What is more eco-friendly than natural dyes that come from food scraps that are heading to the trash or compost bin? Save your scraps and create some beautiful eggs this Easter!
Leaves from your salad greens
If you peel off the outer layer of red cabbage leaves before cutting it for your salad, hang on to those leaves. Red cabbage makes beautiful eggs in various blue hues. Do you have a wilted bunch of spinach in your produce drawer? Use it to make hues of green.
Fruit skins and peels
Orange peels make Easter eggs in hues of – you guessed it – orange. Try lemon peels for subtle yellow eggs, and the skin from Granny Smith apples for light green.
Do you have neglected berries in your fridge that aren’t moldy, but are wilted enough to be inedible? These are perfect candidates for natural egg dyes. Blueberries make blue eggs, strawberries and raspberries make pink eggs, and if you add some turmeric to your blueberries, you’ll get nice green eggs! (Be sure to mash them before beginning the dyeing process.)
Since many of us are still experiencing cold weather, despite the fact that it’s spring, you might still be cooking soups for dinner. Save the onion peels – yellow onion peels make yellow-orange eggs, and red onions make purple eggs. Try carrot scraps for yellow-orange, as well.
Beet juice from canned beets
If you love eating canned beets on your salad, you might not realize that you can actually utilize the beet juice in the can, instead of pouring it down the drain. This will make wonderful, deeply colored red-purple 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 food scrap 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 food scrap 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 liquid, let cool, then add your eggs. Let 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 post was reprinted from my article over at Examiner.