Culinary Dyes: Decorating Eggs With Nature

cookingontheweekends

Culinary Dyes-Decorating Eggs

It can be quite fun to use natural ingredients to decorate Easter eggs!  There are a number of these ingredients that can be used to create various food dye colors.

For all of the dyes, add the hard boiled eggs when both the egg and the dye are at room temperature or at least cool.  Then submerge the egg until it becomes the desired color.  The longer the egg is in the liquid, the darker it will become.

Here are some ingredients that can be used:

Annatto seeds (for a reddish, golden color)
When Annatto seeds simmer in water for a couple minutes, the water turns a deep, earthy red color.  You can actually hard boil the egg in this liquid — or add the egg afterwards.

Beets (for a light or dark pink color)
Cook 2 medium-sized beets in enough boiling water to go a few inches above them. Cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes.  Test a beet by poking it with a fork — if the fork comes out easily, the beets are done.  Remove the beets (and eat them later!)  The remaining water in the pot will be a deep red color.  

Blueberries (for a soft blue color)
In a medium-sized saucepan, gently crush about 1/3 cup of blueberries.  Add about 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is as dark as you'd like.

Turmeric (for a lovely, deep, golden color)
Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to about 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is as dark as you'd like.  

Onion skins (for a variety of colors depending on the type of onion used)
For this one, you'll actually hard boil the egg as you dye it. Wrap an egg in red or dark brown onion skin and secure it with rubber bands. Then wrap the onion-skin-covered egg with cheesecloth and another rubber band. Add the eggs to cold water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 14 minutes.   Let the eggs cool in the water and then remove them with a slotted spoon.  Once they are completely cooled, carefully unwrap them.  Colors produced from onion skins will vary from browns to reds to yellows — and will often appear in a tie-dye pattern.
 

An additional note:

Click here to see my method for Hard Boiled Eggs.

Click here for a quick how-to video on culinary dyes.