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April 2023 Open House

​ Dying Eggs With Plants!

Here’s a quick overview on how to color your Easter eggs naturally with plant-based materials.  For more detailed instructions, check out Pinterest or the internet.

 

There are two methods for dyeing eggs naturally: the hot method and the cold method.  The following instructions are for the cold method.  You may use either white or brown eggs or even duck eggs!  White eggs will result in lighter, more vibrant colors while brown egg colors will be more subdued.

 

—Begin by hard boiling whatever kind of eggs you want to use.  Store them in the refrigerator if you aren’t going to dye them immediately.

 

—For the dye, generally the ratio of water to plant material is 2:1.  For example, use four cups of water to two cups of chopped red cabbage.  If you want a stronger color, increase the amount of plant material.  Bring water and plants to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.  Strain the liquid into a container and either dispose of the plant material (composting suggested) or in the case of cabbage and beets, you may choose to use them in another recipe.  For powdered colors such as turmeric, use 1-2 tablespoons of the spice and simmer for a shorter time.

 

—To each container of dye, add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Submerge the hard boiled eggs in the dye making sure the eggs are completely covered with liquid.  The longer the soak, the deeper the color will be.  

 

—After you are satisfied with the color, remove the eggs from the dye bath and let drain on an empty egg carton.  Refrigerate both the dye (if you are going to use it again) and the eggs for food safety purposes.

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Here are some suggestions for plants that are readily available and the colors they produce:

 

Red cabbage  (chopped)—blue-green

 

Beets  (chopped)—brownish-rose

 

Yellow onion skins—yellow

 

Blueberries—blue (eggs will turn a brown color if keeping for more than a couple of days so      use blueberry dye shortly before you plan to display the eggs)

 

Dried elderberries— brownish-purple 

 

Turmeric—yellow-orange

 

Saffron—yellow (because of its expense, you might want to save your saffron for other purposes, but if you grow your own, you can afford to experiment)

 

Cochineal—bright pink ( while this is not a plant material, it was used in the Homestead’s dye house for dyeing fabric and is a beautiful color if you have access to it)

You can try other things, too, such as red wine, nettles, coffee, teas, or dried flowers like hibiscus. 

 

Experiment and have fun!!!

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