Naturally Dyed Eggs for the Spring Equinox

Our lovely, naturally dyed eggs. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

For years, it has been my ambition to naturally dye eggs for the Spring Equinox.  Last year, I attempted to use some green tea (which I’ve successfully used to dye fabric), but the eggs were not a good color for dying.  I make a point to buy eggs that are either organic or local.  Since the Spring Equinox in the North Country is hardly the start of spring other regions experience, there aren’t a lot of local folks selling eggs.  It’s not farmer’s market season.  And of course, most people I know have chickens who lay brown eggs.  All of the organic eggs available at the stores are also brown.  Brown is a lovely color!  I also know folks whose chickens lay gorgeous blues and greens!  But the point is, I wanted to try my hand at dying eggs without red dye number 40.

This year I asked one of my favorite local farmers if they had any white eggs and they did!  They set the whites aside just for me.  We hard boiled and dyed a dozen of them using things we had in our cupboards: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, and yellow onion skins.  My hypothesis was that the onion skins would be the least vibrant, but that was actually the opposite! Left to soak the eggs overnight, they produced a vibrant orange.  The strawberries created a very soft pinkish tan and the blueberries made a cozy sort of indigo.

The eggs developed an odd but interesting texture in the form of little bubbles.  These could be brushed away to reveal a lighter coating underneath.  This was either the result of me forgetting to thoroughly wash the boiled eggs before submersing them in the dye, or because I added an extra bit of vinegar to the dye after boiling.

Next year, I would like to be better prepared and try some different colors.  I need to plan my meals just right so that we have beets and red cabbage around.  I would have tried turmeric but we need to get some more.  We’ll do more experimentation next year!  Hopefully Bee will be old enough to enjoy it some! I imagine trying different foods and guessing the  eventual colors would be very fun for a wee one.  Part science, part art, and all magic!

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