It’s quite likely your Easter traditions will not look the same this year. If you are like us, you’re really narrowing down trips to the grocery store and the regular items you purchase may be running sparse. BUT you don’t have to cancel dying Easter eggs due to this. Your kitchen is full of natural dyes! You can use common food items to create beautifully colored eggs. This can be a really exciting way to let kids experiment and play with color, and it’s a wonderful activity to get the kids away from the TV for a moment.

Natural Dyes

I used items we have in our home. But you can definitely get creative and come up with colors using items that are not on this list. Worse case scenario: You try something and it doesn’t yield the color you want, but you still have a deliciously boiled egg to munch on.

Yellow: 3 Tablespoons Turmeric

Blue: 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

Pink: 2 Cups Chopped Beets

Orange: 2 Tablespoons Paprika

Rich Brown: 4 Cups Strong Black Coffee (No added water for this one!)

Additional food items you can use: red cabbage and onion skin (orange or red)

The Method

  1. To create the above colors, mix the dye ingredient with 1 Quart Water, 2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar, and eggs in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Allow the ingredients to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain dye into a bowl.
  3. Remove eggs, pat dry with paper towels, and let dry on a rack.

Note: To get the deepest colors, I recommend boiling the eggs WITH the dye ingredients as opposed to soaking a pre-boiled egg in the dye. If you are going to soak the eggs, I recommend letting them sit in the dye overnight in the refrigerator.

The Benefit

Besides having a positive activity for the kids and a nice taste of “normalcy” for Easter traditions, this also has potential health benefits for your family. How so? Typical egg coloring kits contain artificial colors and chemicals. How much these impact our bodies and children is still a debate in the scientific world, but I will share with you some of the research:

  1. “Certain food additives may exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity and overactivity) in some groups of children.” 2010 report from Food and Drug Commissions Food Advisory Committee.
  2. Artificial colors and sodium benzoate, a preservative used in some egg kits, resulted in elevated hyperactivity in children. Study done by Scientists from the University of Southampton.
  3. A consumer advocacy organization focused on food safety claims, an estimated half-million U.S. children show adverse behavioral reactions after consuming food dyes in their Center for Science in the Public Interest research.
  4. They also have a report that shows an association between artificial colors and hypersensitivity reactions, including urticaria, sneezing, sweating and a variety of other symptoms.
  5. “Questions have been raised about the safety of one class of synthetic colors, called FD&C (Food, Drug & Cosmetics) colors, and contaminants in other artificial colorings as well.” Environmental Working Group. Check this link out for information on many more studies. 

In summary, the research isn’t 100% conclusive, but seems worth it (in my opinion) to give the natural dye a try if you plan to eat the eggs.

The Video

To see a video on how to make your natural Easter egg dye at home, check this out. BONUS: This video includes special guest appearances from Arlen Giosi and Lizzie Rowan!