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Natural Egg Coloring

Updated on March 17, 2015

Dyeing Eggs Naturally

The tradition of dyeing eggs goes back to medieval times when people made pace eggs to celebrate spring and Pasch, the original name given to Easter or Passover.

Your kitchen is full of natural dyes. Common food items such as red cabbage, onion skins, and coffee can be used to transform plain white eggs into colorful Easter gems. Kids will especially love discovering all the different colors they can create - let them experiment using hard-boiled eggs and bowls of cold dyes.

Easter Eggs - 40 Fabulous Projects for the Whole Family

Easter Eggs: 40 Fabulous Projects for the Whole Family
Easter Eggs: 40 Fabulous Projects for the Whole Family

Give the Easter bunny a few good eggs to work with this year. Easter Eggs features 40 fantastic decorating projects from kid-friendly sticker-dyed eggs to festive egg garlands and elegant eggshell candleholders. Matthew Mead, style editor at Country Home, pulls out all the stops with gorgeous color combinations and entirely original ideas. Each project features a beautiful photograph and easy-to-follow, directions. And to finish it off, we've included a delicious and very necessary egg salad recipe. Happy Easter!

 

Natural Egg Dyes

Tools and Materials

Natural dyeing agents (red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins, beets, and coffee)

3-quart pot (or larger)

White vinegar

Strainer

Small bowls

Eggs

Large metal spoon

Paper towels

Drying rack

Dye Recipes

Select a dyeing agent, and place it in the pot using the amount listed below. Add 1 quart water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar to pot; if more water is necessary to cover ingredients, proportionally increase the amount of vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Allow the ingredients to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain dye into a bowl.

Red-cabbage dye: 4 cups chopped cabbage

Turmeric dye: 3 tablespoons turmeric

Onion-skin dye: 4 cups onion skins (skins of about 12 onions)

Beet dye: 4 cups chopped beets

Coffee dye: 1 quart strong black coffee (instead of water) Cold-Dipping Method

Cold-Dipping Method

With this method, the eggs and the ingredients for the dye are boiled separately. Using a metal spoon, lower cooled hard-boiled eggs into a bowl of cooled dye, and let them soak for as little as 5 seconds or as long as overnight, depending on the depth of color you desire. Remove eggs with spoon, pat dry with paper towels, and let dry on a wire rack. The cold-dipping method produces subtle, translucent shades, but can result in uneven coloring unless the eggs are rotated vigilantly while in the dye. For hollow eggs that will last indefinitely, cold-dip raw eggs, then blow them out after they are dyed.

Boiled Method

This method involves boiling the eggs with the dye; the heat allows the dye to saturate the shells, resulting in intense, more uniform color. Set raw eggs in a pot of strained dye; bring to a boil for the amount of time specified in our color glossary. Remove and dry eggs as with the cold-dipping method.

Color Glossary

Natural dyes can sometimes produce unexpected results, so don't be surprised if, for example, your red-cabbage dye yields blue eggs. Use the following guide to help you achieve the colors you desire.

Deep Gold: Boil eggs in turmeric solution, 30 minutes.

Sienna: Boil eggs in onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.

Dark, Rich Brown: Boil eggs in black coffee, 30 minutes.

Pale Yellow: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes.

Orange: Soak eggs in room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.

Light Brown: Soak eggs in room-temperature black coffee, 30 minutes.

Light Pink: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes.

Light Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 minutes.

Royal Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution overnight.

Lavender: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 seconds.

Chartreuse: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 5 seconds.

Salmon: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.


Do You Know?

The tradition of dyeing eggs goes back to medieval times when people made "pace" eggs to celebrate spring and Pasch, the original name given to Easter or Passover.

[via MarthaStewart.com]

Display Your Dyed Eggs

This is how I decorated place settings last Easter.

