I've been curious about natural easter egg dyes for years, but I've never had the chance to do them. This seemed like a good year to try them - Western Eastern and Orthdox Easter fall a week apart, so I could dye natural eggs for one holiday, and TG could dye Paas eggs for the other. Sinc eMom is hosting the (Western) Easter Brunch this year, I decided to try dyeing some eggs for that.
After extensive web searches, I decided the best proces would be to 1) prepare quantities of dye baths, 2) boil the eggs in the dye and 3) continue soaking cooled eggs in dye overnight if necessary. This worked out OK, and I didn't have to do the 30 minute or 45 minute egg boils I'd have needed when, say boiling eggs directly with onion skins.
So, without further ado, the dye recipes, and pictures of the resultant eggs. (Note that all eggs started out white).
Dye 1: Yellow Onion Skins
Filled a 3 quart pan with onion skins, wetted them down and added more, then added enough water that the skins could move freely. Brought the whole mess to a boil for 5-10 minutes, then strained out the skins and set aside to cool. A T or so of vinegar was added before boil. The eggs boiled in this mixture turned out looking a lot like brown eggs from the store. Still, a very intense color, and not a big counter stainer.
Dye 2: Red Onion Skins
Same process, but with red onion skins. You'd expect red eggs, right? Wrong! How about a deep brown egg? They look darker in person than in the picture at right. A slightly more unusual color, but still... it's brown, so how excited can I get?
Dye 3: Red Cabbage LEaves
Same process, except, 1) using chopped red cabbage leaves (duh), and 2) substituting 1 T alum for the vingegar. The initial look was unimpressive to say the least (left). So, after cooling the dye they'd been boiled in, I left them soaking overnight in the fridge. Success! A beautiful light violet speckled egg. And let me tell you, the dye was a thing to behold: a bright violet that I'd never have associated with red cabbage.
Dye 4: Beets
Anyone who has so much as cut a beet would expect that the eggs would come out the same color as the cutting board, your fingers and any other unfortunate, nearby objects do. Namely, a fuschia pink. Wrong again. The cocoa eggs that share a pic with the cabbage leaf eggs are produced by beets. For this one, I blended beets with water, added a T of vinegar and boiled away to get - nothing much. Soaking the eggs in the cooled dye overnight produced the cocoa eggs above. Meanwhile, the red dye it made stained the sink, the counter and the cutting board a beautiful red. Hmmm... don't think I'll be doing these again.
Dye 5: Coffee
I think you can figure out how to make strong coffee. Then, I added a the standard vinegar and boiled away. Given the way all of the colorful items were producing brown eggs, I hoped that coffee would produce, say a pale blue egg! It didn't; I got another brown egg. (Truth be told, I can't tell the damn pics apart. I think this was the coffee egg pic, at right.
Dye 6: Apple Peels
This was an interesting one - Yellow Delicious apple peels. I peeled 6 apples,boiled up the peels and added the vinegar. The dye was surprsingly colored - a pale yellow-green. The eggs were a bit bland. In fact, I included two white eggs at the left of the pic so that you can tell that there actually is a color! I think next year, I'll try using more peels, followed by an overnight soak. The color this time is a pale, pale yellow-green. With more peels and a soak, I might be able to drop a pale or two.
Day 7: turmeric
This was 2 t. turmeric and 1T vinegar boiled with the eggs. While the eggs came out a nice, dark yellow color, I still do not like turmeric. Everything it touched was stained, including the sauce pan. The stain doesn't come off with soap, and bleach only turns it a deep brown before grudingly fading the stain. I think there may still be a few parts of the sink stained with this stuff. But will I use it next year? Of course I will, the eggs it produced weren't brown!
I tihnk I'll try this again next year. It wasn't really hard (tho it was messy), and some of the colors are gorgeous. I will definitely be tweaking a few recipes, and beets will not be included.