I was doing my weekly shopping on Sunday, and I wandered down the ‘seasonal’ aisle at the drug store. (I admit it, I’m a sucker for marshmallow Peeps. The pink ones. It’s a sickness.) I emerged fifteen minutes later, dazed by what I had seen – a solid ten feet of that aisle was devoted to (crazy expensive) Easter egg dye kits. Sparkly ones, swirly ones, ‘neon’ ones, stickers, shrink-wrapped plastic banners for individual eggs, egg stands…I had no idea dyeing eggs was such a complicated process!
It isn’t, actually. We dyed our eggs today, had a blast, and colored them the same way we did when my brothers and I were kids – food coloring, vinegar, and hot water.
The Basic Recipe: (it’s written on the back of the food coloring box, I’m not breaking any new ground here)
- 10-15 drops food coloring
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 cup boiling water
We assembled each color in a coffee mug and gave the water a few minutes to cool enough to be kid-safe. While we waited, the Husband made a few egg dippers out of wire. Scooter scribbled on a few eggs with crayons for wax-resist designs.
I let ours dry in the egg carton, but you could also make a few cardboard rings to dry your eggs in. Want shiny eggs? Rub them with a little vegetable oil after you color them.
I’m not a huge fan of food coloring in actual food – I keep it around for homemade play dough, and for the occasional colored cake frosting. On a whim, I grabbed some blueberries and cherries that had been forgotten in the back of the freezer, mashed them up, and added vinegar and hot water to each. The results were subtle, but encouraging. Of course, pre-schoolers are not known for their love of subtlety – I finished taking this picture and my darling looked at me and said, “When you’re done with pictures, can I take the boring one and make it green?”
And she did. Most of our eggs ended up green or orange, thanks to Scooter’s love of re-dipping eggs. I think they all turned out great, and Scooter agrees. I’d love to take another crack at natural dyes (haha, egg pun!). I think I could get more intense colors if I cooked the berries down to a paste first, and maybe pomegranite juice would give a better color than cherries. Beets would be interesting too, and maybe steamed, pureed basil for green? I see a post-Easter egg dyeing session in my future. You know, for research. And for deviled eggs, of course.
If you’ve made natural egg dyes, let us know! Post some recipes, and I may have to grab another dozen eggs this week…