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.
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.