Holiday

Dye It Yourself: How to make all-natural Easter egg dyes

March 20, 2013 at 1:20 PM ET

eggs
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eggs

Easter’s right around the corner, which means it’s time to dye those eggs! But instead of picking up a kit at the grocery store, skip the chemicals and use what you have on hand to create homemade, all-natural Easter egg dyes.

Not only will you be able to eat those hard-boiled eggs without worrying about chemicals, there’s something magical about using an ordinary bunch of beets or a handful of cabbage leaves to create gorgeous, vibrant dyes. And while you’re dipping and dyeing, you’ll introduce kids to all sorts of foods they might not know about yet.

Here are some common ingredients that make great Easter egg colors:

Blue: red cabbage, blueberries

Red/Pink: beets, paprika, Red Zinger tea, strawberries, cherries, cranberries

Purple: grape juice, blackberries

Orange: yellow onion skins

Yellow: ground tumeric, carrots, yellow apple peels

Brown: coffee

The beauty of natural dyes is that no two batches are the same, so results will vary—which is all part of the science experiment fun. Here is a basic recipe for making an egg dye, but feel free to tinker!

For fruits and vegetables:
1 cup of chopped fruits or vegetables
2 cups water
¼ cup white vinegar

Place the fruits or vegetables and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve or colander, reserving the liquid. Add the vinegar and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and dye your hard-boiled eggs. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the brighter they will be.

For ground spices:
4 - 5 Tbsp. of ground spices
2 cups of water
¼ cup white vinegar

Place the spices and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve or colander, reserving the liquid. Add the vinegar and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and dye your hard-boiled eggs. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the brighter they will be.

For liquids like tea or juice: Do not add water, just mix ¼ cup white vinegar into 2 cups of liquid. If using tea, make the tea in 2 cups water, then let it cool and add the ¼ cup vinegar.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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