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Homemade Plant-Based Easter Eggs Dyes

Besides viewing the cherry blossoms, one of my favorite springtime rituals is the dying of the eggs. The egg has been a symbol of new life, fertility, and rebirth in cultures around the world since ancient times, and has long played a part in their springtime rituals. Traditionally, Easter eggs were decorated by boiling them with plant dyes found around the kitchen. Over the years, I have tried different plant materials to varying effects. Here's what I used this year:

1 cup chopped red cabbage (blue)

2 teaspoons blue butterfly pea flower powder (blue)

1 tablespoon turmeric (orange-yellow)

4 tea bags, 2 green tea and 2 chamomile (yellow)

1 tablespoon hibiscus flower powder (deep purple)

For each color, bring to a boil in a small saucepan, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain into a class jar that is wide enough to hold one egg and deep enough that the dye will completely cover the egg. Pint-sized Mason jars are perfect for this task. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to help seal the color (the exception is the blue butterfly pea flower powder, which will change color if you add acid).

Place one egg at a time in the dye bath and allow to sit for at least 4 hours, overnight if you want a deeper color. Check the color periodically by lifting the egg out of the jar with a clean slotted spoon. When you are happy with the hues, remove the egg to a carton to allow it to dry. Once dry, you can give it a bath in another color (for example, blue+yellow=a pretty teal). Or, if you are happy with the color, polish your dried eggs with a light coating of vegetable oil (I used olive), for a beautiful sheen. The dyed eggs can also be used to make Italian Easter bread

Note: I didn’t have these on hand, but I read that you can make lavender by using 4 bags of Red Zinger tea or 2 cups of blueberries. And I tried, but failed, to make pink eggs by using a cup of grated beats (mine came out greenish brown).


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