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dyeing eggs with vegetable dyes - Easter eggs

 
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I thought I knew what I was doing...because I am a fabric dyer I thought dying eggs would be a breeze. I spent the morning playing in the kitchen with unsatisfactory results...and worse yet soft shells on the eggs because I decided to play with PH like I would with fabric and added a little baking soda once and then a little vinegar...beautiful foam and an amazing change in color for the tumeric...I am happy with the color of the bits of linen and cotton fabric I included in the pot.
Here are a few pictures...and maybe someone will post some successes

these are probably too many pictures for a failed experiment.

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onion skins after about an hour simmer
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sorted out whitest eggs
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onion skin dye bath
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one tablespoon turmeric to a quart rain water
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cloth after adding baking soda to turmeric dye bath
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yellow eggs/redish cloth (turmeric) and reddish eggs/orangish cloth (onion skins)
 
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They look beautiful. Although probably not bright enough for some kids.

We just bought araucana chickens so we have easter eggs all year.
 
Judith Browning
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R Scott wrote:They look beautiful. Although probably not bright enough for some kids.

We just bought araucana chickens so we have easter eggs all year.




naturally blue and green eggs...how fun!

The irony here is that the onion skin eggs are almost the same dark brown
as the eggs that I sorted out as too dark to dye
I will have to limit this experiment until I get some good advice...
we can't eat this many boiled eggs and it is taking more time to clean up than to do....
 
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Beetroot dyes the shells a fantasic pink; or the egg itself if you're cracking the shell half way through for a 'tie-dyed- egg
 
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Judith did you ever figure out how to do this? I used to use vegetable dyes with my kids at Easter. And, lo, Erica Strauss posted about it here: http://www.nwedible.com/sunprint-naturally-dye-easter-eggs/.



And here's more instructions at http://radmegan.com/2012/03/natural-egg-dye-a-rainbow-of-options.html. I usually didn't get mine quite as dark as hers, but I usually did create almost this many different colors.



I just love these!

 
Judith Browning
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Those are beautiful, Jocelyn I didn't get around to trying again this year.....I've had a hard time finding 'homegrown' white eggs and lately our egg person has only really dark brown ones. Your links and pictures have inspired me though so maybe I'll be ready for next year.
 
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we JUST got done with ours! This year we tried :

Matcha Powder (some old stuff laying around) didnt work, not shown
Elderberry (dried, crushed, and boiled into an infusion before eggs added) worked slightly well, but not totally great
Tumeric, the yellowy ones
and some old Logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) dye from 15 years ago found in the garage, that one was a HIT!
we did the plant wrap deco thing. it was fun, a bit of work, but the plants that worked the best for us were dandilion and (wild) strawberry leaves

picture! my two year old will have kinda fun finding them, totally fun peeling them, and will probably throw a toddler fit when we eat them!! happy hunting!

edit: these are made with brown eggs
edit2: we polished with pork lard , REALLY makes them shine!
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Judith Browning
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Danielle Diver wrote:we JUST got done with ours! This year we tried :

Matcha Powder (some old stuff laying around) didnt work, not shown
Elderberry (dried, crushed, and boiled into an infusion before eggs added) worked slightly well, but not totally great
Tumeric, the yellowy ones
and some old Logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) dye from 15 years ago found in the garage, that one was a HIT!
we did the plant wrap deco thing. it was fun, a bit of work, but the plants that worked the best for us were dandilion and (wild) strawberry leaves

picture! my two year old will have kinda fun finding them, totally fun peeling them, and will probably throw a toddler fit when we eat them!! happy hunting!

edit: these are made with brown eggs
edit2: we polished with pork lard , REALLY makes them shine!



they are beautiful, Danielle....check into the toxicity of logwood though.......I always avoided it as a fabric dye because I thought it was more toxic than others. It could be I'm thinking of the dust from working the wood though.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Gorgeous, Danielle! I like how earthy the tones turned out.
 
