Five natural, eco-friendly Easter egg dyes from your spice rack

Did you know that the items in your spice rack make great natural, eco-friendly dyes for Easter eggs? Give these five a try this year.

Copyright: Five Seed

Turmeric

Anyone who loves turmeric knows how intensely this spice stains counters, wooden spoons, and anything else it touches. This gives Easter eggs a beautiful golden hue.

Paprika

This spice, beloved by those who like Eggs Benedict for Sunday brunch, makes beautiful orange eggs.

Chili powder

A spicy addition to any dish, and a great way to create a brownish-red color on your Easter eggs.

Curry powder

Even in 1700 B.C., Mesopotamians knew the value of this spice. It not only tastes great, but gives eggs a gentle orange tint.

Dill seeds

This carminative seed makes brownish-yellow eggs.

The hot process:

Lay the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Fill with water, until the eggs are completely covered. Add the spice of your choice – the more you add, the more intense the color will be. (Two to four tablespoons is a good start.) Add ½ to 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Once the water has boiled, let the eggs simmer in the dye bath for 15 minutes. After that, you can remove the eggs and let them dry, or temporarily remove the eggs, strain the dye, and put the eggs back in the dye bath for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge. This process will most likely create a mottled look on your eggs.

The cold process:

Mix several cups of water, your spice of choice, and ½ to 1 tablespoon of water in a pan and let it boil, covered, until the dye becomes strong. This may take an hour or more, so be sure to keep the pan covered. Strain the spice from the liquid, let the liquid cool, then add your eggs. Allow the eggs sit in the dye bath until they reach the desired level of color saturation. (You can leave the whole pan in the fridge overnight for a more intense color.) When they are ready, let them air dry. This process will give the eggs a smoother coverage than the hot process.

This post was reprinted from my article over at Examiner.