Since there is a huge expanse of grass in the yard just begging to be tamed, I am reading, studying and poring over a bunch of gardening magazines for ideas. While reading a current one, I came across an article about dying eggs with natural colorants. Since egg dying has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks when their Wal-mart was called an agora, it’s obvious that the Greeks had to use something other than the little packets we use now.
The article provided lots of instructions on the how to and the source of the dyes. I read this with fascination and regret that I didn’t have the information when my kids were small. It would have been a lot more fun to do and you could prepare dinner, well, in some cases, at the same time. Wouldn’t that be multitasking? The article (Tennessee Gardener, “Color Eggs with Natural Dyes from the Garden”) said that appropriately enough the items used are for the most part cold weather crops including carrots, onions, kale or spinach, blueberries, beets, and cranberries.
The hot process procedure is a one step process making it even easier since you put the eggs and food in one non-aluminum pot along with a tablespoon of vinegar to boil and color them at the same time. For example, you could put chopped spinach in a pot with water and the eggs adding the vinegar and bring it to a boil. Your eggs should come out boiled and colored green and you could have creamed spinach for dinner. Shredded carrots make orange eggs, but using their green tops makes them yellow as will turmeric or ground cumin.
Red onion skins or cranberry juice (instead of water) make red eggs while crushed blueberries turn them blue. Chopped beets make pretty pink ones. A lot of the herb teas will dye your eggs as well. Flowers such as violets will do the same. Nature’s bounty colors our life every day so it makes sense that it should color our eggs. The author, Cindy Shapton, suggested that this would also make a good science project for kids.
Those little tablets never appealed to me and it was dull to dip, wait, remove, dip, wait, remove. But to put the eggs in a pot and watch them turn color would be fun even more so since you could choose the time to take them out providing some pastel eggs while other could be darker. That sounds like a lot more fun than the “modern” method. Since most of the items are available in my kitchen and I have some eggs, all I need to complete the mix is some kids. Easter is coming. Start saving your onion skins.