Monday, April 17, 2017

That Natural Beauty

For a while now I have been thinking of trying out dying my Easter eggs with natural dyes, but for the last couple of years I have been too lazy or too pressed for time to do it. I had heard that the process is more time consuming and strenuous, so I was a little hesitant, but then again, I knew it would be a nice change to use something that nature has given us instead of those artificial store-bought powder colorants. Get back to basics, so to speak.

So this year was the year! I bought some purple cabbage, turmeric and onion peels (I had to buy the onions or scout supermarkets that had more peels left over in the onion bins - now that was not weird at all :) let me tell you), and I set out to make my eggs. I did a lot of research online, and I discovered that there are many methods to choose from, but in the end I made the purple cabbage and onion peel colorant in advance, boiling the ingredients for about 40 minutes, and then storing them in the fridge. Then on the next day I boiled some of the eggs in the colorant water, then left them to cool while still in there.

The color from the onion peels was rich, but not as red as I had seen on some websites. Mine was more of a rusty red-orange, which was still rich and deep, but not the Easter red that I was imagining. For the Easter red, I used a bit of store-bought colorant on a few eggs. The blue from the purple cabbage, however, was a thing of true beauty. Such a wonderful, gentle watercolor-y shade, the blue eggs are definitely my favorite. The Rusted Ladle has a great blog post about blue eggs and ways to make a marbled or speckled egg for the Easter table, and that was a huge inspiration. I left a couple of the eggs to soak in the colorant overnight in the hopes of getting a deep blue color, like some websites suggested, but the color didn't deepen as much as they were showing. Basically, when you use natural dyes, the results are not always predictable, but they are fun and the colors are light and airy, painterly and wonderful.

As for the yellow, I made the turmeric solution while boiling some of the eggs and then added the eggs to the colorant later. If you use white eggs, you will get a gorgeous yellow color like buttery spring sunlight. Very, very nice. For green, you can soak the eggs in the yellow solution and then in the blue one or vice versa. The greens are also surprisingly nature-like, fresh like springtime.

All in all, I would say that the experiment was a success. I would still like to research more ways to make a more vibrant red, but the other colors were lovely, and my egg plate looked like a watercolor Easter rainbow.

More resources:

And for an extra tasty finish - my homemade Easter bread (this year it turned out extra delicious) and my solution to store-bought Easter bread leftovers - Easter croque monsieur (pan baked Easter bread, glued together with melted chocolate and garnished with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar). Enjoy the photos because the real thing disappeared very quickly :)

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