One of my fond Easter memories as a child is colouring the Easter eggs with my sister and my mom. It was always a fun activity that allowed us to be creative and messy (isn’t this just a perfect combination? ;)).
Nowadays many of us don’t bother colouring their Easter eggs, as there are plenty of ready, coloured eggs on the market. But there are many reasons why you should consider dyeing your Easter eggs yourself.
First off, even as an adult it is a fun process, one that brings a spirit of bonding and creating something as a family unit. It also makes the Easter holiday more special in my opinion and builds tradition. Just as I dearly remember spending this time with my family, preparing the Easter eggs, I want my daughter to have similar memories of it too (even if she’s still too young to remember). Creating traditions as a family is of a big importance to me as it is traditions that still warm up my heart to this day and root me to my family and heritage.
Secondly, if you are anything like me, you’d probably feel put off by the artificial colouring kits on the market. I for one am not a fan of food-colouring additives, even if they are deemed safe to eat. Plus, I get so much more excited to work with fruits and vegetables, and as you’ll see, they offer us a wide variety of natural colours.
I have been using the technique I am about to share with you for the past 3 years, and it works great. Did you know that you can use beets, turmeric, yellow onions and red cabbage to create beautifully coloured eggs? These vegetables will give you the three primary colours, so once you’ve coloured your eggs in them, you can start mixing them to create even more colours: blue and yellow will give you green, red and blue will give you purple, and red and yellow – orange. If you want to unleash the creative genius within you, you can even put some leaves and flowers on the egg, wrap them tightly in a muslin cloth and colour them for longer. You’ll get some pretty nice results.
One thing to remember though: as we’re working with natural dyes, each colour takes a different amount of time to set on the eggshells. I find the beet colours the eggs pretty quickly, whereas the red cabbage needs more time. With that in mind, set plenty of time aside to keep the eggs in the dye if you want them to have a deeper colour. I personally really like them with a pale, pastel hue to them, but again, it is all up to you.
How to naturally dye your eggs
Start by boiling your eggs, all at the same time. I boil mine for 10 minutes. Let them cool down. In the mean time, prepare your natural dyes.
For the red dye
Chop 2 red beets in cubes, place them in a pot and cover with 1 lt water, 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. It is important to cover the pot, so that the water (your dye) doesn’t evaporate. Strain it and keep the liquid for colouring your eggs red.
For the yellow dye
We will use the skins of two yellow onions, which we’ll place in a pot with 1 lt water, 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. If you’d like to add more brightness and strength to your yellow colour, then add 6 tbsp of ground turmeric and stir well until it dissolves in the liquid and leaves a bright yellow hue. Strain and keep the liquid for dyeing.
For the blue colour
It might be surprising but did you know that red cabbage gives you a beautiful blue colour? As I mentioned before, this colour needs a little longer so give enough time for your eggs to soak in the liquid.
Shred 1 red cabbage and add in a pan with 1 lt of water, 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and keep the liquid.
Colouring the eggs
Now you can start placing the boiled eggs carefully in each pot of colours. Keep them there until you reach the desired colour. You can also mix and match to create more colours as mentioned previously.
The colours will not be the same as with the artificial coloring dyes, they are subtler and, yes, natural. It is also safe for little children to play with them, and you don’t have to worry if they try to drink the colourful liquids, something I already anticipate to happen in my house!
Wishing you a wonderful Easter holiday!