Coloring Easter eggs naturally

Coloring Easter eggs the natural way

Easter is a time of renewal. In many pagan cultures a decorated egg became the symbol of rebirth.

Coloring eggswas first introduced to Europe by the Crusaders who brought the idea back from the East. My earliest and fondest memory of coloring Easter eggs was when I was a child in Germany. It was with delight, that we spent hours preparing our boiled eggs with bees wax (pisanki) and then dipped them in dyes to get a number of different colors. My favorite method was to simmer the egg in yellow onion skins to attain a beautiful tan to golden brown color. We would let the egg cool and scratch a design on the egg with a needle or special tool. I continued this scratch method into my adult life and still enjoy some of my old pieces of art which I bring out at Easter time.

Natural dyes

There are a number of dyes from nature that you can use to color your eggs. Generally, with natural dyes, the more coloring agent and the longer the egg remains in the dye, the deeper and darker the color will be.  Here are some ideas for natural dyes you can get from items that you may have in the spice cabinet and kitchen.

Red-orange – Simmer eggs in a large pot of water for up to an hour in red onion skins.
A teaspoon of vinegar to 2 cups of water will help speed up the dyeing process and attain a deeper color. Pomegranite juice and crushed cranberries will also produce a red color.
Paprika will make a light orange color.

Brown – Two tablespoons of instant coffee and one teaspoon of vinegar to 2 cups of hot water. Soak boiled egg overnight.

Yellow – Two teaspoons of turmeric or cumin, one teaspoon of vinegar in 3 cups of water
Soak boiled egg overnight. Use yellow onion skins for a tan, yellow orange to golden brown color. Also, try Alder catkins.

Pink – Soak hard boiled egg in beet juice overnight in the frig

Lavender – Pour hot water over violet blossoms and soak hard-boiled egg overnight in the frig.

Blue – Simmer eggs in red cabbage , add 1 teaspoon alum per cup, for a deep blue, add 1 TBS of vinegar to grape juice for a lavender color. Frozen blueberries will make a pale gray blue color. For a deeper color steep eggs in dye overnight in the frig.

Another method of coloring eggs is to place delicate material, such as fern fronds, leaves or flowers on the egg and wrap them in cheesecloth or pantyhose. Tie the ends and boil the wrapped eggs in clear water 10-15 minutes, and see what happens!

Have fun coloring your Easter eggs with your family this year. If you have any other dye suggestions, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Here’s an easy way to make an Easter table arrangement: combine 3-4 pansies in a basket, cover with

grass, add colored eggs and finish off with pussy willows or any other spring flowering branches. Your guest will be impressed!