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Ah, yes! An egg that is boiled with plant imprints (using leaves or petals to resist dye for a white/light 'silhouette') is called Lystovka (from the word "lystia" - leaves), or Halunka. They are a great example of using a plant's inherent beauty to sing on the alluring curved surface of the egg.

I met a wonderful woman this spring who told me about her childhood memory of living in Ukraine and making Halunky:
In preparation for Easter, she would visit the village of her grandmother. Grandmother would give the task of making little vytynankas (paper cut-outs, from the word 'vytynaty'- to cut) to the grandchildren. Grandmother would place an egg in a long stocking, put a vytynanka put against the egg in the stocking, then twist the stocking like a sausage before putting the next egg in. She'd then have a long, delicate, heavy chain of eggs in the stocking ready to immerse into a pot of water with onion skins that she had saved all year just for this purpose. After cooking, the eggs were slipped out of the stocking one by one, all of deep red with white silhouettes of the paper motifs.

 
Olenka Kleban
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Here's a video by Marta Iwanek about making pysanky using natural/plant dyes.

Pysanky (from the word "pysaty'- to write) are made using the batik method for dyeing. So, wax being the thing that resists the dye to make motifs, a hot dye bath cannot be used (the wax will melt and the motif will be gone! and the egg will cook, which is undesirable for pysanky). So, all recipes touched on in this video are all for cool dye baths.


 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I just looove dyeing eggs this way for Easter, so I glommed onto a new blog post with some useful tips.

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally with Every Day Ingredients



And now, I'm sold on trying this with blown out eggs and making wildflower-seed-filled confetti eggs!

So many fun things to do, so little time! #firstworldproblem

 
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This has probably come up before as an edible item, but thought it would go good in this thread as well. If you like and make pickled eggs with beet juice, the dye penetrates the shell (below).

One recipe here: http://www.thisamericanbite.com/pickled-eggs/
PickledEggs.JPG
[Thumbnail for PickledEggs.JPG]
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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John Weiland wrote:This has probably come up before as an edible item, but thought it would go good in this thread as well. If you like and make pickled eggs with beet juice, the dye penetrates the shell (below).

One recipe here: http://www.thisamericanbite.com/pickled-eggs/



That is some brilliant coloring! Just stunning!

Soy sauce is another one I've heard about, though with not-so-vibrant results I imagine. Haven't done either myself.

If I recall, I think if soaked in one or the other with a crackled, but still intact shell it makes a lovely pattern on the egg, too.
 
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Dyed using red onion skins, purple cabbage and zeller boletes.
eggs.jpg
[Thumbnail for eggs.jpg]
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Anyone buying white-shelled eggs just for dyeing this year?
 
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I have some white eggs (and 3 green ones!) and I read a bunch of the dyeing stuff online this morning. Seems to me, with my weird little head, that they are trying to make an equivalent to the dye kits you get, liquid you dip or soak them in. For example, beets they say to boil 1.5 cups of beets in water, strain them out and dip in that.

I see the world differently. Starting with boiling my blown or boiled eggs in vinegar to make them take the dye, then I'm going to try shredding beets, and packing the shreds around an egg, tie it well, let it sit for several hours. I think that would stain an egg way better than beet water (and waste less beets!) Plus have texture to it. Going to mix chopped onion with turmeric, and pack it too. Probably, knowing me, do some eggs that have glops of beets, and glops of turmeric/onion mix, to end up with multicolored textured weird eggs. Green would be chopped spinach or chlorella tablets, also packed on and sit... Haven't got any purple cabbage... Oh wait! Might have some in the freezer... hmm..
I'll post pics, so y'all know if it works or not :) Probably will post pics too late for people to look at them this year and decide, but next year, and the idea is here if someone wants to try it as I do this year, we can compare techniques!