Here are some other ideas:

Red Eggs for Greek Easter - the natural method

Red eggs (in Greek: kokkina avga, pronounced KOH-kee-nah ahv-GHAH) are perhaps the brightest symbol of Greek Easter, representing the blood of Christ and rebirth. We also dye eggs other colors, but rarely will a Greek Easter be celebrated without lots of red eggs. Commercial dyes are available, but this old-fashioned natural method creates red eggs with a deep rich color. The following is for one dozen red eggs. Note: It may sound counterintuitive, but the skins of yellow onions work wonderfully!


  1. Start with 12 medium-to-small eggs.
  2. Carefully remove any material clinging to the surface of the eggs.
  3. Make the dye with the onion skins: In a stainless saucepan, place skins of 15 yellow (Spanish) onions and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in 4 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain dye into a glass bowl, and let cool to room temperature. (Don't be fooled by the orange color.)
  5. In a stainless saucepan (around 8 1/4 inches in diameter), add the cooled strained dye and eggs at room temperature (up to 1 dozen). The eggs should be in one layer and covered by the dye.
  6. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer.
  7. Dyeing time will be affected by the color of the eggs. Start checking for color at 12-15 minutes. Do not simmer longer than 20 minutes (see step 9 if they aren't red enough).
  8. When eggs are the right color, proceed to step 10.
  9. If eggs are not a red enough color after 20 minutes, leave in the pot and remove from heat. When the pot as cooled enough, place in refrigerator and let sit until desired color is reached.
  10. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and cool on racks.
  11. When they can be handled, coat lightly with olive (or other edible) oil and polish with paper toweling.
  12. Refrigerate until time to use.

Tips:

  • Save onion skins in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Do not use any porous (wood, ceramic, plastic, etc.) materials as they can be colored by the dye.
  • If stainless cookware and utensils get colored by the dye, wash with regular detergent and a small amount of chlorine. Rinse very well.

[via About.com: Greek Food]

Stenciled Eggs

With stencils made of waterproof vinyl adhesive tape and cut-out shapes, you can create perfectly rendered patterns on your Easter eggs. Make plaid, polka-dotted, punctuated, or monogrammed eggs, or create your own designs. Any color that you cover with tape will remain unchanged throughout the process. The instructions below are for creating the plaid egg shown at left.

Tools and Materials

Eggs

Food coloring

Waterproof vinyl adhesive tape and stencils

Burnishing tool (available at art-supply stores)

Small bowls

Paper towel


Stenciled Eggs How-To

1. Start with a white egg or one dyed a pale color. Band the egg twice lengthwise with a 1/4-inch-wide masking tape, repositioning as necessary to get a tight fit. Firmly rub the tape with your fingernail or a burnishing tool so that the dye can't seep underneath.

2. Dip egg into dye, raising and dipping until the color deepens as desired. Blot egg with a paper towel. Let dry ten minutes. Remove tape.

3. Band the egg's width with tape at its widest point, then repeat to make smaller circles around each end. (Try alternating wide strips of tape with narrow ones.) Burnish, dye, and dry as before.

4. Remove tape. If you used a raw egg, carefully blow out contents.

[via MarthaStewart.com]

Tea Infused Marble Eggs

12 jumbo eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons of black tea leaves

8 cups of water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Place eggs in a large pan covered with water. Bring water to a gentle boil. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes.

When the eggs are cooked, gently lift the eggs out of the pan and place them under cold running water for 2 minutes.

When eggs are cold, gently crack the eggshells all over by rolling them on a paper towel. NOTE: Do not allow the shells to detach from the eggs.

In a large pan, add black tea leaves, water, and salt. Place the cooked eggs into the pan. NOTE: If needed, add additional water to cover them. Bring water slowly to a boil; then cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow the eggs to simmer for one hour.

Remove from heat and let the eggs cool in the liquid. When cool, drain and wrap the eggs in plastic wrap or a sealed plastic bag. Store in refrigerator.

Remove the shells just prior to serving. Eggs will have a marbleized appearance.

