Trying Natural Egg Dyeing

Natural Egg Dyeing from Farmhouse38

I’ve been lusting after the gorgeous colors of naturally-dyed Easter eggs for quite some time now; there is something poetically lovely about the gentle colors that result from vegetables and spices.  I must admit, however, that I was overwhelmed when I first started studying recipes.  There are many, many different methods, so I decided to sample a little from here, a little from there.  Primarily, I relied on the recipes from Lakewinds.com, as well as those found at wholefoodsmarket.com.  But, I am a self-professed fiddler, so I did not leave well enough alone.

Before we begin, a few notes….a lot of recipes out there seem to call for letting these mixtures sit and marinate overnight (most times in the fridge) before you even do any egg dyeing.  I didn’t do this.  I’m impatient.  But I can see how this might be a good thing, especially if you plan to do this project with kids–the prep process is tiiiiiiiiiiiiime consuming–not gonna lie.  Let those mixtures get super-saturated.  Can’t hurt.  Another note: some recipes call for straining the solids out of the mixture before dyeing.  I also didn’t do this….this may yield more uniform coloring, with less ‘marbling’ (when there are material particles in there with your eggs, they tend to stick and create a marbled look–which is kind of cool….depends on what you’re going for).  Finally, it seems to me that any vegetable materials seem to work best the more finely they are minced–I ultimately decided to pulverize everything in my mini-Cuiz (food processor).  The more you beat the vegetable up, the more juice comes out.  It’s science.

Notes complete.

Behold the chaos:

Natural Easter Egg Dye by Farmhouse38

Don’t think for one second that I didn’t start fantasizing about cocktails….but there’s something inherently unappetizing about cabbage, beets, turmeric, vinegar, and eggs….what am I saying? I’m sure there’s a cocktail to be found in there, somewhere.

Reds, Pinks, Magentas, Maroons, and Everything in Between:

Natural Egg Dyes by Farmhouse38

Beets!  I saw many variations on beet quantity, but after much trial and error, I arrived at the following concoction:

6 tablespoons finely chopped beets

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Toss the beet pulp into your container, pour the boiling water over, add your vinegar, and give it a good stir.  Let it cool off before putting your eggs in.  I know it completely defies logic, but the longer you leave the egg in the mixture, the deeper the color.  Your mind is blown, right?  The beet coloring gets to work pretty quick; you don’t have to leave the egg in long for a lovely, soft pink color.  Also, fyi, brown eggs look pretty great with this coloring on them (the two darkest eggs above are brown eggs, the rest white).

Buttery Yellows:

Natural Egg Dyeing by Farmhouse38

Turmeric!  This one is so easy and quick and effective.  That stuff stains fast–mind your spills!

3-4 teaspoons turmeric powder

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Mix it all up, and once it’s cooled a bit, drop in your eggs.  If you want light yellow, take your egg out almost immediately.

Shades of Blue:

Natural Egg Dyes from Farmhouse38

-To achieve a robin’s egg blue, you use red cabbage.  This is one that takes a long time to get a good saturated color–many recipes recommend letting the eggs steep overnight in the mixture.  I let mine sit for for a few hours and that seemed to achieve a pretty good result (in photo, top left two eggs, and bottom right).

8 tablespoons finely chopped red cabbage

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Same process as usual: combine all ingredients in container, let cool, drop in your eggs and wait until desired color level is achieved.

-To a get the greyish-blue (and sometimes a bit brownish) color, you use blueberries.  This is one that I fiddled around with the size of the chop on–at first, I just smashed the berries each between my fingers, and this resulted in the top right and bottom center eggs–it gave a little brown marble to the eggs that I kind of dig.  On a second batch, I finely processed the berries, and this resulted in the upper center and lower left eggs.  If I had strained either mixture, there probably would have been no speckling or marbling of the colors.

1 cup fresh blueberries (either mashed or finely chopped)

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix it all up as per usual, and drop in your eggs when the mixture has cooled.

Orangey, Peachy, Coppery Tones:

Natural Egg Dyes by Farmhouse38

Yellow onion skins.

2 generous handfuls of dry onion skins

2 cups water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

The method’s a little different on this one.  In a saucepan, combine the water and the skins until it boils, turn the heat way down and simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain the skins and add the vinegar to the leftover dye mix–once cool, drop in your eggs until desire color is achieved.  The dark coppery egg is one that I completely forgot about and left in for several hours.

Various Shades of Green:

Natural Egg Dyes by Farmhouse38

Green is the tricky one.  I fiddled a lot with this and have several different methods to achieve various shades.

-Red onion skins: prepare this mixture exactly like the yellow skins were prepared.  This resulted in the right two eggs in the photo….kind of perhaps, a khaki-ish green?  I would barely classify this as green, but hey, still kind of a cool color.

-Spinach: This resulted in the very, very pale celadon egg in the center of the photo.

