How to dye Easter eggs naturally

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It’s still a fun tradition in many households to dye brightly coloured Easter eggs. It is after all spring, and we could all use a bit more colour in our lives after a dreary winter. I have great memories of dying Easter eggs with my mom when I was little and then decorating them with stickers. It’s a tradition that I’d like to carry on with my daughter, but we try to avoid food colouring unless absolutely necessary.

The hidden dangers of food colouring

Food dye adds bright colour to icing, desserts and even homemade play-doh, but food colouring is anything by fun. Linked to hyperactivity in kids, allergies and more - these man-made chemicals should be used sparingly. Many food dyes contain known carcinogens like red 50 and yellow 5. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be colouring my eggs with these types of chemicals.

Use nature’s dye

Luckily, we can still continue these amazing traditions in our household with dyes from commonly used sources that are all found in nature. This year, I’ve opted to colour my eggs using turmeric, red cabbage, yellow onions and beets.

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Easter Eggs the Natural Way


Kathleen Kahlon

  • prep time: 8 hours (not all at once and only 40 minutes is hands on)
  • cook time: 30 minutes
  • total time: 8.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups yellow onion skins, just lightly packed
  • 2 cups purple beets, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups red cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp powedered turmeric
  • 1-2 tsp (per color) tsp white vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Roughly chop veggies and measure turmeric, set aside.
  2. Boil 2-3 cups of water in seperate pots.
  3. Once water is at a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer, and place veggies in the water. Water should just cover the veggies.
  4. For the turmeric, combine with 2 cups of boiling water. The water should be bright yellow in color. If it is diluted, add more turmeric.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain out vegetables and put dye mixture into a large mouthed 1 litre mason jar. Let cool. This might take an hour or so.
  7. In the meantime, hardboil a dozen white eggs. Let cool.
  8. Once dye mixture has cooled, place 1 - 2 tsp of white vinegar in each jar and combine.
  9. Carefully place eggs in jars - I find that I can place 3 to 4 eggs in each jar depending on the size of the eggs.
  10. Screw on lids and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
  11. Remove eggs from jars, discard liquid and pat the eggs dry.

Is it more time consuming than the synthetic food dye way? Yes, it definitely is. But I did it in stages while I was doing other things around the house, so it didn’t really feel that way. Plus, my daughter is young enough that we were able to do it together and learn about the different vegetables I was using to make the dyes. We talked about the fact that clothing and textiles used to be dyed in the same way and it really became an amazing lesson about the beauty of nature.

P.S. Don’t wear white.

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