[via Ellen Easton]

Chocolate Egg How-To

We used Valrhona dark chocolate in this recipe because it is relatively easy to temper; the temperatures that are listed apply specifically to this brand.

Chocolate Egg How-To

1. Using a pin, poke a hole in the bottom of a large raw egg; insert the tip of a utility knife, and turn to open the hole slightly. Using a rotary drill fitted with a 3/8-inch bit, carefully widen the hole to at least 1/2 inch in diameter.

2. Insert pin into the hole to pierce and "stir" the yolk. Hold the egg, hole down, over a bowl, and blow air into the hole with a rubber ear syringe (the air will displace and expel the egg). Rinse out egg. Repeat to make 12 blown eggs (you may want to make extras in case some break).

3. Sterilize eggs: Submerge them in a pot of cold water with 1 tablespoon white vinegar; bring to a boil, then simmer, skimming foam from surface, 10 minutes. Let drain on a pin board. If not dyeing eggs, let dry completely on pin board, 2 to 3 days (check insides for moisture).

4. If dyeing eggs: use one of the cold methods above.

5. Using an offset serrated knife, very finely chop 3 pounds of chocolate. Reserve 1 cup chocolate; using a bench scraper, transfer remaining chocolate to a large heatproof bowl.

6. Temper chocolate: Set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until a chocolate thermometer registers 131 degrees. (Note: Many brands of dark chocolate should not be heated to more than 118 degrees.) Remove from heat; stir in reserved cup chocolate until completely melted. Pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate onto a clean smooth work surface (such as marble or stainless steel). Spread thinly with an offset spatula. Then gather together chocolate, and take temperature. Continue spreading and gathering chocolate until it cools to 82 degrees to 84 degrees.

7. Scrape chocolate back into bowl with remaining chocolate. Stir until it cools to 82 degrees to 84 degrees. Set bowl over a pan of warm water, and reheat to 88 degrees. To check consistency, dip a spoon in chocolate and remove; chocolate should set in about 2 minutes, turning shiny and hard. Note: This temperature must be maintained as you fill the eggs; keep a thermometer in the chocolate, and check frequently. Rest the bowl on a heating pad wrapped in a towel, or set bowl over the pan of warm (not hot) water.

8. Place eggshells in an egg carton. Place a disposable pastry bag in a tall glass, and fold top down. Fill bag with chocolate; cut tip to create a 1/4-inch opening.

9. For solid chocolate eggs: Insert tip of bag into each egg, and fill with chocolate (about 1/4 cup per egg; fill a new bag with chocolate as needed). Let set completely, about 4 hours.

10. Alternatively, fill eggs with ganache: Fill all eggs with chocolate, then let stand 5 minutes instead of letting chocolate set. Pour chocolate out of eggs into a glass measuring cup, tapping your hand against cup to let most of the chocolate drain out (do not add to tempered chocolate). Let chocolate "shells" set completely.

11. Fill a disposable pastry bag with ganache (recipe follows); cut tip to create a 1/4-inch opening. Insert tip into egg; fill with ganache. Tap egg gently, hole up, on a folded kitchen towel to eliminate air pockets; fill to top. Continue with remaining eggs. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Ganache-filled eggs can be refrigerated up to 1 week; solid eggs can be stored in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.

To Make Ganache

For semisweet ganache, use 2 cups heavy cream and 1 pound semisweet chocolate. For milk-chocolate or white-chocolate ganache, use 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and 1 1/4 pounds milk or white chocolate. Bring cream just to a boil, then pour over finely chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes; stir until smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool enough to pipe (no warmer than 80 degrees), 1 to 2 hours.

Note: The steps here are for tempering chocolate by hand. If you work with chocolate frequently, investing in a tempering machine will save time and make cleanup easier -- and the chocolate will be perfectly creamy, smooth, and shiny. Every brand of chocolate requires different tempering temperatures; see package instructions. For Valrhona, the following temperatures apply: milk chocolate, heat to 118 degrees, cool to 81 degrees to 82 degrees, then warm to 84 degrees to 86 degrees; white chocolate, heat to 118 degrees, cool to 79 degrees to 81 degrees, then warm to 82 degrees to 84 degrees.

