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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Natural dyes for Easter Eggs

Yeah for natural dyes. You might recall that last august I tried to find some natural food dyes that would dye some frosting for my kids' bday cake. It wasn't overly successful.  But around comes Easter and natural dyes are all the rage on pinterest and facebook.  I knew I had to try them out!  So i sent the hubby off to the grocery store with my list: 8-12 large yellow (spanish) onions and a head of red cabbage.  Luckily I have turmeric in my spice cabinet and vinegar always on standby.  I also did purchase some liquid chlorophyll from Whole Foods around St Paddy's Day but you'll see this is unnecessary.  All measurements and times are approximate and you'll want to experiment on your own to get the colors you desire.

Here are my beautiful results!  From top left to right: Onion dye 2-3 hours room temp and oiled with olive oil, Cabbage dye room temp 2 hours, Cabbage dye + turmeric powder boiled then refrigerated 2 hours. Bottom Left to Right: turmeric dye, Cabbage dye refrigerated, Cabbage dye + baking soda room temp

Red Cabbage: Isn't it pretty? Cut 1 large head of red cabbage into chunks and place in large pot. Add abt 6 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer 15-30 minutes or more.  Cool before use. Strain out cabbage. And add 1 tablespoon vinegar per cup of dye. Place cooked eggs in dye at room temp or in fridge.  Dyes pretty BLUE.  Add 1/2 tsp per cup turmeric and microwave. Add egg to dye GREEN.  No need to use liquid chlorophyll.  Add baking soda (watch out, it will FIZZ) to dye eggs TURQUOISE.

Yellow Onions: Remove skins only from 8 large onions.  Place in pot and add 3 cups water. Boil  and then simmer for 15-30 minutes or more.  Cool to room temp, strain and place liquid in shallow pot.  Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and add uncooked eggs to dye.  Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute then take off heat and let come to room temp. Place eggs in dye at room temp or in fridge. Dyes dark REDDISH-ORANGE.

Also you can wrap some hardboiled eggs in the remaining skins tightly (i used a paper towel) and refrigerate.  Adds a fun texture.

Onion Wrapped eggs after a couple of hours

natural dyes (left onion, middle cabbage, right cabbage + baking  soda

So I did try using liquid chlorophyll and it does dye eggs GREEN (see below) but it was grainy and the color didn't seem especially colorfast (ie I think i would remove it if I wiped the egg).  The YELLOW below is Turmeric boiled in water and add a little vinegar.

beautiful eggs
So I never got a nice purple or red so I'll have to work on that - next year (beets, pomegranate, grape juice) etc!  I also will donate several of my leftover onion to friends for use in recipes and the leftover dyes I will also pass along as I know the shelf life will be pretty short and I am done dying eggs for the season.  These eggs will be headed to the deviled egg factory in a couple of days (YUM).  Hope you get a chance to try dying eggs naturally!

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