Eggstraordinary Egg Eggsperiment (or Natural Egg-Dying)

This Easter was really great. I especially enjoyed the buildup to it because we did a number of crafty things that turned out beautifully. 

I’ve always loved dying Easter eggs—for my whole life it’s been one of the things that signifies Spring to me in a very concrete way, even when Easter arrives rainy and grey. This year, I decided it would be fun to dye our eggs naturally—meaning no Paws dye kits, no food coloring and vinegar concoctions. This time, we used kitchen and yard ingredients only.

* Turmeric for yellow
* Beet juice for pink
* Blueberry juice for lavender
* Red cabbage for blue
* Birch leaves/grass and assorted kitchen veggies for green
* Coffee for brown
* Onion skin juice for peachy orange 
* Vinegar

It was significantly more expensive dying the 18 eggs this way, and it took probably four times longer than a kit would have taken. But it was easily four times more fun! And we spend less than … probably $9.

Getting a good-looking green solution took a lot of work and time, and surprisingly, it did not color the eggs at all. I also assumed that coffee would easily stain the egg brown, but it didn’t. (That may be because I used the used coffee grounds instead of fresh coffee. I suddenly became frugal when it came time to use the coffee. Can you see my vices?) 

We called it “Kitchen Science” while we were doing this, and stressed to Lucas that it was all a big eggsperiment. We didn’t know how well it would work, whether we’d get nice colors, or if it would fail completely. A la “Myth Busters” we said, “Failure is always an option.” 

But if you care to scroll down to the end, you’ll see that our eggsperiment was a great success! We got lovely eggs in soft, earthy shades. They weren’t pale, as I expected. And as they aged overnight and over Easter day, they sort of changed colors, which was unexpected. Some got darker, some paler. Perhaps they oxidized? We wonder if the beet-colored pink eggs turned brownish because of iron in the juice. And weirdest of all, the blueberry-dyed, dark lavender eggs became a mottled lavender-and-orange before Easter was done. They were really cool!

At one point, when it became clear that we wouldn’t have any green eggs, I contemplated cheating and pulling out the food dye. But Ian convinced me not to, reminding me how cool it would be to have a basketful of plant-dyed eggs, and how not cool it would be to have almost all plant-dyed eggs and the green ones we cheated for. So we finished it as originally intended, and they were gorgeous!

That’s probably the longest story about eggs you’ve ever read.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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