Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Well, we naturally dyed easter eggs this year. I was worried they wouldn't turn out because half the comments I read on other peoples' sites said they:

1.) Don't take dye well.
2.) They taste like whatever you use to dye them in so you can't eat them.
3.) You need to soak them overnight.
4.) Acid of vegetable dye thins out shells.

Hoo-rrah for us, though, because it turns out I am a natural egg dye making prodigy. Not only were the dyes pretty, but only one (pickled beet juice) required soaking longer than an hour. I am thinking complaint two above is a product of complaint three. Our eggs don't taste like tumeric or beets or cabbage. It IS true that the egg shells are thinner.

The photos there are lovely and so are her eggs. I like the rustic look of my eggs, but they are the product of a few kids gone wild and less crafty than the ones at craftastica. Also since she just posts twice a year or so (like me!) I like her extra and got the gumption to post something today.

Our recipe for natural egg dying is:

1) 4 cups boiling water for spice mixes; 6-7 if you are going to boil vegetable down for an hour. You can let the mixture cool if kids will be dying to no great harm, even though websites say you can't.

2) 1/2 tsp alum (found in the spice section of the grocery store). This is the magic ingredient, a canning ingredient I think. Alternatively, Martha Stewart uses 1/2 cup of salt for the same purpose. I don't know if it works as well.

3) 1/2 cup of vinegar

4) Contrary to what I've read on the internet, brown eggs work as well as white eggs, you just get different colors.

5) Add hardboiled eggs to dye containers as you would with a dye kit for between 15 minutes and 1 hour.

6) Martha Stewart suggests wiping down the eggs with vinegar before dying if what you want is a uniformly dyed egg.

As for colors that worked well for us:

Keepers for Sure:
Golden Yellow: Tumeric, 4 Tablespoons. Very pretty. Darker than food coloring dye.
Beet/Rose Red: Pickled Beet Juice (not boiled)
Earthy Brown: 4 boiled beets with red onion skins.
Purpley Blue: 1 head of purple cabbage boiled.
Yellow Onion Skins: 4 cups worth. Rusty, reddish brown.

Meh, but not terrible, especially if you like light pastels:
Pale Yellow: Saffron, 1 Tablespoon. Not quite worth it, even though we used the cheap Mexican Saffron from the Fiesta Market.
Pale Green: Six cups of spinach. I have read about people using different types of tea to get brilliant greens. This is what I will try next time.

Onion Skin Relief: You can tie the skins around the eggs and boil them. I wouldn't boil longer than fourteen minutes if you want to eat them. Or you can boil for 3 hours and make an egg that you can keep forever without it going bad (or so they say...). We tried this but I didn't have good elastics to attach the skins and they fell off mostly. Martha Stewart has a good video of how to do it well.

Flower Relief: Read craftastica for this. You attach a flower or leaf to the egg by tying a nylon or cooking fabric square around it tightly. You can cook as with the onion skin relief. My experiments with this failed as I didn't have the right equipment.