By Claudia Cater, Eau Claire Health Department
Dying Easter eggs is a tradition for many families. Why not try making Easter eggs with your children or grandchildren with natural dyes instead of a commercial egg dying kit? You can avoid the use of chemicals by using food items, such as lemon peels or orange peels, to make a natural dye for Easter eggs. Michigan State University Extension offers the following tips to help you when using natural ingredients to dye hard boiled eggs:
• Listed below are natural dyestuffs you can use to dye eggs. Use your own judgment about quantity and start by placing two or three handfuls of a dyestuff in a saucepan.
• Add tap water to come at least an inch above the dyestuff. Bring the mixture to a boil.
• Reduce the heat and simmer about 15 minutes or up to an hour until the color is the shade you desire. Keep in mind that eggs will dye a lighter shade than what it appears to be.
• Remove the pan from the heat.
• Strain the dye mixture into a small, deep bowl using cheesecloth or a fine sieve.
• Add one tablespoon of white vinegar for each cup of liquid.
• With a spoon or wire egg holder, lower the eggs into the hot liquid and let them stand until they reach the desired color.
• With a slotted spoon or wire egg holder, remove the eggs to a drainer. Allow the eggs to dry thoroughly.
• Naturally dyed eggs tend to have a duller finish than commercially dyed eggs. For a soft shine, after drying, rub with cooking or mineral oil.
• Be sure to refrigerate eggs within two hours of cooking and dying.
Natural Dyestuff Color
Fresh beets, cranberries, radishes, or frozen raspberries Pinkish red
Yellow onion skins Orange
Orange or lemon peels, carrot tops, celery seed, or ground cumin Delicate yellow
Ground turmeric Yellow
Spinach leaves Pale yellow
Yellow Delicious apple peels Green-gold
Canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves Blue
Strong brewed coffee Beige to brown
Dill seeds Brown-gold
Chili powder Brown-orange
Purple or red grape juice, or beet juice Grey
Claudia Cater is a registered dietitian with the Eau Claire Health Department, mother of three, and grandmother of one. A favorite family event is dying Easter eggs.