:D
 
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That sounds beautiful, Pearl! I hope you'll post pre, process & post-pigment pics?
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
I see the world differently. Starting with boiling my blown or boiled eggs in vinegar to make them take the dye, then I'm going to try shredding beets, and packing the shreds around an egg, tie it well, let it sit for several hours. I think that would stain an egg way better than beet water (and waste less beets!) Plus have texture to it. Going to mix chopped onion with turmeric, and pack it too. Probably, knowing me, do some eggs that have glops of beets, and glops of turmeric/onion mix, to end up with multicolored textured weird eggs. Green would be chopped spinach or chlorella tablets, also packed on and sit... Haven't got any purple cabbage... Oh wait! Might have some in the freezer... hmm..
I'll post pics, so y'all know if it works or not :) Probably will post pics too late for people to look at them this year and decide, but next year, and the idea is here if someone wants to try it as I do this year, we can compare techniques!

:D


You will boil the eggs in pure undiluted vinegar? Are you going to use cooked beet peels or raw? Can't wait to see the photos!
 
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I have used onion skins  both red and yellow. You can get as yellow to orange form the yellow and  a yellow to brownish pink from the red.   As avocado skins and pits, can give anywhere from a peachy pink to a brown.  The pits will give more of a pink color, but both make great colors.  Berries , carrots and red cabbage and beets will also color eggs.   Have fun trying other foods.   Some of these will work with wool as well. But not all are color fast.  Turmeric can also give some very bright yellows/oranges.  
 
Pearl Sutton
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Joy Oasis wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:
I see the world differently. Starting with boiling my blown or boiled eggs in vinegar to make them take the dye, then I'm going to try shredding beets, and packing the shreds around an egg, tie it well, let it sit for several hours. I think that would stain an egg way better than beet water (and waste less beets!) Plus have texture to it. Going to mix chopped onion with turmeric, and pack it too. Probably, knowing me, do some eggs that have glops of beets, and glops of turmeric/onion mix, to end up with multicolored textured weird eggs. Green would be chopped spinach or chlorella tablets, also packed on and sit... Haven't got any purple cabbage... Oh wait! Might have some in the freezer... hmm..
I'll post pics, so y'all know if it works or not :) Probably will post pics too late for people to look at them this year and decide, but next year, and the idea is here if someone wants to try it as I do this year, we can compare techniques!

:D


You will boil the eggs in pure undiluted vinegar? Are you going to use cooked beet peels or raw? Can't wait to see the photos!


It got complicated, they are still soaking in their dye messes. Blown eggs float!! I soaked them in about 1 cup white vinegar to about 4 cups water.   I needed to get the oil off them, they were oiled for long term storage.
I used raw beet, and it may not be working well, can't tell without opening them up. The beet was a half of one, that was cut over a week ago and has been hanging out in the fridge,it was kind of dry.  I grated it up. Turmeric looks like it's amok.
:D
 
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Any idea how to get spirulina to dye the eggs? The water is super dark, but the eggs don't look colored at all.

Here's what I tried today with the kids:


-- Rhubarb stems: made a lovely pink liquid, but I don't think I had enough stems to make it strong enough to color the eggs. (2 hours later, and nothing much has happened)

-- Rhubarb leaves: made a orangeish brown, but didn't seem to color the eggs

-- Spirulina powder: I had this lying around, and it made a lovely forest green liquid...but it's not sticking to the egg

-- Turmeric: for a gold color. Seems to be working well!

-- Turmeric+spirulina+rhubarb leaves: This seems to be coloring the eggs nicely!

-- onion skins: I didn't have very many skins, so I don't think this'll turn out as dark as it could. It does seem to be making them peach-ish

Maybe I should add some rhubarb leaf liquid and turmeric to help the spirulina work?
20200411_162745.jpg
Some of the duck eggs (and a chicken egg) decorated with dandelion leave and flowers, chives, sweet cicely, bittercress, kale, strawberries leaves
Some of the duck eggs (and a chicken egg) decorated with dandelion leave and flowers, chives, sweet cicely, bittercress, kale, strawberries leaves
20200411_164815.jpg
Turmeric in back, rhubarb stalks on right, rhubarb leaves on left, spirulina in the front
Turmeric in back, rhubarb stalks on right, rhubarb leaves on left, spirulina in the front
20200411_171618.jpg
I simmered the rhubarb stems and leaves for a while to extract the color, then added the eggs once the liquid cooled back down
I simmered the rhubarb stems and leaves for a while to extract the color, then added the eggs once the liquid cooled back down
20200411_194611.jpg
left is spirulina (not working :'( ) and right is spirulina+turmeric+rhubarb leaves...it looks mostly like turmeric
left is spirulina (not working :'( ) and right is spirulina+turmeric+rhubarb leaves...it looks mostly like turmeric
20200411_194847.jpg
The rhubarb isn't working at all :'(. Don't know if I should add juice to make it actually work, or just let it keep soaking over night.
The rhubarb isn't working at all :'(. Don't know if I should add juice to make it actually work, or just let it keep soaking over night.
 
