One of my favorite childhood memories was coloring Easter eggs with my grandmother.
We’d boil the eggs and break out the food coloring.
I hope to recreate this memory someday with my own grandchildren. If I ever have any.
Except I’ll probably be using all natural dyes made from fruits, vegetables and spices. (Think turmeric for the deep yellow.)
Because there’s no need to ever use chemical dyes. Nature has gifted us with a wide palette. Why not just use it?
It’s really easy to make all natural colored Easter eggs, in every color of the rainbow.
Natural Easter Egg Dyes From Vegetables And Spices
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I used food and spices I already had on hand. (I’m a big fan of using what you have and not running to the store for that missing ingredient.)
So I was able to use whatever I had in my house.
- Turmeric powder for golden yellow.
- Spinach leaves for light green
- Frozen blueberries and raspberries for purple
- Coffee for brown eggs. You can also use it to darken colors that come out too light.
- Powdered paprika for
You can also use boiled chopped red cabbage to make a lovely light blue. Any highly pigmented fruit, vegetable or spice should also work.
For red cabbage you would want to chop a half head and boil it in 2 cups of water, and bring to a rapid boil. Then cover it for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Use 1 tablespoon of vinegar as you would with the other dyes.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of using what’s in the cupboard or in the refrigerator. So go through your kitchen and see what’s there.
Other pigmented plants you could use for DIY Easter eggs include:
- Onion and shallot skins
- Tea bags. Especially reddish teas such as hibiscus. It won’t produce a red eggshell. But an interesting dark green.
I didn’t have enough frozen blueberries on hand. So I combined them with frozen blackberries for a purple reddish mix that yielded purple eggs.
This is also a great way to use fresh strawberries or raspberries that are about to go bad. Or maybe even a little past their prime.
As with chemical dye, you’ll want to add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the natural dye. This helps set the color.
I put my DIY egg dye in clear glass bowls, and I added the hard boiled eggs.
Unlike chemical dyes made from food coloring, natural dyes take a little longer. So the hard boiled eggs had to sit in the dye for about six hours.
I used a dozen eggs for the first batch, and saved the dye.
Then I went back and made a dozen more colored eggs.
This seemed to be the easiest approach because I correct any mistakes on the second try. Also, it was easier to boil a dozen eggs at once in a large pan.
I covered the eggs with water. Brought the pan to a boil and then removed it from the heat. I covered it and let the eggs sit in the hot water for about 12 minutes.
Then I poured cool water on them and let them sit in that for 10 minutes.
I dried the eggs before placing them in the natural dyes.
Natural Egg Dye With Turmeric
I used 2 cups of water with 6 teaspoons of turmeric powder. Then I boiled this mixture for 5 minutes.
After it cooled I added 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
Then I added the eggs. I left the eggs in the dye overnight. I also stirred them a few times, before I went to bed.
Natural Egg Dye With Blueberries
I used frozen blueberries that I had in the freezer. I didn’t have enough blueberries to make the dye, so I added some frozen blackberries.
There was no cooking involved.
Instead, I pulverized the berries in a NutriBullet blender, with a little bit of water. I added a few tablespoons at first. Then more in order to make a thick liquid.
Then I added 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
The result as you can see in the photo is a mottled purple. For a more even look I would have first strained the mixture with cheesecloth.
I left the eggs in this purple dye overnight.
Natural Egg Dye With Spinach Leaves
I rinsed out the NutriBullet blender and filled it with spinach leaves.
Then I added about an inch of water at the bottom and pulverized the leaves.
The leaves were pulverized. So I didn’t need to strain.
Then I added 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
Like with the other colors, I let the eggs stay in the natural dye solution overnight.
The resulting color of the egg was too light for my liking. So I salvaged this batch by putting the eggs in another glass bowl and pouring coffee and coffee grinds over them.
The eggs sat in the coffee dye for about 1 1/2 hours.
I did not think the spinach worked very well. So, going forward, if I want green eggs I’m going to use primary colors. Red cabbage, which yields a blue dye, mixed with yellow turmeric.
Natural Easter Eggs With Paprika
Powdered paprika can be used to make light orange Easter eggs.
I used it just as I used turmeric for the yellow eggs.
Bring 2 cups of water with 6 tablespoons of paprika to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
When cool add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
Soak the eggs in this dye for at least several hours.
DIY Natural Easter Egg Dyes
The colors from my DIY dyes were perfectly acceptable. I hope to be able to color Easter eggs someday with my grandchildren. My own children are now too old to consider this a fun activity.
Natural dyes have the advantage of being natural. So no potentially unhealthy ingredients come in contact with the shells of your Easter eggs.
Also, (or at least in my case) I was mostly using things I had on hand.
These included spinach that was almost past its prime. A few frozen blueberries and blackberries.
The powdered turmeric was old. Spices don’t last forever.
Coffee was from the bottom of the French press.
So my DIY Easter egg dye cost virtually nothing.
However, there’s another option if you’d like the experience of packaged dyes. Without the chemicals.
You can now buy natural Easter egg dyes made with plant based ingredients. If you can’t find them locally, they’re available online.