How to dye eggs naturally?
Decorating eggs without chemicals
Easter is here again and so is the time to decorate Easter eggs! Last year I tried the wax decorating technique to make beautiful floral designs on blown-out eggs. This year I came across natural dyeing techniques to colour plant-based fibre and discovered that avocado can dye linen in gorgeous, ‘evening sky blush pink’ colour shade. Literally. I was really looking forward to the Easter season to try the natural colour palette on eggs too, and so can you! Here’s how!
What ingredients can be used for natural dye?
The trend of organic and zero-waste living is also a response to the amount of chemicals and detrimental ingredients we seem to find in many foods and practices nowadays. Some are not even properly regulated by the law and this can of course lead to health problems, short or long-term. Thankfully, the time of handmade and homemade is coming back. Often times, I find myself remembering something my grandma taught me, or finding a useful, practical, cheap and organic tip in her cookbook and old cut out magazine article. The same goes for Easter egg decorating this year!
As a child I used to dye Easter eggs naturally with onion peel. I remember this technique very well, however it didn’t occur to me that not only onions can colour eggs. There are many other affordable ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. No need to buy expensive egg decorating tools or dye eggs with chemicals you cannot be sure are even safe. The way to avoid any health risks are foods such as turmeric, beetroot, blueberries or even spinach!
How to dye eggs naturally?
It is very easy and although it takes a bit of time, surely you will enjoy the results! The following tools and ingredients are the same for every colour.
What you’ll need:
- 20 raw eggs with white shell
- an old pot or a saucepan
- 5 tablespoons of apple vinegar
- 5 x 1L of clean water
- a teaspoon of lard
Optional decorating (for more read bellow in the ‘brown’ section of the instructions):
- a pair of stockings
- little branches, plants or flowers picked outside
Natural dye by colour:
- Pink – 4 small beet roots
- Green – a pack of fresh spinach and two packs of fresh parsley
- Yellow – two table spoons of ground turmeric
- Blue – a half of red cabbage (optional blueberries for darker results)
- Brown – a peel from 4 yellow and 4 red onions
Be prepared that the pot or a saucepan will get discoloured so begin by choosing one for which it won’t matter. Fill it up with ingredients of desired colour, add one tablespoon of vinegar and fill up with water just enough to cover 4 eggs in the mixture. The water should be as concentrated as possible for darker results. The thiner the mixture is, the longer it will take to dye the eggs. Bring the water to boil and carefully place the eggs into the pot. Bring the heat down and simmer for roughly 20 minutes.
Pink – the pink colour took quite a while to appear. I was simmering the eggs for about 30 minutes and added extra beetroot to the mixture about half way.
Green – the green was probably the least successful dye – the parsley was a little dry so I would recommend as fresh ingredients as possible and probably a little more of the ingredients to make the water concentrate better green colour tone which then colours the egg-shell.
Yellow – the turmeric coloured the eggs yellow instantly. I was simmering the water for about minutes and they acquired beautiful golden-yellow colour.
Blue – the blue took a while to appear too, initially I only used one half of red cabbage. However, the colour was coming on very slowly so I added blueberries. There are two types of blueberries, I would recommend adding the smaller size which are more rich in colour. I had some frozen and they worked brilliantly. The blue worked out very well in the end!
Brown – onions just never let me down ha! For the brown I also used the second decorating technique – placing the egg inside the stocking, together with little branches of thyme and other herbs. I then put the egg inside the pot of simmering onion peels. After about minutes I took the eggs out and removed the stocking with the herb inside. The little branch decorated the egg-shell with a beautiful plant silhouette!
The last step!
After naturally dyeing eggs the shell becomes quite matte again. To give the eggs glow naturally – the easiest way is to take a piece of lard and wipe it across the egg shell surface. This will help the colour to stand out and the egg will look beautiful and ‘shimmery’.