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Here is our first try at colouring eggs. Not very fancy, but I like them non the less. We had to work with what we had, which was a pack of black beans, onions peels and some dried out old beets. We first made some dots with candle wax and then popped them into the cold tea we brewed earlier and let cool down (important the tea is cold or it will melt the wax!). We left the eggs to color overnight. Next day you rinse of the way with some hot water and you’re done!
The black beans give a really light grey colour to the eggs. Because the colour didn’t take really well, I put the grey eggs into the onion peel bath for another day. Some reaction happened, because the grey eggs came out beautifully speckled.
Have a nice Easter everyone!
8CCF330C-4D51-4AC6-8D64-FC72BD87CB0A.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 8CCF330C-4D51-4AC6-8D64-FC72BD87CB0A.jpeg]
 
Lyda Eagle
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Joy Oasis wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:
I see the world differently. Starting with boiling my blown or boiled eggs in vinegar to make them take the dye, then I'm going to try shredding beets, and packing the shreds around an egg, tie it well, let it sit for several hours. I think that would stain an egg way better than beet water (and waste less beets!) Plus have texture to it. Going to mix chopped onion with turmeric, and pack it too. Probably, knowing me, do some eggs that have glops of beets, and glops of turmeric/onion mix, to end up with multicolored textured weird eggs. Green would be chopped spinach or chlorella tablets, also packed on and sit... Haven't got any purple cabbage... Oh wait! Might have some in the freezer... hmm..
I'll post pics, so y'all know if it works or not :) Probably will post pics too late for people to look at them this year and decide, but next year, and the idea is here if someone wants to try it as I do this year, we can compare techniques!

:D


You will boil the eggs in pure undiluted vinegar? Are you going to use cooked beet peels or raw? Can't wait to see the photos!


It got complicated, they are still soaking in their dye messes. Blown eggs float!! I soaked them in about 1 cup white vinegar to about 4 cups water.   I needed to get the oil off them, they were oiled for long term storage.
I used raw beet, and it may not be working well, can't tell without opening them up. The beet was a half of one, that was cut over a week ago and has been hanging out in the fridge,it was kind of dry.  I grated it up. Turmeric looks like it's amok.
:D


All eggs will float when they start to get old.  It is one way you can tell if an egg is fresh or not,  fresh ones sink.   The oil might also be hindering them from taking color. Eggs are very porous and will soak up the oil over time so it is not just on the surface.
 
Lyda Eagle
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If you are using things like rhubarb  leaves to color eggs  just don't eat them after.  Rhubarb leaves are toxic and it could go right into the egg.   I have used Rhubarb to dye wool, but it had to sit for a long time. I did get a lovey green yarn from it.  
I have not tried eggs, so don't know it that works or not.    
As a kid we use to love cracking the shell of the hard boiled eggs and then putting them in beats, cabbage, tea, etc,  You can get a very cool pattern on the white of the egg, and it was fun to open them up and eat the multi color eggs.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Lyda Eagle wrote:All eggs will float when they start to get old.

And blown out empty eggs float even better! :D

FWIW, don't have my pics ready yet, but the beets definitely needed vinegar, only place they worked is next to turmeric that had vinegar to dampen it on the onions. Turmeric did lovely, cabbage did cool stuff, so all of the beet shreds, the cabbage, and some of the turmeric I accidentally got into it got vinegared and packed back on them for round two!  
 