[via MarthaStewart.com]

Martha Stewart Easter Egg Decorating Tips

Here's a roundup of some of the best egg-decorating tips and tricks Martha Stewart hatched over the years. With her techniques as a guide, you can create treasures to dye for. ;)

Vegetarian Easter Menu & Recipes

Vegetarian Easter Menu & Recipes

When you think of Easter dinner, what comes to mind? Right, ham. Below is a vegetarian version of glazed ham along with other traditional Easter dishes that are all vegetarian safe. Happy Easter!

Green Eyes On: Get Responsible About Your Easter Eggs

It happens every April, egg sales rise just like turkeys quickly become high in demand in November. And, for years now, every November we've been getting messages about how to choose the healthiest and most eco-friendly turkey; from organic to free range to vegetarian fed and everything in between.

Well, get ready, because it's now time to take those same steps for your Easter eggs.

This Easter season, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is asking consumers to choose eggs that come from animals that were humanely raised. According to the WSPA, it's a simple yet powerful way to make a difference for the welfare of animals and the environment.

So, what kind of eggs should we look for? Sharanya Prasad, US Programs Manager for the WSPA says, "read labels on egg cartons and look for 'Certified Humane,' 'American Humane Certified' or 'Animal Welfare Approved' claims." This way you can be sure that the eggs came from chickens who were humanely raised, not on a factory farm. Prasad goes on to say that "these claims also mean the animals were not given hormones or non-therapeutic antibiotics, were not continuously confined and were allowed to engage in natural behaviors."

Most conventionally raised chickens and cows (for eggs, meat and dairy foods) grow up in factory-farm environments, confined to small areas and fed a less-than healthy diet. Not only is this inhumane, causing animal suffering, but it creates huge environmental hazards. The Food & Ag Organization in the UN reports that factory-farmed livestock accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions; more than all transport combined.

Here are a handful of WSPA recommended humane egg companies, to make your Easter egg shopping a little easier.

[via TreeHugger]

How did yours come out?

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    • HalloweenRecipes profile image

      HalloweenRecipes 5 years ago

      Nice eggs! I learned quite a bit on your lens, thank you for the wonderful ideas. I really love those little egg cups with the grass eggs in them.

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image

      HalloweenRecipes 5 years ago

      Nice eggs! I learned quite a bit on your lens, thank you for the wonderful ideas. I really love those little egg cups with the grass eggs in them.

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      What a really neat idea. These look like fun things for a family to do together. For myself, I liked reading about the tea-infused eggs, with the marbled appearance. I was wondering what happens to the taste of the eggs after simmering them for an hour after they'd already been cooked? Can you still eat them? Do they taste like tea? I'm intrigued. really wonderful lens. Blessed.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I continue to appreciate your natural approach. Happy Easter and Easter Blessings.

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 5 years ago

      woah, the chocolate filled eggs are so creative. Great ideas throughout the lens.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Love that tea infused marble design. . might give that a go.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      I don't know which egg dying technique to try first - but it will probably be the chocolate-filled ones - YUM! Fabulous lens with wonderful content!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I want to use these for dyes this year.

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      I really liked all of your ideas, especially the stenciled eggs. I am going to add your lens to the related lenses on my Easter egg lens.

    • profile image

      xphiltre 5 years ago

      Great lens, very useful information. Will definitely try out some of the ides here!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for this super lens! I will be trying some of these for my Ostara eggs today!

