DIY Natural Dyes for Colored Eggs

How to make Natural Dyes for Eggs

Per cup of water use:

  • 1 cup chopped purple cabbage — makes blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
  • 1 cup red onion skins — makes lavender or red eggs
  • 1 cup yellow onion skins — makes orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
  • 1 cup shredded beets — makes pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric — makes yellow eggs
  • 1 bag Red Zinger tea — makes lavender eggs

→ Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to every cup of strained dye liquid

→ For every dozen eggs, plan on using at least 4 cups of dye liquid


How to Make Naturally-Dyed Easter Eggs

 

Makes 1 dozen eggs

1 dozen hard-cooked eggs, room temperature, or white and brown eggs, preferably not super-fresh
4 cups dye liquid made from any of the following:

  • 1 cup chopped purple cabbage per cup of water — makes blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
  • 1 cup red onion skins per cup of water — makes lavender or red eggs
  • 1 cup yellow onion skins per cup of water— makes orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
  • 1 cup shredded beets per cup of water— makes pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric per cup of water — makes yellow eggs
  • 1 bag Red Zinger tea per cup of water— makes lavender eggs

1 tablespoon white vinegar per cup of strained dye liquid
Neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed

Pour the amount of water you need for the dye you're making into a saucepan — you can make 4 separate batches of different colors or 1 large batch of a single color; follow the ratios given above for each ingredient to make more or less dye.

Add the dye matter (purple cabbage, onion skins, etc.) and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 30 minutes. The dye is ready when it reaches a hue a few shades darker than you want for your egg. Drip a little dye onto a white dish to check the color. When the dye is as dark as you like, remove the pan from the heat and let the dye cool to room temperature. (I put the pot on my fire escape and it cooled off in about 20 minutes.)

Pour the cooled dye through a fine-mesh strainer into another saucepan (or into a bowl then back into the original pan if that's all you have). Stir the vinegar into the dye — use 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of strained liquid.

Arrange the room-temperature eggs in single layer in a baking dish or other container and carefully pour the cooled dye over them. Make sure the eggs are completely submerged.

Transfer the eggs in the dye to the refrigerator and chill until the desired color is reached. Carefully dry the eggs, and then massage in a little oil to each one. Polish with a paper towel. Store the eggs in the refrigerator until it is time to eat (or hide) them.

Recipe Notes:

You can also start with raw eggs and cook them in the dye bath as described in this post on Onion-Skin Eggs. I found that with dyes like the Zinger tea and beets, the color was more concentrated with the refrigerator method. Of course, this method requires clearing out some space in the refrigerator.

This Recipe is from The Kitchn. For more recipes check out their webpage.

A vinaigrette: Jenn Louis Pinot Noir Cran Sauce

  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups Oregon pinot noir
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 cup clover or wildflower honey
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 6 strips orange zest, about 1 inch by 3 inches, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 (4-inch) sprigs rosemary
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla pod

Combine allspice, cloves and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground.

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, wine, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, cinnamon stick and ground spices.

With the tip of a paring knife, split vanilla pod lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds and pod to pot.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until cranberries have burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard zest, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool.

Market Applesauce

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium-size apples (a mix of sweet and tart -- Granny Smith, Jonathan, Macintosh, Gravenstein, Fuji, to name a few, for variety of flavor and texture) 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 cup water 
  • Pinch ground cinnamon (or more to taste) 
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional; for darker color, use brown sugar) 

Peel the apples and thinly slice off their tops and bottoms. Using the core as your focal point, visualize each apple as a four-sided object. Place the blade of your knife of on the fleshy edge of the core and slice from top to bottom. You should have four equal pieces, with only the core remaining.  

Slice each piece into fourths and place in a medium-size saucepan. Add the lemon juice and water; the apples should be barely covered. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer, allowing the apples to soften, reduce and thicken into a sauce. This should take no more than 15 minutes. 

Stir in the cinnamon, then taste the apples for sweetness and add the sugar as you see fit. The sauce is done when the apples are soft and broken up. For a more pureed consistency, use a potato masher or wooden spoon.  

Serve warm or let cool and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days.  

Makes 4 servings. Amounts may be doubled or tripled. 

Recipe excerpted from the Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations by Kim O'Donnel

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