Friday, April 6, 2012

Natural egg dying

Ultimately, I'd like to bypass the obligation of holidays these days... but that's pretty lame of me so I suck it up and make the best of each one that comes. I try to keep them as simple as possible and with minimal waste.

Easter is one of those holidays that I tried to ignore, but of course my 5 year old is excited about it. Egg dying, egg hunts and chocolate... ok, I can make this work without making a big deal of it. I do have to work on Easter, but I don't mind. I will make time in the morning to satisfy the 5 year old's needs for the day, then be glad that I don't have to cook a... ham? I think that's what people eat on this holiday. The more simplistic I try to make our lives, the less I understand some of these holidays or the need for them. That sounds kind of scrooge-like, I know - but really I feel like we should be celebrating life and nature always. Appreciate things in every moment, why only once a year?

Anyhow, you might have been hoping to read about egg dying, not my philosophy on life, so I will move on.

I decided that it was time to start working on my natural egg dying skills, which, until now, didn't exist. As always, I try to take the simplest (ok, easiest) route, so I opted to only dye two colors: yellow and blueish teal (or whatever color it turns out as. I basically went for the colors that involved ingredients that were cheapest and easiest for me to grab.

Before I tell you about my experience, let me start by sharing a decent chart of natural ingredients that work for egg dying (taken from this blog):

LavenderSmall Amount of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Flowers + 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea bags (Celestial Seasoning brand)
Violet BlueViolet Flowers (no lemon juice)
Red Onion Skins (boiled)
Red Wine
Hibiscus Tea
BlueCanned Blueberries
Large Amount of Purple Grape Juice

Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
GreenSpinach Leaves (boiled)
Fresh Basil (boiled)
Greenish YellowYellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)
Fresh Parsley (boiled)
YellowChamomile Tea
Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Green Tea

Carrot Tops (boiled)
Golden BrownDill Seeds
BrownStrong or Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Black Tea
OrangeYellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Carrots (boiled)
Chili Powder
PinkRed Grape Juice
Fresh Cranberries / Cranberry Juice
Juice from jar of Pickled Beets
Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Canned Cherries with Juice
Pomegranate Juice

I decided to use turmeric and red (purple) cabbage. I start by boiling both ingredients in separate pots. It would have been cool to do a third pot with both of them together to make another color - I will experiment more next time.
Once it had boiled, I cooled it down with ice to move things along and drained them, then transferred them to bowls.
As you can see, we used brown eggs for this experiment. I think that next time I will try and buy the organic free range white eggs before they sell out at our co-op, but meanwhile I'm not entirely disappointed with the results from the brown eggs. However, white would have been much more impressive for sure.

Once transferred to bowls, you will need to add approximately one tablespoon of white vinegar for each cup of liquid that you have. My daughter pulled out her caran d'ache crayons to draw on the eggs before we dropped them in the dye, which was a nice touch on the end. Once we dropped them in, I was glad that I had chosen large bowls because I realized that they would have to sit there for a lot longer then when we used to use those commercial egg dyes. In fact, I decided that it would be best if they just sat in the dye in the fridge overnight.
In case anyone is curious, six eggs fit nicely in one wide mouth mason jar... you might even be able to fit a few more. I think I might just put the dye right in the jars next time and plan for overnight dying in the fridge for maximum color.

This morning when I took them out, I decided to add one more color to the mix - I poured some red wine into a bowl, added vinegar and dropped a few of each of the eggs in there to see what would happen. Once again, white eggs would have made a huge difference, but it still added a nice subtle red shade to what we had. I wouldn't suggest leaving eggs in the wine for too long, I noticed that it starts to take off color a bit.
Here is what we ended up with. I kind of like them actually... and I look forward to more natural egg dying in the future! I can see that this is an art that I might just have to master.


1 comment:

  1. Love them! I think this would be a great craft to do with the kids at any party, anytime!