskets
How about including some treats in your child’s Easter basket that are homemade and healthy? Non-edible treats in your children’s Easter baskets are not only a great idea but will allow you to get away from all the sugared candies. Some examples of non-edible treats would be books, movie tickets, gift card, coupons for a family game night, an afternoon at the park with and Mom or Dad, an evening bike ride, a water balloon fight with the neighborhood kids, etc. Children love to cash-in their coupons so be ready to make good on the coupons that are given. And you may want to include a reasonable expiration date…just sayin’.
Below are some ideas for making your own natural food colors to decorate your hard boiled Easter Eggs.
Ingredients for Easter Egg Natural Dyes
Before you begin to decorate and dye your eggs, wash them with soapy water to get all the oils off the shell. The rinse them and dry. This will help the dyes set on the shell.
Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water, bring to room temperature, and remove blueberries.
Cut 1/4 head of red cabbage into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.
Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Peel the skin from 6 yellow apples. Simmer in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Simmer 4 oz. chopped fennel tops in 1-1/2 cups of water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Stir 2 Tbsp. paprika into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Rich yellow: Simmer 4 oz. chopped carrot tops in 1-1/2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Mustard-yellow: Stir 2 Tbsp. turmeric into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. (Use a stainless steel pot and a slotted spoon you do not mind staining. A ceramic pot will turn yellow and it is permanent.)
Various shades: Steep 4 bags of chamomile or green tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.
Pale yellow: Chop 4 oz. goldenrod and simmer in 2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Faint yellow: Simmer the peels of 6 oranges in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Simmer 2 Tbsp. dill seed in 1 cup water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.
Faint pink: Chop 4 oz. amaranth flowers and simmer in 2 cups water; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Simmer the skins from 6 avocados in 1-1/2 cup water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Mix 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
Dark pink: Cut 1 medium beet into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets.
Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
Natural Easter Egg Dye Recipe #2
- 2 cups roughly chopped, raw beets (for pink/red)
- 2 cups blueberries, crushed (for blue/purple)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (for yellow) (Use a stainless steel pot and a slotted spoon you do not mind staining. A ceramic pot will turn yellow and it is permanent.)
- 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
- Hard-boiled eggs (if you plan to eat the eggs, I suggest buying free-range eggs)
Put your choice of coloring ingredient (beets, blueberries or turmeric) into a small pot with 2 cups purified water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any solids, and then stir in apple cider vinegar. Set aside to let cool until warm or room temperature. To color eggs, submerge in dye, turning often for even coating, until desired color is reached. For more colors, dye eggs first in one color, then wipe dry and dye in a second color.
How to Make Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs Shine
Naturally dyed eggs will have a matte finish. If you want them to have a shine or luster, apply a few drops of olive or coconut oil and polish with a soft cloth. If you plan to eat your colored hard-boiled eggs, store them in the fridge and eat them within a week. If you want to use them as decorations at room temperature for more than an hour or two, put them in the compost when the holiday is over.
Be Selective About Vinegars
There are a number of different types of vinegar; each with its own set of benefits and uses. White distilled vinegar is great for cleaning and horticultural purposes; however, some white vinegars are petroleum-based. Fruit vinegars such as apple cider vinegar have many health benefits when taken internally. Heinz advertises its white distilled vinegar as not being petroleum-based; however, according to Rodale News: “Heinz White Vinegar, the most iconic brand of the stuff out there, has just become the target of another lawsuit alleging that claims of “natural” on its label are misleading because the product is made from genetically modified (GMO) corn. (Vinegar is made by fermenting any product with sugar or with starches that can be converted to sugar, and Heinz uses corn as their starting material.)” Organic distilled white vinegar is available from brands such as Fleishmann’s and Spectrum.