Growing up in the 80s-90s I never saw anything different than chemical egg dyes. Since the process however, is one of the oldest traditions (and not just for Easter), there is of course the option to go about it naturally, economically and to my surprise, quite easily. My best friend and almost partner, Google, was extremely useful in helping me gather information. The process is as follows:
– Beetroot (one bowl)
– Red Cabbage (one bowl)
– Onion skins (one bowl)
– Tumeric (3 tablespoons)
– Coffee (I used espresso with water, better to use filter strong filter coffee- one bowl)
– Wine vinegar
Notes: the above can be used for a lot of eggs for each dye. Use a small pot (quart) to boil them and put as much water as it needs, usually half a pot. I used two eggs for each dye, so total 10 eggs.
– Dark red: onion skins (boiled method for 30 minutes)
– Pink: beetroot (cold method for 30 minutes)
– Light blue: red cabbage (cold method for 30 minutes)
– Dark blue: red cabbage (cold method overnight)
– Brown: coffee (boiled method for 30 minutes)
– Yellow: tumeric (boiled method for 30 minutes)
– Light Green: tumeric dye for 30 minutes (cold method) + red cabbage dye for 5 minutes
There are two methods, one for dark colours and one for light colors.
Method 1: the boiled method- boil the eggs with the dye
Boil the ingredients for the dye with two tablespoons of vinegar for 30 minutes. Strain the dye and keep the liquid. Add the raw eggs and the dye in the same pot and boil for another 30 minutes. Remove the eggs and keep the dye for the cold methods. The deep red (onion skins), yellow (tumeric) and brown (coffee) are done using this method.
Notes: needless to say that each dye is boiled separately. It stains so do not use wooden utensils or spoons, otherwise for the pots and cutlery it is easy to remove with standard detergent.
Method 2: the cold method
This is used for lighter colors like pink, light blue and light yellow (even though the light yellow was kind of pointless as the color of the egg is similar…good if you have white eggs).
After you boil the ingredients as above and strain the liquid, let it cool for a while down to room temperature.
Boil the eggs for 20 minutes by themselves and let them cool.
Add the eggs into the cooled down dye and leave them for 30-45 minutes, except for dark blue where you have to leave it in the room temperature dye overnight.
Notes: It is quite easy if you use a mug rather than a bowl for the cooled dye (as in the picture). If the eggs are not completely soaked in the dye they will have an uneven color. The light and dark blue ones (red cabbage), light green (tumeric +red cabbage) and pink that I didn’t really get (beetroot) are done using the cold method.
The best ones were the deep red with the onion skins (boiled), the light and dark blue with red cabbage and the yellow with tumeric, even though I only got dark yellow.
The brown eggs in all fairness came out to be a bit ugly with a “dirty” look, and the beetroot ones were dark orange rather than pink so I kind of missed the point! All in all, very easy and very economical… except from the fact that, as I will be away for Easter weekend, I now have 10 boiled eggs which I won’t need!