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Morning update! The rhubarb stems weren't doing enough, so after making my post last, I simmered some mulberries and added the juice to the rhubarb liquid. Bright, deep china blue was the result!

-- Rhubarb stems: barely made a peach color, so I added in mulberry juice, and that worked really well! The strawberry leaves that I used to imprint actually made a dark color on the egg, too.

-- Rhubarb leaves: made a orangeish brown. They darkened the eggs a bit, but didn't make a very good imprint. On the other hand, the sweet cicely leaf DID make a darker imprint

-- Spirulina powder: Barely dyed the eggs at all. The most dissapointing of the colors.

-- Turmeric: Nice bright gold. It made pretty good inprints

-- Turmeric+spirulina+rhubarb leaves: This made a nice yellow. The spirulina didn't seem to do much of anything

-- onion skins: Even without enough leaves, this made a nice imprint and a pretty color. Definitely the cleanest/prettiest imprints came from the onion dye. I really love how the bittercress flowers turned out!


Since these eggs were all from our ducks/chickens, I think I didn't get all of their protective coatings off. So, when I rinsed one of the blue eggs, the coating came off, making it super speckled and pretty!
20200412_095534.jpg
Eggs taken out of their liquiids, still in thier cheesecloth. The foods all dyed the fibres--they just didn't all dye the eggs!
Eggs taken out of their liquiids, still in thier cheesecloth. The foods all dyed the fibres--they just didn't all dye the eggs!
20200412_102241.jpg
I rinsed the eggs off and took them into the sun. The
I rinsed the eggs off and took them into the sun. The
20200412_102852.jpg
Eggs in hiding! (These are my favorites :D)
Eggs in hiding! (These are my favorites :D)
20200412_105356.jpg
The rhubarb made the faint peach color, the mulberries that lovely blue. I like how the blue mottled in the sunlight
The rhubarb made the faint peach color, the mulberries that lovely blue. I like how the blue mottled in the sunlight
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Lyda Eagle wrote:All eggs will float when they start to get old.

And blown out empty eggs float even better! :D    



Oh my, yes they do! I had to wedge my blown-out eggs into a jar with a weight on top to prevent them from floating (and getting unevenly coated because of the parts sticking above the die). Anyone know a more elegant solution to this? I tried to get them to fill completely with water so they would sink, but a bit of air always remained, making them float!

 
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Floating Blown Eggs: could they be filled with dye solution using a syringe, then immersed in dye bath? Might be interesting as they would possibly take dye from both sides.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I don't know if I just somehow didn't cook them long enough, or if the rhubarb's oxalic acid did something to denature the eggs. When we went to peel them, they were gelatinous and liquid inside--there wasn't even any cooked white next to the shell. They were one of the last eggs I cooked, so maybe I just didn't watch my watch enough. But, I'd exert caution when using rhubarb for boiling eggs in!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Well, the turmeric did lovely. The second dye on the eggs didn't do well at all, I wonder if the turmeric (which is slightly oily) kept the rest from being able to dye. The beet red just rinsed right off.



The ones I painted amused me much more. Some were done with glue and bits of flower catalogs, or violets and clover from the yard. The painted ones are gaudy, more my style. The weird swoopy ones were from a few years ago, they never go finished because they were coming out so bad. This is the rescue of them, a lot got overpainted.


These are all posed nicely for a class picture!  :D

 
Lyda Eagle
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Well, the turmeric did lovely. The second dye on the eggs didn't do well at all, I wonder if the turmeric (which is slightly oily) kept the rest from being able to dye. The beet red just rinsed right off.



The ones I painted amused me much more. Some were done with glue and bits of flower catalogs, or violets and clover from the yard. The painted ones are gaudy, more my style. The weird swoopy ones were from a few years ago, they never go finished because they were coming out so bad. This is the rescue of them, a lot got overpainted.