    • profile image

      eviezeleska 5 years ago

      thanks, nice ideas for ester :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for these lovely ideas! I am so excited to give them a try! I looked at the section where you recommend humanely raised chickens and health eggs and one thing I would most definitely add to that list is the local farmer's market. Most places have a local farmer's market and many small local farmers have eggs that are by far superior to those that come from giant producers, even the most considerate of environment and animal rights. I usually urge people to ask lots of questions when the go to the market and they end up coming home with eggs that change their lives! Thank you again for sharing this wonderful information with me.

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 5 years ago

      Great ideas I can't wait to try some this year! The cracked eggs look like fun! This terrific lens is more than worthy of a Flyby Winging and it can be found among the other blessed lenses for today at Have Wings Will Bless More!

      They may call me an aimless wanderer, but not all who wander are aimless and I'm glad my aim was good when I wandered upon this. ~Ren

    • profile image

      Scanabella 5 years ago

      I used olive oil and cherry juice for a marbling effect I'll have to try the Black Tea.

      Thanks for sharing and putting the animals first also!

    • BetsiGoutal1 profile image

      BetsiGoutal1 5 years ago

      Tons of cool ideas here, thanks so much for sharing.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Very, very cool. Funny easy craft - seasonal, and with your natural focus you can also add a bit of historical teaching of how our ancestors used these natural dyes. Thanks for the chemical free focus and on the emphasis on humanely raised eggs. Angel blessed!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Thumbs up for natural colors!

    • Jillynn profile image

      Jillynn 5 years ago

      I love this lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I absolutely love these egg projects. Those marbled eggs are so cool. Using the eggs as a tiny planter is brilliant. Thanks for helping me think outside the egg carton.

    • Scraps2treasures profile image

      Scraps2treasures 5 years ago

      I definitely want to try the tea dye this year. Love that marbled effect. Great lens!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great technique, I'll store the link for later. Natural dye om Easter is better as it is not toxic...

      Thanks

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      We attempted naturally dyed eggs last year but were a bit disappointed with the results. I'll share your tips with my daughter and we'll have another go at it. The chocolate eggs look quite delicious and fun!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      amazing work. admired your creativity.~blessed~

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 6 years ago

      Well, I usually dye the Easter eggs with the usual (chemical) red powder and some onion skins. If the eggshels are dark and thick, they turn to a bright red color. Once having cooled, I polish them with olive oil and they look amazing! This is my recipe and it works very well...

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      This is really awesome! I want to try the chocolate eggs :) Angel blessed and featured in the Holiday Crafts section on Squid Angel Mouse Tracks in Crafts.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      So lovely!

    • BubblesRFun profile image

      BubblesRFun 6 years ago

      Great lens....:)

    • Yourshowman LM profile image

      Yourshowman LM 7 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What lovely Easter eggs using natural dyes! The Greek Red eggs are gorgeous!.

    • SherryHolderHunt profile image

      SherryHolderHunt 7 years ago

      The Tea Infused Marble eggs are fantastic! Rolled to my Decorating Plastic Eggs lens.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 7 years ago

      This lens is gorgeous! I love the natural colors. I've featured it on my lens about Easter egg designs. 5*

    • kohuether lm profile image

      kohuether lm 7 years ago

      I love how you gave the instructions for natural colored eggs for Greek Easter! After coloring red eggs all my life, I began to think that the store bought dyes are scary.

    • profile image

      totalhealth 7 years ago

      i really enjoyed your lens, and nice dying techniques. thanks

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      Thanks for the egg dyeing tips. These eggs are beautiful!

    • x3xsolxdierx3x lm profile image

      x3xsolxdierx3x lm 8 years ago

      great lens :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      What beautifully died eggs.

      Lensrolled to Who laid THAT egg?

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      This is a great lens! I joined your fan club.

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 8 years ago

      These are such amazing ideas! There is so much beauty in nature and these egg dying methods are lovely.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Very nicely done lens; I don't think you have submitted it to Easter Time Headquarters, have you? Great work that is blessed by an Angel today.

      Brenda

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Wow! Lots of great information. Happy Easter!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I hereby bless this lens.

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Oooooo...love this lens!