Of course, when I was young we used lots of bright, bold food colourings from bottles. But with my own kids I use natural dyes. Sure it takes longer, but it’s great fun to show the kids how to make different coloured dyes from foods and personally, I think the muted, more natural tones are so much nicer.
Here’s a list of the natural dyes I’ve used over the last couple of years – this list is not comprehensive by any means, there are SO many other things you can use. A quick online search will give you lots of different options. Or you could just go all mad-scientist like and experiment.
Canned or frozen blueberries; red cabbage leaves (boiled)
Spinach leaves (boiled)
Grated turmeric (boiled)
1. Wash your hard boiled eggs and allow them to cool completely. Set aside.
2. To make your dye, add your chosen food (e.g. blueberries) to a small saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. The vinegar helps the eggshell to absorb the colour. I also read a while ago on Martha Stewart’s site that if you wipe the egg down with vinegar prior to dyeing it helps – I haven’t tried that myself, but it’s Martha – so it MUST be right!
3. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Once this time is up have a look at the colour of the water – you may need to add more of your chosen food to increase the colour intensity. Just play around a little to get your desired colour.
4. Once you think you have the colour right, strain the liquid into a jar (big enough to put your eggs in) and allow to cool. Add another tablespoon of vinegar and then you can pop your eggs into the liquid. Put the lid on your jar and put it in the fridge to soak overnight. The longer you leave the eggs in the liquid, the darker the colour will be.
Note: If you intend on eating them, treat them like any other boiled egg and keep them refrigerated until ready to eat.