To be honest, we almost skipped dying easter eggs this year. I mean, we'd don't really buy into the whole chocolate bunny thing around here and my oldest isn't really aware of what Easter means so I figured, "Whew! Less work for me! We'll wait till next year...done!". Then I came across this article on using homemade dyes in Mother Earth News and my plan was foiled. Le sigh. The results that we got were so fantastic that I had to, of course, document the process and lay it all out here for you to enjoy. (Plus I've noticed that I REALLY like writing my blogs out in individual steps so without further ado...)
STEP 1: Hard boil your eggs. Put them in a pot and cover them with water 1" above their shells. Bring the water to a hard boil, turn off the heat, cover, and wait for 15 minutes. Take your now perfectly cooked eggs and place them into an icewater bath.
STEP 2: Prepare your dye ingredients. In our case that meant grating 2 cups worth of beets in the food processor, digging out 3T of my ground turmeric, and opening a 1lb bag of frozen blueberries.
Here's the specific recipes we used:
Red/Magenta Dye: 2 cups of shredded beets, 2 cups water, 1T white vinegar
Blue Dye: 1lb frozen blueberries, 2 cups of water, 1T white vinegar
Yellow Dye: 3T ground turmeric, 3 cups water, 1T white vinegar
STEP 3: Take each individual recipe and bring to a boil in your pots. Boil gently (more like a hard simmer) for 15 minutes. Interesting factoid: The smell of boiling turmeric is almost exactly like that of a burning smudge stick made out of sage. Didn't see that coming.
STEP 4: Allow to cool and strain. You can use a fine mesh sieve for the chunky stuff like blueberries and beets but will have to use cheesecloth for your turmeric. And even then, the turmeric will have a lot of sediment in the bottom...alas...just shake it up real good.
STEP 5: Pour your dyes into small bowls (I used 1/2 pint canning jars which worked perfectly) and place your eggs inside. Set the timer for 20 min and WALK AWAY. I know it's hard to wait...especially when we've been trained into expecting instant satisfaction with those chemical tablet dye kits we've all been using till now...I understand...really...go get a coffee or something.
STEP 6: With a large soup spoon, take your eggs out, admire your work, and let dry.
OPTIONAL STEP 7: Get crazy with your decorating! Make secondary colors by mixing your primaries together in all sorts of different ways. Don't expect your dye to look the color you want...when we mixed our yellow and blue together what we got in the jar was sort of a burnt orange color and I feared the worst. What came out was the most beautiful green!!! Use a white crayon (the softer the better) to make wax resist patterns all over your eggs, wrap rubber bands around them, dip them 1/2 and 1/2 into 2 colors, etc.
I'm so impressed with the brilliance in color that we got from our naturally made dyes, there's no need for us to ever use those horrible little chemical tablets again.