Photos of naturally colored Easter eggs are all over Pinterest this year. If you are like me , the photos look too good to be true and it sounds like a lot of work to dye a few eggs. The idea is to avoid artificial colorants and chemicals and create beautiful natural colors on Easter eggs. Since I can’t turn down a creative challenge, I decided to give it a shot and see how the eggs would turn out. I figured at the very least I could let my readers know if it worked or warn them away if it didn’t.
The kids and I gathered , washed and boiled a few dozen eggs and I searched my kitchen for the items that are Pinterest approved to color eggs. We decided to use cranberries for red, blueberries for blue, purple potatoes for violet, spinach for green and turmeric for yellow . I boiled and then simmered all of the food items with water until the water turned a dark hue and then drained out the food bits, poured the liquid into mugs and added a little vinegar for sticking power. The only exception to this method was the turmeric which I just poured into hot water and stirred really well.
Our results were less stellar than we had hoped, but we did have fun and we learned a few things.
First of all, you will not get a brightly colored egg with these items, even if you leave it in the coloring for 40 minutes. Second, it doesn’t work well on brown eggs. The light colors showed up best on the white eggs.
The best results came from the turmeric powder by producing a beautiful yellow or a deep orange depending on soaking time ( a minute as compared to 5 minutes). The cranberries yielded a light pink, and the blueberries left a pastel blue that got darker the longer the egg sat in the liquid. You can see the colors in the photos to get an idea of how it worked.
A few things were complete failures – spinach did nothing but add a little brown tinge, and the purple potatoes just looked a dirty gray. Chilli powder did nothing either. We traded the potatoes for grape juice and managed to get a nice purple toned egg. We used liquid chlorophyll and got a speckled green egg from that.
Over all, the experiment was fun and I liked the softer colors, but it left the kids a little disappointed with the results as compared to the traditional food coloring eggs. If you want to try it just to see what happens, go for it, but don’t expect it to be quite the same. This process does have a certain appeal to those who prefer to avoid artificial ingredients around their kids and the colors are pretty after some tweaking.
I have to say that I disagree with the idea that it saves any money. The amount of foodstuff and herbs used costs more than buying a few chemical free egg dyes. I may try again sometime with some red beets or raspberries and I have read that red cabbage makes a nice aqua .
If you have had better success or tried this, I would love to hear how it went and would welcome input on how to improve my method.