Color your Easter eggs the natural way

No, that’s not the real Easter Bunny, that’s Green Bank resident Jolene Stewart, a four-year-old Mini Rex rabbit. She may not be able to dye her own Easter eggs, but you can, with ingredients you have at home. S. Stewart photo

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

I know that there are easier ways of doing it, and you can get neon bright colors out of those egg dying kits, but some of us may prefer – or find it necessary this year – to dye Easter eggs the old-fashioned way.

Try these natural ingredients as your coloring agents:

For pastel blue, use one cup red cabbage or one cup blueberries (or blueberry juice) for darker blue.

Spinach will turn eggs green.

One cup shredded fresh beets, pickled beet juice, cranberries, frozen raspberries, red wine or red onion skins will give you red or pink egg dye.

For tan, use yellow onions skins or green tea.

Two teaspoons of ground turmeric, curry powder or ground cumin will yield yellow.

For orange, try a teaspoon of paprika or chili powder or a cup of chopped yellow onion skins.

Red cabbage, hibiscus tea leaves (as in Red Zinger tea) or cranberry juice will make a purple dye.

Get gray with blackberries.

For brown, use coffee, black tea or re-steep with brown onion skins.

The Process

There are two ways of dying – the cold method and the hot method.

But for each method, the basic recipe is the same.

Remember, using these natural dyes, no two eggs will look alike. But that’s part of the fun, right?

After you’ve finished dying, if you want your finished colored eggs to look shiny, dry them off and rub them with a little vegetable oil.

Dye Recipe
Makes 4 to 6 cups
For a deeper color, add more of the coloring agent and/or leave eggs in the dye longer – if necessary, overnight in the refrigerator.
Combine:
• 2 to 3 Tbsp. spices or 4 cups or more of chopped fruit or vegetable
• 4 to 6 cups water
• 2 Tbsp. white vinegar (per 4 to 6 cups water)
Gather your eggs.
White eggs, of course, are the best.

Cold Method
Prepare the dye(s) in as many colors as you like. Let cool.
Have hard-boiled eggs at room temperature.
Gently submerge eggs into the liquid and let them remain there for at least 30 minutes.
You can leave them in the dye overnight in the fridge for more depth of color.
Eggs may be peeled and eaten after being on display at room temperature for a short period of time.

Hot Method
Combine dye agents with 4 to 6 cups water and the vinegar. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.
Eggs can be colored (and/or cooked) in the dye while it is being prepared (make sure the water covers the eggs entirely and simmer them for 15 to 30 minutes), or soak hard-cooked eggs in the dye after it is made and strained.
Eggs dyed with the hot method may be too overcooked to be eaten.
Thus, this method may be better for eggs you do not wish to eat after using them for decorations or Easter egg hunting.

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