One of my fondest childhood memories of Easter weekend involves dyeing Easter eggs with my family. We would purchase a kit from the dollar store that contained chemical-laden dyes and a wire tool that you would use to dip your eggs, so your hands wouldn’t turn a nasty shade of purple, green or blue. When you were finished, you would dispose of the remaining dye by pouring it down the drain, which even in my earliest memories, I knew was not Earth-friendly.
Not only was this whole process terrible for the environment, but getting set up was extremely tedious. Before beginning the dyeing activity, we would use a pin to stick a hole on either side of the egg and drain out the edible parts inside. There was no way we would be able to eat these painted eggs, and my parents didn’t want us to waste perfectly good food. Too bad we didn’t know about natural, food-safe dye options – it would have saved us a lot of time spent removing the eggs from their shells.
So I began to explore healthier options – I was so excited by the thought of creating fun and festive food options that didn’t compromise my commitment to my health and the environment. My sister and I spent last night searching our kitchen for items with which to colour our eggs. Our tea rack and spice cabinet offered many options:
Coffee: Coffee lends eggs a light tan to brown colour depending on how long you steep it. Yes, you could technically just buy brown eggs, but dyeing white eggs with coffee allows you to create fun ombré patterns on your egg.
Tea: We used a variety of David’s Teas to colour our eggs
Blueberry Jam: This gave our eggs a blueish-grey colour. The longer you keep them soaking, the darker and greyer the eggs will appear.
Queen of Tarts: We had hoped this would give our eggs a pink or red tint. Lesson learned: hibiscus teas turn them grey! It is still a really cool colour, somewhat shiny even – we thought they looked like dragon eggs.
Rooibos: We used this tea to give our eggs an orange-yellow colour. Actually, a bunch of the dyes we used left our eggs in various shades of yellow.
Chamomile: This wasn’t actually a tea from David’s Tea. Just plain old chamomile! The palest yellow eggs were dyed in chamomile.
Matcha: We had *hoped* this would turn our eggs green, but it was very, very light and didn’t work all that well.
Turmeric: We were going to use Turmeric Glow to dye our eggs as well, but it’s one of my favourite teas and is no longer sold in stores, so we opted to use actual turmeric instead. This worked really well, the brightest and deepest yellow eggs were dyed in turmeric.
How we did it:
Although I boiled the eggs before beginning to dye them, you can skip this step if you would prefer to use these eggs for baking. Boiling water was added to each of the dye options above, though the solutions were left quite saturated. Let these cool down to a point where you won’t get burned, but the water should still be warm for best results. Each egg was left in the dye for at least one hour – check on them periodically and leave them in longer if you would like to see a deeper colour.
I will definitely be trying this again next year, and will continue to explore healthier options to colour my eggs shades of pink, purple, brighter blue and green. Any suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. Happy Easter!