Most major holidays are represented by a specific color or two, but Easter brings to mind an entire rainbow of malt chocolate candies and plastic filmy “grass.” I’m not entirely sure what the origin story is to explain rabbits hiding eggs full of goodies and why it isn’t a bit more suspect, but I prefer to happily munch on my treats and not ask too many questions.
A life-long arts and crafts enthusiast, dying eggs has always been a favorite Easter activity of mine. While you are perfectly welcome to buy a package of neon-rainbow dyes from your local grocery store, I would suggest that half the creativity and fun comes from experimenting with natural items you might already have lurking around your kitchen.
- Yellow – turmeric, lemon peels
- Orange – yellow onion peels
- Red – beets (chopped)
- Brown – green tea, black tea, coffee, chili powder, red onion peels
- Blue – red cabbage (chopped)
- Eggs – I tried to do one of each with brown and white eggs
- As many containers as you have dyes (jars are ideal)
- Spoon, ice cream scoop, or a bent wire loop for dipping eggs
- Dish Towel
- Hard boil your eggs! I know this sounds obvious, but we have a fantastic family story of a memorable Easter when step slipped someone’s mind before the grandkids got busy dunking eggs in their rainbow baths. What made for a hilarious discovery later might still be a little frustrating if you love deviled eggs as much as I do.
- Next, it’s time to dig through those cabinets! I cheated and made a trip to the grocery store for some items, but tried to use mainly things I either had on hand or would use in my daily cooking anyway. I was pretty cavalier with the dye-making process, preferring to simply throw each item into its own pot of water and let it boil for about 15 minutes. Consider it “casual science” (that makes your apartment smell kind of curious…)!
- Once the dye has simmered a bit, you’re ready to fill every jar in your cupboard! I added a tablespoon of white vinegar to each container and then added a dye. You’ll want to leave enough room for at least one egg in each container, so don’t fill it all the way to the top!
- Now we wait! I left the eggs to do their thing while I went about my day, letting them sit for about 6 hours. You don’t have to wait nearly this long, but the longer the eggs sit, the more vibrant they will be. My previous experience has shown 30 minutes to be the minimum.
- Using your spoon/bent wire/ice cream scoop/ fingers, carefully remove the eggs from their containers. It’s handy to have a dish towel nearby to both clean up any drips and to pat down the eggs before placing them back in the egg crate.
My favorites were the turquoise from the red cabbage, the burnt orange from the black tea, and the deep red of the brown egg dyed with beets. I’m not quite sure why some dyes stuck better than others, but I might try adding a dash more vinegar next time, in the name of Easter science!