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Many people are experimenting with coloring or dyeing eggs with natural dyes – have you been thinking about trying it? My family has a tradition to dye eggs with onion skins that we always called “Bunny Eggs”. These beautiful brown/golden eggs have a marbled look that adults especially love. If you are interested in trying to dye eggs naturally here are a few tips:

  • Start by making hard boiled eggs – use un-cracked eggs that have been boiled in a covered pot for 4 minutes, then left in the covered pot (removed from the stove) for 15 to 17 minutes. At that point place pot in sink and cover with cold water, let eggs sit in cool water until completely cool. Dry eggs. If you can’t color eggs right away, refrigerate them.
  • To make your natural dye – place a small amount of your natural material in a pot of 2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil, and simmer for up to 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove materials and cool in the refrigerator.
  • Once dye is cool – add hard cooked egg and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Soak to desired color.
  • If you want to be able to eat the eggs, they must be kept refrigerated and only at room-temperature for 2 hours or less. These would not be eggs you would hide in the grass for example or someplace that animals could get to them.

Ideas for natural dyes:

Blue or purple – grape juice, red grapes, blue or blackberries, or red cabbage.

Brown – coffee grounds, black tea, or walnut shells.

Orange – ground cumin.

Yellow – orange or lemon peels, curry powder, or dandelions.

Pink – red beets.

Green – fresh cranberries.

Yellowish green – spinach.

Dark yellow/brown/rust – onion skins.

If you want a marbled effect to the dye, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the water before adding your egg in the dyeing process.

My family makes our eggs with onion skins wrapped around the raw eggs, with a piece of cheese cloth tied around it. Then the eggs are boiled. It takes a fair amount of skins, so you may need to buy a bag of onions. (Cheese cloth is usually found with canning materials or at the hardware to be used with staining of furniture.)

Hard boiled eggs that have been properly stored by refrigeration can be eaten for up to one week. Eggs are best not stored in the refrigerator door.

What natural egg dyes do you plan to try this year? I froze some cranberries and can’t wait to see what happens when using them to make a natural egg dye.

Sources:

Penn State Extension, http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/adams/news/2015/dare-to-dye-differently-natural-dying-of-easter-eggs.

University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/04/03/dyeing-eggs-the-natural-way/.

University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/youth/printer-friendly/coloringeggs.pdf.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County.

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