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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Natural Easter Egg Dyes

It's fun and easy to use foods and flowers to make your own natural Easter egg dyes. The two main ways to use your own dyes are to add dyes to the eggs when boiling them or to dye the eggs after they have been hard-boiled. It's a lot faster to boil the dyes and eggs together, but you will use several pans if you want to make multiple colors. Dyeing the eggs after they have been cooked takes as many dishes and more time, but may be more practical (after all, most stoves only have four burners!).


Try both fresh and frozen produce. Canned produce will produce much paler colors. Boiling the colors with vinegar will result in deeper colors. Some materials need to be boiled to impart their color (name followed by 'boiled' in the table). Some of the fruits, vegetables, and spices can be used cold. To use a cold material, cover the boiled eggs with water, add dyeing materials, a teaspoon or less of vinegar, and let the eggs remain in the refrigerator until the desired color is achieved. In most cases, the longer you leave Easter eggs in the dye, the more deeply colored they will become.



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.

Naturally-colored eggs will not be glossy, but if you want a shiny appearance you can rub a bit of cooking oil onto the eggs once they are dry.

You can use fresh and frozen berries as 'paints', too. Simply crush the berries against dry boiled eggs. Try coloring on the eggs with crayons or wax pencils before boiling and dyeing them. Happy Easter!

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