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KnowHow: How to Dye Eggs Naturally

EGG DYEING IS A TRADITION that has been passed down through the ages from all corners of the world. The tradition continues today with one major difference: the widespread use of synthetic rather than natural dyes. But synthetic dyes may be harmful to health and the environment, making eggshells unsuitable for composting (to name one disadvantage). As horticulture professor Irwin Goldman points out, natural ingredients from plant sources can be excellent alternatives and make use of vegetables and other products you may already have in your kitchen.

PREPARE THE EGGS

START with hard-boiled eggs washed with warm soapy water to remove any residue. Let the eggs cool.

COLD DYES

PURPLE: Mix 1 cup purple grape juice, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for 1/2 hour.

PINK: Mix 1 cup strained juice from canned beets, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for 1/2 hour.

BOILED DYES

ORANGE: Mix 1 cup yellow onion skin, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature, and strain out the onion skins. Then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

YELLOW: Mix 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature, and strain out stray turmeric grains. Add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

BLUE: Mix 1 cup red cabbage leaves, torn and loosely packed, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature, and strain out the cabbage leaves. Add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

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