Gettin' Crafty: Natural dyes for your Easter eggs
For all those who give pom-pom critters for birthdays, feel an urge to stick googly eyes on everything or just occasionally get a twitch to fold some origami, we bring you "Gettin' Crafty," where we feature a craft you can easily make with minimal supplies and limited finances. As fun as dying Easter eggs is, the neon tint that results is a little too artificial for our taste. So we have swapped the dissolving tablets for something a bit closer to nature. As the Easter Bunny would have wanted.
Paprika (I added some saffron, too, which you may decline to do, based on the cost)
Beets (I used two 14.5 oz. cans)
Blueberries (frozen is fine)
Powdered wheatgrass (available at health food stores in individual packets)
White distilled vinegar
1. Begin with the decorations. Seems counterintuitive, but trust me. Wrap the eggs with rubber bands to make stripes, or you can try and draw on them with crayon. The crayons didn't work for me, but you might have super-strong crayons.
2. Hard-boil half of the eggs you intend to dye. Put the eggs in a pan, cover with an inch of cold water and bring to a boil. Let boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to dye with the blueberry and beet solution (see step seven).
3. With the turmeric, paprika and powdered wheatgrass, hard boil the eggs in the spices. For every tablespoon of spice (or "dye"), add one tablespoon vinegar and one cup water. Make sure the eggs are covered by the dying solution. This means that you may need two or three times this amount.
4. Bring the eggs (in the dye solution) to a boil. Let boil 20 minutes.
5. Remove eggs from pan, and place in a bowl. If you want a deeper color on the egg, pour the dye solution over the eggs. Let stand until desired color. For an even deeper color, put in the fridge overnight.
6. Place the beets and blueberries in two separate pots. Add two cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar to each pot. Bring to a boil, and boil for 20 minutes.
7. Pour the dye solutions over the already hardboiled eggs. Let stand until desired color.
8. At this point, you should have yellow eggs (from the turmeric), orange eggs (from the paprika/saffron blend), green (from the wheatgrass), pink (from the beets) and blue (for the blueberries). When the colors have developed as much as you want, (I left mine in for 1 ½ hours), take out the eggs.
9. Remove any rubber bands you may have used, and admire the results. Sure, they may not be neon pink and green, but they are a lot more appealing to consume.
10. To add a glossy sheen, rub a little vegetable oil on the outside. Beautiful, shiny, marbled and muted; the perfect Easter egg.
Well worth the effort, and a lot more fun than dissolving tablets.
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