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Dyeing Eggs Naturally

Posted by Elizabeth Farrell on
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Are you excited about dyeing Easter eggs, admiring their perfect oval shapes and heart-warming spring colors, celebrating the renewal that Easter brings, but don't want to use synthetic food coloring? Are you one of those people who actually EAT their Easter Eggs and want a healthy egg?

I found a recipe to dye eggs using common foods years ago -- from Martha Stewart! -- and have been using it ever since. Sadly though, my own farm fresh eggs never work with this recipe. I suspect it is because my own eggs aren't enzyme-washed, like store-bought eggs, and they still have their natural protective coating. This coating is slightly waxy and prevents the natural dyes from evenly penetrating the shells.

Here's what you'll need:

- Eggs (store bought, see note above, but brown will work!)

- natural dyeing agents

- several large saucepans

- vinegar

- strainer

- large slotted spoon

- drying rack (optional)

Step 1: Make the dyes

Select the dyeing food (from list below), and place the quantity in a pot. Add 1 quart of water and 2 T vinegar. Add more water and vinegar if necessary to cover the food. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the dye into another pot or a bowl. 

Step 2: Cook the eggs

Place eggs into the pot and cover with the dye solution. Cook the eggs in the dye solution until they are hard-boiled (11-13 minutes, depending on size of eggs).

Gently remove eggs with slotted spoon and dry them on a rack or a paper towel.

You may leave some eggs in the pot longer for a richer color. I've even left them in overnight (with the heat off, of course).

Some of the dye may penetrate into the outer layer of the egg -- this is natural and you don't have to worry about eating it (!)

Dye Options:

These are my favorites for great looking naturally-dyed eggs:

Red Cabbage -- 4 cups chopped. This makes a beautiful robins-egg blue

Turmeric -- 1/4 cup powdered turmeric -- a deep golden yellow

Onion-skin -- 3 cups onion skins (it doesn't matter the type of onion) -- a rich coppery red

Beets -- 3 cups chopped beets, or 2 cups of chopped beets and their green tops -- pink

Coffee -- use strongly brewed coffee (and vinegar) instead of water for a light brown color


Here's Martha Stewart's original recipe

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