eggs

When I was growing up, one of my favorite holiday activities was sitting around the kitchen table with my siblings, dipping hard-boiled eggs into cups of vinegar and dissolved colored tablets, lining eggs up in their cardboard cartons and looking at the array of festive colors. Unfortunately, egg shells are extremely porous, and the chemicals in the dyes can make eating the eggs less than great for you.

Luckily, I have a couple of secrets for coloring eggs with all-natural, homemade dyes. Simply prepare as many hard-boiled eggs as you’d like to color, and the dyes as follows. These dyes are best left overnight, so clean out a couple of mason jars as well. Once you’ve mixed your dyes, place as many eggs as you’d like in each jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, place them in their cartons to dry. It’s just as much fun discovering what transpired through the night!

Plus, the finished eggs can be eaten for up to two weeks. Hard-boiled eggs are very versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. Here are some ideas:

For Pink Dye…

Grate 2 raw beets into 3 cups of water. Place in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook about 30 minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer into one of your mason jars, and add 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.

For Yellow Dye…

Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric to 3 cups of warm water and stir until it dissolves. Add 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.

You can also get a thick yellow-orange dye by mixing equal parts water and turmeric into a paint. Use it to paint on the eggs with a thin paintbrush. Make this dye the day after the eggs have sat overnight in their mason jars, and paint designs on the already dyed and dried eggs.

For Green Dye…

Add 3 cups of spinach to 3 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for about 2-3 hours. Strain through a mesh strainer, into a mason jar, and add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar.

For Blue Dye…

Slice 3 cups of red cabbage and add to 3 cups of water. Place in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook about 30 minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer into one of your mason jars, and add 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.

For Purple Dye…

Mash a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries with a fork in a saucepan, and add up to 3 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook about 20 minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer into one of your mason jars, and add 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.

You can also make a thick purple dye by mashing a few blueberries with a tablespoon of water and reducing into a syrup. Strain the syrup and use it to paint, as you would the yellow dye.

Image: Andrea.Pacheco