Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter's Here!

I came across an online article showing how to dye eggs naturally.  Since I hate the idea of my kids having their breakfast consist of Eggs a la Red #2 and hate the idea of throwing out the eggs even more, I decided this was something we should try.  However I only had a couple of the suggested food items to make a couple different colors.  The rest would have to be soaked in Blue #4 and Yellow #782 (or ya know, whatever numbers they tag onto the so-called edible colorings).  Mike and I turned the fun into a homeschool experiment/family night project and were pleasantly surprised by the results.  See if you can tell the naturally-dyed eggs from the unnaturally-dyed eggs:

So yes, there was no comparing the bright neon-blue and green eggs to the natural dyes, but we actually preferred the look of the natural eggs (last 5 eggs on the right after the blue and green eggs).  Mike thought they looked more "earthy" and liked the softer colors.

Eggs courtesy of Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Red #3 and Blue #2
For the pink dye, we used juice extracted from beets mixed with some vinegar.  The three pink eggs shown here (on the right) are eggs dyed in the beet juice at various lengths of time - you can see the longer you soak them in it, the pinker they become.  We then chose to leave an egg in the beet juice all night which made it almost a burgundy color (see top photo - next to the blue egg).

The two most surprising results were the purple egg and the yellow egg.  The purple egg was a last-minute thought after noticing the wine glass full of Cabernet Sauvignon on the table. (Yes, Mike brought some home and was actually drinking it with dinner.  I know, who *is* he and where is my husband??)  After dipping it straight in the wine (obviously no need for vinegar here), it came out a beautiful dusky purple.
Turmeric egg on upper right
The yellow egg was achieved from soaking in a bowl of warm water with turmeric and vinegar.  At first, we thought there was no way it was going to come out very yellow as the turmeric kept settling to the bottom of the bowl and each time we checked on the egg, it was a only tinted a very light yellow.  However when all was said and done, it actually did a better job than the yellow dye.

Overall, we felt the natural method of dyeing Easter eggs was so effective, we'd like to try again next year and with even more colors such as green and blue (we were missing the spinach and blueberries this time).  It didn't take up a huge amount of time to make the dyes (about the same time it took us to boil the eggs), and I feel a whole lot better about eating the naturally-dyed eggs than the others. We highly recommend you try it!

Our "Natural" Eggs