Those were my questions when I started researching the idea of coloring eggs with vegetable dyes instead of those little fake colored pills you purchase at the grocery store. I have not colored eggs in years, at risk of being called an Easter Scrooge, because I hate the idea of all those chemicals all over my food. But all five of my grandchildren live with me at the moment…I just couldn’t disappoint them! So…
The first principle was that it needed to be all natural, preferably organic. Easy…everything was purchased from my friendly neighborhood alternative foods co-op. Don’t have one? Just look for organic produce in your regular grocery store.
Second principle…keep it inexpensive. Purchasing super expensive organic food, boiling it, and discarding it is wasteful. For this reason, I decided to use some of the vegetables for my Easter dinner, some for lunch that day, and others I would bag and use later. It was important to use just the discarded portion of the vegetable whenever possible, in order to save money.
Third…sustainable. After boiling, everything was thrown into the compost pile…no waste whatsoever!
Finally, they should be pretty!
The only way to know how they would turn out was to try it. After consulting several sources (especially http://www.bhg.com/holidays/easter/eggs/natural-easter-egg-dyes/ ) and making up some of my own dyes, here is what I came up with:
Quart mason jars or other glass container—at least 1 for each dye color
Several sauce pans and wooden utensils for stirring
A large-mouth canning funnel is handy, but not necessary
Cheesecloth or strainer
Blue—1/4 head red cabbage, 4 c water, 2 T cider vinegar,
Red/Pink—fresh beets (I used the cut ends of 10-12 medium, the rest of the beet was used to make roasted beet citrus salad with feta and greens…want the recipe?), 4 c water, 2 T cider vinegar
Orange—skins of 5 large yellow onions, 2 c water, 3 T cider vinegar
Yellow—ends of 20-30 carrots, 2 c water, 2 T cider vinegar
Green—4 green tea bags, stems of 2 small bunches of kale, 1 T wheatgrass or spirulina, 2 c water, 2 T cider vinegar
Brown—2 c strong coffee, 2 T cider vinegar
For each dye, boil the vegetable for 15 minutes, then cool for 10-15 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth into a quart jar or other container large enough to hold the dye and eggs.
Next, poke a hole in the end of each egg with a needle or tack. Place the eggs in lukewarm or cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place the eggs into the jars of dye, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, dry them on a towel.
Yes, no, and what do you think?