It’s Eastertime and that means children are looking forward to dying Easter eggs. While it’s easy to hop on over to your local store to pick up a package of artificial dyes, it’s even more fun to make your own out of natural ingredients. You might even spark an interest in a new vegetable your kids will like to eat!
Part of the fun of using fruits, vegetables, spices or coffee to dye eggs is trying to guess what color the eggs will turn out.
To make the dye
Add 4 cups of chopped or mashed fruits and veggies, or 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds, tea or spices, and boil them in 4 cups of water (use less if you chose 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 isn’t intense enough by morning, transfer the dye and eggs to a small saucepan and gently simmer for up to 30 minutes. Note that coloring eggs naturally will take a bit longer than if using a manufactured dye, especially if you want to obtain a deeper, richer color on the eggshell.
What to use as dye
Kale or spinach
Fresh mint or parsley
Coffee ground or tea leaves
The eggs in the photograph above were dyed using red cabbage, which resulted in purple; fresh beets for light blue; kale for light green; and coffee and chili powder for brown.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to experimentation. Try grape juice or boil the peels from green apples. Raspberries and blackberries will give your eggs a pinkish-purple color.
Using these natural dyes will give you a chance to introduce your children to produce they may have never tried before. Purple cabbage, for example, has the same flavor as green cabbage. Cabbage is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, folate and manganese. Shred some up to use in a salad or on a taco, and introduce it to your children that way.
Beets make beautiful dye but may be a tougher one for kids to swallow. They are naturally sweet, packed with iron and have many health benefits. Consider mixing them up into a heart-healthy smoothie.
Kale is king, whether it’s tossed in a salad, whipped up in a smoothie or cooked up as a side dish. It’s packed with vitamins A, C and K, and is a good source of folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development.
With an abundance of fruit and vegetables in the market during this time of year, it’s the perfect time to pick some vibrantly colored produce you haven’t tried before. The Easter Bunny doesn’t have to be the only one who likes his veggies!