1 cup of fresh spinach leaves, finely minced

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Mix all ingredients together, let cool, then submerge egg.  The color takes a long time to come up….be patient.

-Red cabbage and turmeric: mix up your dye as you would for the robin’s egg blue, but add a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder to it.  This method resulted in the top left three eggs: a very vibrant yellow-green.  This look can also be achieved by taking an already dyed robins-egg-blue egg and dropping it in a turmeric dye mixture.

-Blueberry egg dropped in turmeric mixture: this is the bottom, lone egg in the photo.  I thought this was the most ‘green’ of the bunch.  This was achieved by taking an already dyed blueberry egg and dropping it briefly into a turmeric dye mixture.

Lavender/purple was a big flop for me.  I tried the grape juice method mentioned in the Lakewinds.com recipe list and found it to be lacking.  What was also lacking?  Time for me to continue experimenting.  I feel that taking a beet-dyed pink or red egg and dropping it in the red cabbage or blueberry dyes (or visa versa) would produce a pretty good purple.  But I didn’t get around to this, so it’s just my best guess.

All in all, it was pretty fun to do, and the result wasn’t too shabby.  I am, by no means, a professional egg-dyer, so take my methods with a grain of salt.  There is definitely some recipe tweaking left to do!

Natural Egg Dyes by Farmhouse38

The house reeks of cabbage and turmeric, but I just can’t complain.

Natural Egg Dyes by Farmhouse38

Come on….those are some pretty eggs right there!!!

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20 thoughts on “Trying Natural Egg Dyeing

  1. Lindsey March 27, 2013 at 3:52 am Reply

    Definitely a lot more work than the kool aid eggs but definitely worth it. The basket is Gorge…LOVE!

    • farmhouseK8 March 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm Reply

      🙂 Yeah….the pay-off is too long for little kids to sit through, I think….older kids, maybe! But what do I know?!! Kool aid may not be ‘all natural’ but it sure gets the job done!!!

  2. fresheggsdaily March 27, 2013 at 11:37 am Reply

    Your eggs came out so beautiful! I’m surprised you didn’t grab a bottle of red wine for the purple tho – try it next time you open a bottle.It makes a nice purple.

    • farmhouseK8 March 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm Reply

      ARGG!!! Lisa!!! Genius!! Dang it!…

  3. cindyricksgers March 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm Reply

    These are beautiful, and your instructions are perfectly easy to follow. Thank you!

  4. Becky Neville March 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm Reply

    Mother Nature knows her stuff! And so do you!
    ~Blessings

    • farmhouseK8 March 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm Reply

      🙂 Becky!!! So true (the mother nature part–me? Not so much-hahahah!)

  5. hmmmholly March 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm Reply

    Your eggs are beautiful! I can’t wait to start our coloring, the grandkids are coming on Friday to help with the whole Easter egg coloring, BBQ, family n friends event.

    I am a ‘fiddler’ too. My daughter’s are always asking me for a recipe for this or that and I have to say, “you start with this recipe, then change lots of things while trying to follow it” lol…I don’t think I have EVER cooked a recipe in my 50 years without changing something!

    Thanks for sharing you wonderful egg coloring recipes and tips.

    Holly

    • farmhouseK8 March 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm Reply

      Oh, you are so welcome, Holly! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have so much fun this weekend–sounds like a blast! 🙂

  6. filmmakingandcookiebaking March 29, 2013 at 1:08 am Reply

    That’s fantastic! I can’t wait to try it

    • farmhouseK8 March 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm Reply

      Not too bad, eh? I was surprised! It seemed like a disaster waiting to happen! 🙂 Definitely doing it again next year!!!

  7. Laura March 29, 2013 at 6:01 am Reply

    Love your eggs, they look amazing. I agreed with your favorites and choices. I hope to do some and will do mine using your advice. Thanks for sharing!

    • farmhouseK8 March 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm Reply

      Thanks, Laura! Good luck with it–your whole house will smell of cabbage and turmeric, but I think it was worth it! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Christie April 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm Reply

    GOR! GEOUS!!! Thanks for sharing! I did a very lazy version of natural egg dyeing this year, but maybe, just maybe you’ve inspired me for next year. Or maybe I’ll decide I need some colored eggs in July, who knows!

  9. Emma April 16, 2013 at 2:25 am Reply

    Oh How Funny! I Did The Same Thing As U! Ony thing different was I Didn’t Have Half As Purty Colors As You. Once Again You Have Outdone Me Miss Kate!

    • farmhouseK8 April 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm Reply

      I was totally surprised with the colors that I got–definitely a fan of this and going to have to do it again next year! Thanks, Emma! 🙂

  10. Emma April 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply

    I Know Right! Hopefully you will too ;-D Remember me next time OK?

  11. gardengeekuk March 26, 2015 at 8:11 am Reply

    Those look amazing and love the range of natural looking colours! I’ve now got a project for Easter!

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