Did you know you can make your own Easter egg dyes from foods you already have in your kitchen? All it takes to avoid the toxic chemical dyes in the typical Easter egg kits is some extra time and planning.
Start saving scraps from your fruits and veggies as you cook for several days before you plan to start coloring your eggs, and you’ll spend next to nothing on this project. If you want to go out and buy fresh produce, that’s fine too. This can be a fun, educational project for kids and families to do together.
Don’t be surprised if the colors are a bit more muted, though. The fluorescent colors you get from egg kits are unnaturally bright because they rely on chemicals that have shown connections to ADHD, allergies, and cancer. The dyes you’ll be making will be darker, stronger colors the longer you let them simmer. Because of this, you’ll need to begin preparing these dyes the night before you plan to use them.
Are you ready to try it? You need at least 4 cups of shredded veggies for each dozen eggs, and your ratio of water to vegetables should be 1 1/2 cups water for each cup of vegetables. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Yellow Dye – at least 1 cup onion skins and/or ground turmeric
- Red Dye – at least 1 cup beets and/or raspberries
- Blue Dye – at least 1 cup red cabbage and/or blueberries
- Green Dye – at least 1 cup kale and/or spinach
- 4 pots with lids, 1 for each color
- 6 cups water
- 4 tbsp. vinegar
- Pop your produce, one color at a time, into a blender or food processor to be sure the pieces are small enough that the color will seep out into the water properly when you heat it.
- Put these veggie mixes plus 1 1/2 cups water and 1 tbsp. vinegar into the pots, one for each color. Make sure there is a tight fitting lid on every pot.
- Set the burner to a low/medium heat if you’re using the stovetop. If you want to use crockpots so you don’t have to stand over them, make sure you have one small crockpot for each color and set it on low.
- Simmer the dyes for at least an hour. If you’re looking for a strong dye, you can simmer it up to 8 hours. The great thing about using crockpots for this is you can leave them cooking while you go to bed, then turn it off in the morning.
- You don’t have to strain the pulp out of the dye unless you want to. When you dye the eggs, you can rinse the pulp off at the end.
- When dying the eggs, be sure the egg is completely submerged in the liquid. Dunk them under for a few minutes for pastel eggs, or leave them covered in the fridge overnight for strong jewel tones.