Green Calgary

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Mar
27
2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

by Jessica Filed in: DIY, Food Choices, Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff

For those of us who celebrate Easter, we know there can be a hefty environmental impact associated with this spring holiday. The average American spends $116 on Easter candy, gifts, food and decorations - Eggs making up the bulk of these cost. Eggs signify rebirth, and since the 1700's when the Germans brought over the Easter Bunny to North American culture, they have played a starring role in Easter tradition.  I remember when I was growing up, my Grandmother would dye white eggs by boiling them with the skins of yellow onions. The eggs take on a beautiful rich golden brown shade and would then be delivered (still warm from the pot) with a sweet story of how the Easter bunny hopped through her living room and laid fresh warm eggs for my siblings and I. As I have grown older, I look back fondly on these memories and have made them a tradition I too would love to pass along to my children. 

Last year while off on maternity leave (with my then almost one year old) we spent a lovely spring day naturally dying eggs. We, of course, used my grandmothers technique of yellow skinned onions, but expanded our colour pallet to include shades of blues and purples, deep pinks and light reds, and varying hues of soft greens. The eggs are so much more beautiful and complex than their chemically dyed counterparts - each one completely different than the next.


Note: There are various ways to dye eggs without wasting the super-food contained inside the shell. Hard boiling them before hand or during the dying process gives you a lineup of easy (and beautiful) snacks for the coming weeks. I also found this really great tutorial on how to blow the fresh egg out of the shell before dying it (and then check out this great quiche recipe for ideas on what to do with all those egg yolks once they are out! This quiche freezes well and makes a wonderful any time meal in months to come!)

Below are a few natural colour ideas that worked for me, as well as some from (our favourite magazine) Mother Earth News:

RED
2 cups beets, grated
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups water

Substitute: 
Strong Red Zinger tea
Chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
Red onion skins, use a lot (boil with eggs)
Pomegranate juice

YELLOW
3 large handfuls of yellow/brown onionskins
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 cups water

Substitute: 
Strong Chamomile Tea
Lemon or orange peel (boil with eggs)
Carrot tops (boil with eggs)
Celery seed (boil with eggs)
Ground cumin (boil with eggs)
Ground turmeric (boil with eggs)

BROWN
Strong coffee
Black walnut shells (boil with eggs)
Dill seeds (boil with eggs)

BLUE
1 pound frozen blueberries, crushed
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups water

Substitute: 
Red cabbage leaves (boiled with eggs)

GREEN
Spinach leaves (boil with eggs)
Bright green apple peels (boil with eggs)

OTHER COLORS
Mix combinations of the primary dyes (in separate cups) to make secondary colors: red and yellow for orange, yellow and blue for green, and blue and red for violet. The proportion of one color to the other determines the shade.

And lastly, a good youtube video with some neat ideas on how to get some different and unique looks to your eggs! 

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Comments

On April 13, 2012, jiksaw213 said:

nice guide Jess, unfortunately i knew about this too late, but sure next year i will apply these tips!

On April 23, 2012, Andrea Mitchell said:

Hi jessica, this is great, although, easter passed already, but I’d love to try this. It’s kind of interesting and lovely. smile

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