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[ARTICLE]: Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally

Posted: 2011-04-16 11:31:30
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When I was a kid, in the chemical-intensive 1960s and 1970s, we thought nothing of using artificial food coloring and those little dye tablets to give our Easter eggs festive hues. Back then, we didn't know that chemical dyes could cause ADHD, harm development, ignite hyperactivity, compromise immune systems and cause sterility.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention even found links between food coloring and asthma, allergic reactions and lead poisoning, Brianne DiSylvester reports in Organic Authority. I'm not taking the risk, especially when dying eggs with herbs and food is so much more fun.

Herbal dye plants, used traditionally to color fibers, give hard-boiled eggs an earthier tone than never-from-nature candy-colored synthetics. Just follow these simple instructions from the experts at Herb Companion for gorgeous, nontoxic, festive Easter eggs.

Even though your child won't be eating the food coloring on the Easter eggs (hopefully), they will still be dipping their hands and fingers in it which will seep into their skin and blood system. We prefer the most of natural of the natural approach; dyes from some of our favorite foods.

You'll need white vinegar (it prepares the eggs to absorb color), a saucepan, water, eggs and the following food items.

  1. Hard boil eggs.
  2. Bring each dye ingredient (listed below) to a boil with 2 cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes and add more or less of the food item to achieve your desired color; strain the dyes into cups and allow to cool.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to each cup of dye.
  4. Dip the eggs into the cups, submerging each egg completely until it reaches an appealing color. Leave eggs in the dye longer for deeper colors. If one color doesn't darken as you'd like, set the cup with the dye and the egg in the refrigerator for a few hours. Try using two different dyes on one egg to create different colors, or dye half of each egg in a different color.

Natural Colors
Gold: Handful of yellow onion skins
Yellow: 2 tablespoons turmeric, 1/2 cup dried marigolds, goldenrod or cosmos, orange peels, or a handful of carrot tops
Green: Handful of coltsfoot or spinach
Blue: Handful of woad, rhubarb, or 2 cups chopped red cabbage*
Pink: 2 cups chopped beets
Purple: 1 cup frozen blueberries
Red: 1 cup frozen raspberries
Brown: 2 tablespoons coffee grounds or 4 black tea bags

On a side note: Since these dyes are all-natural, let your eggs soak for a few minutes or boil the eggs with the dye for brighter colors. Natural dyes from herbs and food give eggs a more subtle, natural hue. Though they will not be quite as vivid as ones dyed with chemical food coloring, you still get all the fun in of this celebratory activity.

* For best results with this color, add botanicals to the water while cooking eggs.

Thank you to the following Sources:
Dye Easter Eggs Naturally With Beets, Onions and Blueberries By Robyn Griggs Lawrence >> http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-home-living/dye-easter-eggs-naturally-with-beets-onions-blueberries.aspx
The Eco-est Easter Eggs Ever by Brianne DiSylvester >> http://www.organicauthority.com/eco-chic-table/diy-easter-egg-dye-from-natural-food-dyes.html