{Easter} Veggie-Dyed Eggs

Editor’s Note: This is Erika’s second post where she rocks the Kilpatrick Family Farm veggie-dyed Easter Eggs. Our newest contributor introduced herself in her first post. Her first contribution was an insight into her food philosophy…in case you missed it.  -Christina

{from L to R: carrot, golden beet, red beet, and onion skin***}

I decided this year I would dye our eggs naturally for Easter. I had meant to do this last year but we went out of town on Easter so we didn’t end up coloring eggs at all. This year I knew I had to do it.

I looked around online for various tips and tricks on dyeing eggs with ingredients that can be found at home, but then narrowed my focus to items I could only get from Kilpatrick Family Farm. I did this so I could bring the eggs to the market Saturday. I want the customers to see up-close what they look like. That way if they want to do it, they can just pick up the supplies right there without having to make a separate trip to the grocery store.

Many sites mentioned that you can also use the following items to color your eggs: red wine, red cabbage, red onions, blueberries, tea, coffee, turmeric, saffron, liquid chlorophyll, and citrus peels. I ended up sticking with red beets, golden beets, carrots, onion skins, and spinach.

{red beets shredded and simmering on the stove}

For the first three I used the shredder attachment on my food processor. I shoved the veg through the hole on the top and when all were shredded I put each type in their own pot, covered with water, added 2 Tbs. of vinegar and let simmer for 30 minutes. When cooled, I put each into their own container and then placed a couple hard-boiled eggs (also from KFF) into each and let them sit for a few hours.

I took two of them and wrapped rubber bands around them before placing into the liquid. I also took a piece of beeswax and made a zig zag on one. I put those 2 into the golden beet liquid and, as you can see, the stain didn’t color the parts that were covered by wax or the rubberband.

{egg dyed in golden beet liquid. The stripe is from the rubberband and the zig zag is from the beeswax}

I read that for spinach you needed to add baking soda instead of vinegar, which I did. I let the spinach simmer for a long time and even cooked the eggs in the liquid at the end of the simmering time in hopes to impart more color. It didn’t work….at all. When the eggs came out they looked exactly how they did when they went in. It was pretty sad.

The carrot and golden beet dyed eggs were fairly weak. I thought the carrots would produce a really bright shade of orange but that wasn’t the case. It did tint it slightly orange, but it certainly wasn’t vibrant.

The golden beet liquid was really pretty in the pot while cooking but when it cooled it became a murky, light brown. It also tinted the egg, but I imagine tea or coffee would’ve had a similar effect. You can tell in the pictures though that the tint did set because of the contrast of where the rubberbands and wax were before they got dyed.

I would recommend gently rotating your eggs around in the liquid periodically during the dye process. My carrot eggs must’ve been resting in such a way that half of each wasn’t getting enough exposure to the liquid because they are distinctly brighter on one side.

{little bundles of onion skin-wrapped eggs}

My favorite of all were the ones wrapped in onion skins. I had my son peel the skins off for me, and I cut squares of cheesecloth and pieces of kitchen string for this. I put an egg in the middle of a piece of cheesecloth and then laid onion skin all around it very carefully. For these ones you leave the eggs raw to begin with, hence the careful wrapping process.

When covered, I gathered up the corners of the cloth and secured the bundle with kitchen string. I read that you can slip other things in between the egg and the skins to create patterns, but I didn’t try that this time. When they are all done, you place them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

When you remove them you take them out of the cloth and the skins and you can see right away they have become a bright, golden yellow. Some appeared to have a “swirled” look to them from where the skins were touching the surface of the eggs.

{eggs dyed with red beets (left) and with onion skins (right)}

I would say that overall the colors would’ve been even brighter had I bought regular eggs from the store. Staying true to my original intent I used the light brown eggs from KFF. I like the slightly muted, natural undertones but it did make it difficult to produce the kinds of hues one is used to with store bought pigments.

I’m glad I did this experiment though. It was fun and I learned a lot from it. I don’t think I’d go back to regular store-bought dye. This was much more interesting; however, next year I think I’m going to try a lot of the other suggestions to see what else I can come up with.

Here are a few sites you may find helpful:

What’s Cooking America

Serious Eats

Mama Lisa’s World Blog

And Soulemama just did this with her kids but she also used the dye for fabric strips that will attach to a Maypole.
***The spinach ones are absent because upon discovering they didn’t work I cracked them, applied sea salt, and gobbled them up.***

Happy Easter! – Erika T

8 Comments Add yours

  1. kate says:

    We have dyed our eggs naturally for the past few years. This year we used blueberries, blackberries, turmeric, and coffee. We wanted something green but didn’t have any spinach so we used relish (smells really awful when you heat it up) which kind of defeated the purpose of natural since it has yellow and blue dye in it! But that’s all we had on hand. We just put each in some water and heated in the microwave for a minute, put in a splash of vinegar and let the eggs sit in the liquid while we ate our dinner. The results are beautiful. Especially the berries. Lovely blue and purple. I highly recommend trying. Lots of fun and totally natural! What could be better?

    1. kate says:

      Oh, and if you color with a crayon before dying it will not dye that area of the egg.

  2. Dianna Goodwin says:

    You can use other plants besides onion skins to get patterns on your eggs with the same wrapping technique. My sisters picks grasses and small spiky flowers (she lives in California so, unlike upstate New York, there are actually plants growing at Easter), wraps a few around her eggs, wraps them very tightly in cheescloth with rubber bands at the end and dyes the whole thing. They are beautiful, very Japanese-y. All of this works best on white eggs, of course.

  3. tebbensclan says:

    Very cool! I would never even think of relish.

    Next year I really want to try the patterned eggs for sure.

  4. segmation says:

    HI Erika,
    Neat colored eggs!Thanks for sharing this blog! Please check out my blog at http://segmation.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/all-about-yellow-pigments/ and thanks for allowing my comment.

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