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.
Although many eggs are naturally white, eggs of almost every color of the rainbow are known. As animals were domesticated and more white chicken eggs were eaten, it may have then become the custom to dye the white chicken eggs to look like the colored eggs of wild birds.
Colored eggs were given as gifts by the ancient Greeks, Persians, and Chinese at their spring festivals, and used by early Christians as a symbol of Jesus’ Resurrection. As early as the Middle Ages, eggs were colored and given as gifts at the Christian celebration. After being forbidden during the solemn fast of Lent, eggs were reintroduced on Easter Sunday, both as part of the feasting and as gifts for family, friends, and servants.
Here is the preferred method for using natural dyes:
1. Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered.
2. Add approximately one teaspoon of vinegar (keeps the color).
3. Add the natural dye. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color.
4. Bring water to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. If you are pleased with the color, remove the eggs from the liquid.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Natural Egg Dye Recipe Nmbr. 1:
|Lavender||Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
|Violet Blue||Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice
|Green||Spinach Leaves (boiled)
|Greenish Yellow||Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)|
|Yellow||Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
|Golden Brown||Dill Seeds|
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
|Orange||Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Cranberries or Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets
|Red||Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Canned Cherries with Juice
Natural Egg Dye Recipe Nmbr. 2:
|Natural Colorant||Egg Color||Directions||Hints|
|turmeric powder||bright yellow to deep gold||Put -1-2 tsp. ground turmeric powder in heat proof cup. Fill 2/3 full with boiling water. Add 1 tsp. white vinegar.||Works quickly.
Turmeric stains so be careful.
Wipe dusty spice residue from eggs.
|chopped red cabbage||blue/teal||Put 2-3 tbsps. chopped red cabbage in heat safe cup. Add boiling water. Add 1 tsp. white vinegar.||Let sit overnight.
Avoid excess handling.
|onion skins, yellow||light peach to gold/orange||Use 1 large handful of onion skin for each cup of water. Simmer 20 minutes then add 1 tsp. of white vinegar.||A perennial favorite.
|grape juice||blue to purple||Add 1 cup frozen juice concentrate to 1 tsp. vinegar.||Eggs may be simmered right in the juice to cook.|
|grated red beets||magenta red||Put 2-4 tbsps. freshly grated beets in heat safe cup. Fill 2/3 with boiling water. Add 1 tsp. white vinegar.||Speckled design.
Dye may be strained before use.
Orange beets may be used to obtain saffron color.
|red cabbage & turmeric||green||Pour scant tsp. of turmeric and 2-3 tbsps. of chopped red cabbage in a heat safe cup then add boiling water.||Speckled design.
Wipe vegetable off with damp cloth.
|red cabbage & beet||purple||Put 2 tbsps. grated beet and 2 tbsps. red cabbage in heat safe cup. Add boiling water.||Striking and intense.|
|onion skins, red||pale celadron green||See directions for yellow onion skins.||Allow long steeping time.|
Disclaimer: Chickens are among the most abused animals in our food industry. There are very few laws in place that protect them. Chickens exploited for their eggs are called “layers”. The way they live is not humane, so we can not support the tradition of dyeing eggs if that means that an innocent animal has to suffer. There are “free range eggs” where chickens are treated well, so next time ask for the “free range eggs”.
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