Most natural dyes will take longer to work than synthetic dyes—sometimes overnight—so be sure to allow sufficient time to prepare the dye and color the eggs.
Many common foods and spices make great dyes. Here are a few to start with, along with the resulting color:
Yellow onion skins = Yellow to dark orange
Turmeric or cumin = Bright yellow
Red beets = Pink to red
Red onion skins = Pale purple to red
Red cabbage = Blue
Spinach = Green
Purple grape juice (use as is) = Lavender
Coffee (use as is) = Tan to brown
Chili powder = Orange
Raspberries or blackberries = Pink to purple
Yellow or green apple peels = Yellow-green
To make the dye, take 4 cups of chopped or mashed fruits and veggies, or 4 tablespoons of spice, and boil them in 4 cups of water (use less if you're working with watery produce, such as spinach) and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Let that simmer for 30 minutes. Then, strain out the bits of fruits or vegetables. The remaining liquid is your dye.
Soak the eggs in the dye overnight. If the color still isn’t intense enough by morning, carefully transfer the dye and eggs to a small saucepan and gently simmer for up to 30 minutes. The results will vary from batch to batch, but that only adds to the fun in my book.
Have fun trying other items you may have around: If it’s brightly colored and stains your cutting board or fingers, chances are good it will stain eggshells nicely, too.
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