These are all posed nicely for a class picture!  :D





I think they look great. But I wonder why the beet did not work, I have always had good success with them.  You might be right about the turmeric. Not sure if I have tried to put eggs into a turmeric dye and then something else.  I am out of Turmeric or I would go experiment lol.   And all I have are brown eggs right now. They still dye but it is sometimes hard to tell how much of the color worked.    
 
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I bought some black rice at the asian market. I was actually hoping that it might be viable as seed, since (presumably) the bran hasn't been removed like white rice. I planted in the same patch as my other grains, so the jury is still out. When I looked it up to see if this might work, I didn't find out, but I did find out that the "black" is actually a very intense purple caused by anthocyanin. So I wasn't too freaked out when I cooked a serving with a serving of parboiled white rice and the water turned the color of grape coolaid. Or when I found the parboiled rice almost the same color as the black rice. I was a little surprised that it stained my stirring spoon. So I thought of this thread. Last night when I cooked some more, I included an egg. It colored alright. It's not the purple I expected, but if you look close, it resembles the moon. I think it's pretty cool. I took a picture of the rice in the package, some of it cooked, some of the cooking water and the egg.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Here's another blogger who documented doing veg dyed eggs and the one difference I noted is that she recommends pre-soaking the eggs in vinegar/salt water first. I wonder how much that might help!

https://www.thewondersmith.com/blog/2018/3/4/botanical-eggs-and-a-spring-equinox-ritual-for-new-growth?rq=eggs



I'm going to make some for the Vernal Equinox this month! Anybody else doing veg dyed eggs for Spring or Easter?

 
Nicole Alderman
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We ordered this Easter Egg Kit that comes with various natural dyes (at a really good price...I may or may not have gotten more than one kit to experiment with dying other things, too).

natural easter egg dyes
 
Nicole Alderman
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The Easter Egg kit(s) I ordered arrived today! I was rather wondering how the indigo would work out, since it's like woad and needs ammonia fermentation to work magic. But, the instructions say you can just kind of wipe the indigo powder onto the wet eggs, and it'll stain the egg blue. Not sure how that'll work out, but it's worth a try! (I'm totally not keen on dying my eggs in indigo that's fermented in old pee. NOPE!)
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Here's another blogger who documented doing veg dyed eggs and the one difference I noted is that she recommends pre-soaking the eggs in vinegar/salt water first. I wonder how much that might help!

https://www.thewondersmith.com/blog/2018/3/4/botanical-eggs-and-a-spring-equinox-ritual-for-new-growth?rq=eggs


I think the soak in vinegar and salt water first helped! I followed the Wondersmith's method and then let them soak overnight, unwrapping this morning.

At least it worked for the red cabbage (4 top right) and yellow onion skin dyed eggs (4 top left). The turmeric was woefully pale IMHO after soaking overnight, even for a pastel tone. Though three of those four across the bottom were brown to begin with, which is a challenge for a yellow.

veg-dyed-eggs-2021.jpg
vegetable dyed Easter eggs
vegetable dyed Easter eggs
 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Judith did you ever figure out how to do this? I used to use vegetable dyes with my kids at Easter. And, lo, Erica Strauss posted about it here: http://www.nwedible.com/sunprint-naturally-dye-easter-eggs/.



Beautiful; I have seen the how to's online where people use silk ties for dyeing eggs; my question is this: are the dyes used on silk plant based or not? I would LIKE to experiment with silk ties and eggs thing; but we would also be eating those boiled eggs, so I want to know if its even safe to do this; anyone know?

 
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For those who don't know or realize it.... Many times the brown eggs will actually give you a richer color than the white shelled eggs. If you have access to brown eggs give it a try sometime. You may find you like the results much better.
 
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Kim Huse wrote:
I have seen the how to's online where people use silk ties for dyeing eggs; my question is this: are the dyes used on silk plant based or not? I would LIKE to experiment with silk ties and eggs thing; but we would also be eating those boiled eggs, so I want to know if its even safe to do this; anyone know?



Hi Kim
That sounds so interesting...and I wouldn't use on anything edible as the dyes are likely commercial ones that would likely leach toxins.  
I wonder what the method is to get the dyes to release from the tie?
 
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