Dabbling in Naturally Dyed Eggs

I've spied many gorgeous shots of naturally dyed Easter eggs over the past few years, and today I decided to give a go. Unfortunately, I didn't exactly plan for the project, so I had to work with the ingredients I had on hand.

Using this Martha Steward article as a jumping off point, I read through the instructions and raided my fridge and pantry. I came up with a plump red radish, a large red onion, several yellow onions, and a jar of turmeric. In an ideal world I would have had red cabbage too, but alas, no dice.

Important to note: I also lacked white eggs. I had farm fresh eggs, which meant most were varying levels of brown. I picked the lightest four and marched on.

I wanted to try both the cold dip and hot boil methods, so I hard-boiled two eggs and kept two fresh.

Here are the steps I followed:

Combine 4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Split in to two small pots.

To one pot, I added the peels of a red and yellow onion (the first few layers) as well as a chopped radish. This was my red/purple pot.

To the other pot, I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. This was my yellow/gold pot.

Bring each to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, so that liquid is now saturated with color.

Add one fresh egg to each pot, and continue to cook for 30 minutes, rotating eggs every 5 minutes or so if they are not covered by liquid (mine were not).

Turn off heat, remove eggs to two separate mugs and strain liquid over each. For some reason, I had much more yellow dye than purple, so I was only able to add a hard boiled egg to the yellow mug. Let sit for an additional hour.

Remove eggs, gently wipe with a towel, and let dry. Voila! Mine were far from perfect- particularly the hot boil ones, but that made them kind of interesting too. The speckling reminded me to the bird eggs you find in a nest.

Next year, I am going to plan ahead, start with whiter eggs, experiment with some different colors (red cabbage is suppose to turn them blue) and maybe stick with the cold dip method for more even coverage. I'd probably start with more liquid too- do a double batch, instead of being so stingy.

Overall, a fun project, if you aren't too attached to perfect results. I think it would be really interesting to do with school age kids who could hypothesize about about the colors (some are surprising) and experiment on their own.