The Natural Dyed Eggs-periment

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Yes, we could have easily and (far more) cheaply bought one of those Paas Easter Egg kits.  We could have finished those colored eggs in a matter of minutes.  But I had to try it.  I wanted to see what actually happened if we tried all natural, plant-based ingredients to dye our eggs this year.  Like a chemistry experiment or processing prints in the darkroom, the anticipation of what we would discover surpassed the instant gratification of coloring eggs with a kit.  We had to be patient and wait a while for the payoff.  Check out our results:Colored eggs in nestColored eggs in bowl

With the help of my daughter, I gathered the ingredients and went to work, chopping and peeling and boiling water.  We waited about an hour to extract as much color from our ingredients as we could.  We then strained the solid material, added some vinegar and dropped the eggs in.

Natural Dye IndredientsEggs in Dyeing LiquidBut we were far from finished.  We had to let the eggs sit in the dye overnight (or at least 4 hours) in the refrigerator.

Bowl of Colored EggsNow on to the fun part.  The next morning we took the eggs out and put them on a wire rack to dry.  We thought that was it and we were done.  The colors were vibrant and beautiful (for the most part).  Some did not turn out the way we thought.  Well, after sitting and drying for a few hours, the colors had transformed!  Blue eggs became bluer.  Some that came out of the dye a violet color were now a faded magenta.  Some that were magenta were now an avocado green!

Spring Colored EggsEggs in CartonNo matter what the results, my daughter and I had a great “eggs-perience,” had fun with the process and enjoyed the surprises we received from Mother Nature.

Here are some instructions on how you can make your own colored eggs:

Natural Egg Dye (adapted from Eating Well magazine)

1.  Hard-boil eggs and let cool.

2.  To prepare the dyes, set out as many bowls as colors you want to prepare.

For different colors:

  • Blue:  1/4 head of red cabbage cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Violet:  1 large beet, cut into chunks
  • Green:  outer loose skins from 8 red onions
  • Orange:  outer loose skins from 8 yellow onions
  • Yellow:  1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
  • Red-orange: 2 Tablespoons paprika


3.  Pour 2 cups boiling water over each natural dye; let steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to extract the color.  Strain the dyeing liquid from the bowls (except for the turmeric and paprika).  Stir 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar into each color of dye; add eggs to each color.  Refrigerate the eggs in the dyes for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.  Longer soaking will give a more vivid color, but limit soak time to 24 hours.  Remove eggs from the dye with a slotted spoon.  Let dry on a wire rack.  If you plan to eat the eggs, refrigerate for up to one week.

Happy Easter!



Eat well.  Travel often.  Live your passion.

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