How to Naturally Dye Eggs

april 2, 2023
Naturally Dye Eggs

On these sweet spring days, as the daffodils and bumblebees return to the garden, I prepare a favorite spring tradition: to naturally dye eggs. Whether in celebration of the spring equinox or Easter, this craft will be a fun way to recognize the season.

I have fond memories of dyeing eggs as a child – usually with the store-bought kits. The pure joy of alchemy – mixing coloring, water and vinegar to create a brand new egg – is something I carry with me into adulthood. Only now, I find greater joy in working with natural ingredients to invite in colors that only nature could inspire.

Admittedly, this process to naturally dye eggs takes a bit longer than using a store-bought kit. But the preparation of the dyes brings forth an opportunity to slow down and connect with the ritual itself. Taking the time to chop the beets and boil the onion skins and strain the purple cabbage, you feel more in partnership with the magic you are creating. And it gives you time to contemplate on these annual traditions and their meaning. During my prep work, I found myself wondering about the symbolism of eggs and why they are connected to spring and Easter.

Symbolism of the Egg

From Vedic, to Greek, to Egyptian, to Chinese, to Dogon mythology – even the Big Bang Theory – the egg plays an integral role in the creation of the world. Often referred to as the “cosmic egg”, the universe is hatched or born into existence from this container.

And often, the yolk and the egg-white represent the dualism in our world: heaven and earth, yin and yang, sun and moon. It seems the moon symbolism has maintained significance, as Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon post-spring equinox.

With nature engaging in its own cyclical duality of life and death throughout the seasons, it only makes sense that spring claims this symbol of birth and creation. And so, while working with your eggs, make sure to add an extra ingredient, and set intentions for what you want to hatch into existence this year. And if you are looking for more ways to celebrate spring, especially around the spring equinox, you can check out this blog post.

Different Types of Natural Dyes

The process to naturally dye eggs can be easily done with ingredients already in your kitchen – or in your garden! Though you may want to take a trip to the grocery store if you have your heart set on certain colors. This season, I am using beets for a deep earthy red, purple cabbage for a teal blue/green, yellow onion skins* for a rust orange, blueberries for a navy blue, and turmeric for a golden yellow. 

Though you can get creative and try out a lot of different natural dyes, including avocado pits, coffee, spinach, tea, chili powder, red wine, grape juice, and red onion skins. And you can further alter these colors by mixing them together, or using brown eggs vs. white eggs, and or altering their soak times. This really is a fun experiment to naturally dye eggs, so follow your intuition!

Once you have enjoyed these beautiful eggs in celebration of spring, don’t be afraid to eat them! It may be a bit off putting to think of cabbage flavored eggs, but I promise you, they taste just like normal eggs. If you need some inspiration, one of my favorite post-Easter meals is deviled eggs made with my secret ingredient – dandelion capers! Stay tuned for that recipe.

*Note: Gathering enough onion skins can take time. I keep a bag under my sink where I store onion skins throughout the year as I cook with them. If you don’t already have a collection, you can ask a grocery store if they will allow you to collect the loose skins.

How to Naturally Dye Eggs

Print Recipe
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:3 hours
Steeping time:1 day
Total Time:1 day 3 hours 15 minutes

Equipment

  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Glass jars

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs brown or white
  • 1 cup purple cabbage chopped
  • 1 cup beets chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion skins
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • White vinegar

Instructions

  • Hard boil your eggs by steaming them for 15 minutes. Then let rest in an ice bath.
  • Roughly chop the purple cabbage and the beets. Measure out one cup of each veggie/fruit. Measure 1 tbsp of turmeric.
  • Bring one cup of water one cup of the dye source to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the dye into a jar and add 1 tbsp of vinegar for every cup of dye. Let cool while you repeat the process for the rest of the dyes.
  • Once all dyes are cooled, add the hard boiled eggs into each jar. Cover and store in the fridge. The longer you let the eggs steep, the more intense the color. I tend to wait at least 24 hours.
  • Once your eggs are done steeping, you can enjoy! If you want to add a little shine, you can rub some oil onto the shell.
Keyword: naturally dye eggs
Author: Katie McGinn

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