Thursday, March 22, 2007

Natural Egg Dyes:

With baby's arrivial right around the corner, I am trying to get all my ducks in a row. I am in charge of the craft for our gardening program, and we decided to dye eggs in celelbration of Easter. Here is what info I found, it looks like this will be FUN! I'll try to remember to post pictures of our eggs!

Natural Dyes For Easter Eggs
Dyeing eggs with vegetable material takes more time than using commercial egg dyes, but it is truly amazing to see the colors hidden in the plants around us.
General directions:
Wash and rinse eggs before dyeing to remove any oil or coating which may prevent the dye from taking.
Boil eggs .
Boil the plant material until you have a good rich color.
Strain the dye, discard the plant material, return the dye to the pot.
Use an enamel or teflon-coated pot for dyeing.
Metals such as tin, aluminum, and iron will change the color of the dye.
Remember that natural dyes can also be toxic.
The safety of the following dyes was verified through the Poison Control Center.
The colors:
A soft, robin's egg blue is obtained by boiling red cabbage. SAFE
Slice the cabbage.
Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes.
Let the cabbage dye cool.
This dye will look purple, but will dye the eggs blue.
Cabbage dye does not work when it is very hot. It will only dye the eggs when it cools.

Orange and a rich, reddish brown are obtained from onion skins. SAFE
Gather the dry outer skins of onions. It takes several cups of skins.
Cover with water and boil for about 30 minutes.
Add the eggs. Watch the color.
You can dye various hues of orange to brown depending on length of time in the dye.

A clear, bright yellow is obtained from the inner bark of apple branches. SAFE
Prune a few small branches (not limbs) from an apple tree.
Scrape the bark into a pot.
Cover with water and boil for about 30 minutes.
To roughly 3/4 cup of bark and 2 quarts of water, add 1 scant teaspoon of alum. The alum will bring out the yellow dye.
Please remember that some dyes are toxic. If you experiment with other plant material, please do not eat the eggs without verifying the safety of the dye.

Natural Easter Egg DyesBy Brenda Hyde
Families have been dying eggs since the medieval times. Of course, they didn't just pick up some food coloring or dye kits at the store, they used natural items to dye their eggs beautiful colors. This year try creating your own egg dyes!

You will need:hard boiled eggs boiling water white vinegar

Any or all of the following:red onion skins, yellow onion skins, lukewarm strong coffeered, cabbage, cranberries, beets, blueberries

Hard boil your eggs ahead of time, or as the dye is boiling. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of boiling water. Add your natural ingredients and boil for about 20 minutes. Strain the dye and cool to warm.

This is not an exact science! The kids will be surprised at the end result because what you see is not always what you get! You can also try placing rubber bands around the eggs before dipping.

For nicer colors you will need to soak the eggs for at least 5 minutes, so have a station set up with bowls just big enough to immerse one egg and the kids can be dying and preparing the eggs at the same time in a little assembly line.
Be sure to have the kids work on layered newspapers and have everyone wear OLD clothes. I am sure we have all had blueberry stained clothing at one time another.

Have fun and be creative! These dyes take a little more work but it will involve the entire family in making memories!

Here is the preferred method for using natural dyes:
Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered.
Add approximately one teaspoon of vinegar.
Add the natural dye. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color.
Bring water to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
If you are pleased with the color, remove the eggs from the liquid.
If you want more intensely colored eggs, temporarily remove the eggs from the liquid. Strain the dye through a coffee filter (unless you want speckled eggs). Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and let them remain in the refrigerator overnight.

Lavender: Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice, Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Violet Blue: Violet Blossoms, Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Blue: Canned BlueberriesRed Cabbage Leaves (boiled)Purple Grape Juice
Green: Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Greenish Yellow: Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)
Yellow Orange Lemon Peels (boiled), Carrot Tops (boiled), Celery Seed (boiled)Ground Cumin (boiled), Ground Turmeric (boiled)
Brown: Strong Coffee, Instant Coffee
Black: Walnut Shells (boiled)
Orange: Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Pink: Beets, Cranberries, Raspberries, Red Grape Juice, Juice from Pickled Beets
Red: Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)

Easter Egg Dye(from foods found in the kitchen)
Red cabbage leaves produce a robin's egg blue color.
Orange peels create a tender yellow
carrot tops yield a smoky yellow green
yellow Delicious apple peelings dye eggs pale lavender flecked with soft rust.
Brown (not white) onion peels dye orange.
Fresh spinach gives you a pinkish color with gray-green buffs.

To dye eggs, place in a pan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and dye material. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently 20 minutes.

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