In my quest to be an eco fabuous, glam green goddess of motherhood, I attempted to make natural dyes last night for our Easter eggs. I had read an article in The Green Guide about making natural dyes, and also had an article pulled out of last year’s Country Home about natural dyes for Easter eggs. So, I decided to make hard boiled eggs and natural dyes. With my darling children.
It started off with the typical questions from my 5 year old, “Mom, why does an Easter bunny leave eggs? Why isn’t it an Easter chick?” Trying to skip over answering that one, and my husband mumbling something about Bunnies being better than Chicks, I asked my son to pull out the eggs. Not the best thing for a 5 year old to do. “Mom, think I can catch this?” Splat in the hand, with dripping yolk. No, not without crushing it. One egg down.
We put the eggs on to boil. Another egg-catastrophe as it rolled onto the floor. We started with the dyes. My daughter wanted pink. Okay, 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar to set the color. That was easy. ‘Til my daughter stuck her hands in it to see how pink it was. And wiped her hands off on her dress. She also wanted purple. Okay, 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Easy. My son wanted yellow. Okay. Orange peel from one orange, boil in 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons vinegar for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how dark you want the color, cool, strain. We also did red with red onion skins and green with spinach.
It was fun with my kids pulling out stuff to boil and asking what color it would be. Impromptu science lesson. Various pots boiled merrily away, and strange odors wafted. Kind of a mad scientist, eco fabulous kitchen going. Got everything cooled, started dipping the eggs in. You really have to let them sit in the dye for at least 15 minutes to get much color – it would probably be best to leave overnight in the refrigerator if you wanted dark color. The problem with the waiting, as opposed to the drop in conventional pellets, is that your kids get bored. Or have to take bathroom breaks. And you really shouldn’t leave children alone with dye. Natural or not. Do you think the daycare will notice my son has slightly green cheeks this morning, or that my daughter has pink and purple hair?