I got it in my head Monday I just had to dye eggs. Dave & I have never dyed our own Easter eggs together before, & I wasn't planning on eating eggs this week, but I wanted to try dyeing them naturally & share my experience before family & friends celebrate Easter this weekend. If you are dyeing eggs, I hope you will try doing them naturally.
I don't like artificial stuff in my food, & that includes dyes. Did you know synthetic food dyes have been known to cause hyperactivity in children? The UK requires a warning label on all foods containing artificial dyes. Often derived from coal-tar, they are toxic & carcinogenic (cancer causing) with a slew of specific health risk, such as tumors & nerve damage (see more risks listed here).
Using foods to dye your eggs is comparatively safe though -- no big deal if a little color leaks through the shell -- plus it's fun to see what colors arise from different foods. You definitely get more interesting variations this way. I think kids might enjoy this experiment & get a kick out of preparing the dyes with you.
There are a lot of foods that will work, but I made a challenge to find & use only what we already had on hand. Refer to the photo for our color - ingredient matches. I talk a little bit more about some of the foods we used, how we prepared them, & how they worked below.
The starred* ingredients were combined with water & boiled for an hour to extract the color. I did not strain the powders. The chlorella & turmeric I did not actually boil, because I realized I didn't want to wait for all the powders to boil. Instead, I poured steaming kettle water over, covered, & then let steep for 30 minutes to one hour. This seemed to work fine. The chlorella left a faint green on the eggs but this was mostly due to some of the powder sticking & then drying on the shell. I liked the light speckles. You could try boiling spinach or other greens for green. I'm not sure what makes bright green. Parsley also only faintly colored the egg a green-yellow-tan, similar to eggs you find in nature.
The teas I steeped as I normally would but for much longer to get deeper colors. I poured hot water directly over loose hibiscus then strained it once we were ready to dye. It created cool swirls & textures on the egg; this was Dave's favorite. Green tea also made neat textures. Red wine left crystals after dying, but our wine had been "breathing" for some time.
There aren't any specific recipes to follow. For fresh ingredients, I used a couple handfuls & covered to about an inch or two with water. I wanted to end up with about 2 cups of water (so keep in mind some will evaporate during boiling). For powders, I added a tablespoon or so. Just let it boil or steep until it is the color you want; I waited at least an hour. I also added about a tablespoon of vinegar to each before we dyed to help the shells absorb the color. We let the eggs soak overnight in the fridge.
Get creative! Cabbage water turns blue. Grape, pomegranate, or cherry juices would be awesome. I've heard boiled red onion skins work for violet-blue & yellow onion skins for orange.
Experiment, have fun, & let me know what you come up with!