Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Natural Easter Egg Dye Experiment

For the past few weeks, my kids have been following the Feingold Diet (or, as I call it, the FGD). It's basically an elimination diet that totally eliminates artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and some other stuff (including all berries). My friend, Missy, had great success with it. I'm not sure if I am seeing the results I hoped to see, but we have been eating a lot less packaged, preservative-packed stuff than we had been.

Also, I love my bread machine. But that is a separate post.

Anyway, the whole "no dyes" thing created a small problem when it came to Easter Eggs. I love to color and decorate Easter eggs, but how would we do it this year, since the dye kits are "off limits"? Then I happened across this post, and was struck! With genius or something. But nothing dangerous like lightening.

We followed her basic method (minus the mineral oil), using ingredients that are acceptable on the FGD.

Cooking our eggs

Eggs cooling before being put in the fridge.
The girls each chose "dyes" and made the labels.

Now, I treated this as an experiment for the kids, so we ended up using various dye agents that just didn't work. Among them are lemon and lime peels. But, we did get some good colors out of other dye agents. I know if we would have left them in the fridge longer, the colors probably would have been more intense. 

Eggs after "dyeing" for 16 hours

What worked for us:

Red Cabbage (upper left)- came out blueish grey. Color intensified after 24 hours out of the dye.
Canned Beets (lower left)- couldn't find fresh beets, so used canned beets and beet juice! These looked brown after 24 hours out of the dye.
Tumeric (the yellow ones)- fun color! I wonder if curry powder would work?
Eggplant Skins (top, next to tumeric)- maybe my favorite! a tealy-blue-grey.
Red Onion Skins (bottom right)- kind of a brownish-red- you can see the colors varied.
Pomegranate Juice (to the left of the red onion skins)- this was a fun color! I would love to see what a fresh pomegranate would do!

What didn't work for us:

Carrots (top right)- ehhh. Not much color to them.
Cinnamon (bottom, between the pomegranate and beets)- these came out "slimey" and the cinnamon wiped off. I wonder if a cinnamon stick would work better?
Lemon peel, lime peel, dill weed (not pictured)- no color

We plan to make these again, but will use a different method. First I will bring the eggs to a boil in a large pot, then cover and remove from the heat. Separately, I will "cook" the dyeing agents and put it into jars with vinegar. Then I'll add the eggs. I think this will be easier than trying to cook the eggs in the dyeing agent.

That said, we already have some things set aside to try on Friday or Saturday:

Fresh Beets
Sweet Potatoes
Red Cabbage (will try letting it sit longer)
Hibiscus Flowers
Avacado Peel
Curry Powder
Ground Annatto
Cardamon Pods

Looks like there is more egg salad in our future:)

Anyway, do you have any ideas? What would you try to use for natural egg dyes?


Eryka said...

1) I love my bread machine too.

2) Dying agents...From your list, I bet hibiscus will work well! It's my understanding (via my mother) that curry powder has tumeric in it, which will give you very similar results to the tumeric dye. Curry powder is not the same from brand to brand--rather a blend of spices that the manufacturer thought appropriate.

can you use purple grapes? Or wine?
How about spinach or kale for green?
blend your best pink (maybe beets) with tumeric to get orange?

What a fun idea! I love it!

the rabbi's wife said...

I don't know if it's allowed, but if you boil rosemary stems and leaves hard for a good long time it turns Barney purple and makes lovely eggs. it does require a fair amount of rosemary...

Anabel said...

I found your pictures on a google image search -- I really appreciate that your kids labeled what was used to dye the eggs.

One thing I've read about tonight is that the beets come out with more of a pink color if you add vinegar. Just thought you might be interested.

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