Easter Eggs, Colored Naturally

April 20, 2011

I colored these eggs using wild blueberries, grape juice, onions, ground chili, and turmeric. Dying eggs using fruits, vegetables, and spices is ecologically friendly and entertaining. The process is messy and takes time but it is rewarding. Unlike using chemical dyes, it is a Zen experience. You have to relax while Mother Nature does her thing and what you get is more about serendipity than skill.

I particularly like the way the strong yellow, soft blue and purple, and elegantly marbled brown of these eggs harmonizes.

I also tried using some other foods, from spinach and beets to paprika and cumin. The results were too pale or unpleasantly dingy.

  • Start with raw eggs at room temperature. Wash them in mildly soapy water and dry them. If desired, make a pinhole to help reduce cracking.
  • Always add 2 tablespoons white vinegar for up to 4 cups water.
  • To help get even color, spin the eggs, using a metal spoon to turn them.
  • Rinse the dyed eggs in warm water and pat dry with paper toweling right after removing them from the coloring solution.

Turmeric: Dissolve 2 Tbsp. ground turmeric in 2 Tbsp. warm water and add to a saucepan filled with 4 cups cold water plus vinegar. Add 4 eggs and boil gently for 30 minutes. Eggs will the sharp yellow, some with darker mottling.

Wild Blueberries: Combine 4 cups frozen blueberries with 4 cups cold water, plus vinegar.  Boil, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Strain, pressing on the berries. Put liquid in deep container and add 3 eggs. For 10 minutes, keep spinning the eggs.Remove eggs with spoon and do not touch until eggs are rinsed. Eggs will be pale blue with darker marbling.

Grape: Combine 11.5 oz. can frozen grape juice concentrate with 1 can water, plus vinegar. Add 3 eggs and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove eggs with spoon and do not touch until rinsed. The eggs may be sticky, with a stippled effect.

Chili Powder and Onions: Place 1 tablespoon chili powder and the brown, papery outer skin of  8 yellow onions in a deep saucepan. Add 4 cups water, plus vinegar. Add 4 eggs and boil gently for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs and enough onion skins to wrap each egg, scrunching the skins around them. Return eggs to pot and simmer 20 minutes. Cool the eggs in the pot. Remove, uncover, and rinse. Eggs will be marbled and flecked.

Because they cook during dying, eggs can sit out for days. DO NOT EAT DYED EGGS.


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