You would think that I had been grocery shopping for dinner. Carrots, artichokes, beets, red cabbage and onions were piled high on my counter.
Their vibrant beautiful colors would have made for a dietary delight but instead they served as the dye for our Easter eggs this year. Working with vegetable dyes was new to me but I found this project was very easy.
With only an hour in the kitchen, we produced some beautiful dyed eggs. So simple, it reminded me to take advantage of this dyeing technique next time I see a great color in the pot from boiled veggies. But for now, the Vegetable Stained Easter Egg project.
- Cooking pot, 1 for each color
- Plant materials 1-2 cups chopped, trimmed or peeled for each color
- White vinegar
- Large separate bowl
- Raw eggs
- Plate with towels to rest dyed eggs
Basic dye bath principles:
A dye bath is a pot of liquid, mainly water, that contains a mixture of coloring materials (plants in our case) mixed with a fixative.
Use Salt Fixative for dyeing berries~ portions are 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups of cold water. Use Vinegar Fixative for dyeing plants~ portions are 4 cups cold water to 1 cup white vinegar.
Without these fixatives, there is less color intensity and staining effect on the end product.
We used vegetables for dyeing but, the list below includes plants and flowers. We've divided up the plants below by their dyeing color. Of course, play with species variations to see what other colors you can develop. A blend of beets would make a wonderfully intense dye bath!
- Orange: Yellow Onions (dry skins), Carrots (orange roots), Butternut Squash (interior pulp)
- Pink: roses (flower), lavender (flower)
- Blue/purple: violets (flower), cabbage (leaves), beets (roots)
- Green shades: Artemisia (flower), artichokes (fruit), spinach (leaves), black-eyed susan (flower), broom corn (stem), red onion (dry skin), coneflower (flower), snapdragon (flower)
- Yellow: sunflower (flower), yellow onion (dry skin), marigolds (flower), yellow coneflower (flower), goldenrod (flower)
- Brown: broom (bark), hollyhock (petals)
- Red: rose (hips)
- Start by selecting what colors you want to achieve by reviewing the list above. Gather the necessary plant materials and whatever needed for each individual color. Use your judgement on quantities.
- Place all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to boil until you are happy with the intensity of the color.
- Strain the contents of the bath into a separate bowl to remove the solids.
- Return liquid to pot and bring to a boil.
- Boil eggs in color bath until fully cooked.
- Remove eggs with a ladle and place onto a towel-lined plate.