Friday 25 March 2016

Egg Dye Time

Easter time is egg dye time. There are hundreds of suggestions online about how to colour boiled eggs. 
I read a few and got the impression that some of the authors don't even know what they did. 
The easiest, of course, is to buy food colours and dip the eggs into the solution. 
But I wanted to do it "the natural way". 
My mom would dye the eggs orange with onion peelings. 

What about other hues - like 
green, blue, yellow, red? 
After searching the net I dived into my fridge. 
What would I come up with?
White onions, 
Red cabbage, 
Frozen Blueberries, 
Frozen Spinach. 
For yellow, I choose Tumeric (1 Tablespoon).
Jars with Tumeric-, onion-, red cabbage dyes

I chopped (only the outer layer) leafs of a red cabbage. 
I used the brown, papery layers of the onion, 
crushed blueberries 
and spinach. 

Each batch was boiled with 2 cups of water and simmered for about 30 minutes. 
Except for the onions dye, I added 2 Tablespoon of white vinegar to the concoctions.

(Other recipes suggested washing the boiled eggs with vinegar, I have to try that next time.
Or the addition of baking soda, the usage of Hibiscus tea. That will be future experiments as well.)

Some raw eggs were boiled for 10 min in the dye. 
Others were hard-boiled up front and then 
submerged in jars containing the warm solution. 
Those eggs stayed refrigerated overnight in the dye. 

Some eggs were dyed 
keeping the leafs/berries in the solution, 
others after the fluid was filtered through a coffee filter.

I am pleased with a pretty good array of colours. 

Results :
I used mostly white eggs, but tried a few brown ones too.

The longer the egg stays in the dye, the more intense the colours. (30 min - 16 hours)
Fresh veggies/fruit give the best result.
Frozen blueberries and frozen spinach did not do well.  
It resulted in dark, dull grey blue and brownish tints. 
Not the bright purple or pale green I had anticipated.
A bath in Tumeric turned out into a pleasing, bright yellow.
Brown onion peelings: light orange to deep orange/brown
Red cabbage: light blue to turquoise
Frozen blueberries: dull purple 
Frozen spinach: dull, brownish green

First yellow submerged in cabbage dye: 
greenish yellow or yellow brown marbled
First blue submerged in onion dye: 
marbled, orange brown
First blueberries then onion: 
dark brown, olive hue
First cabbage then blueberries: 
greyish blue

Blown-out eggs will just float on top of the dye. 
I pushed them manually under water 
until the air inside had completely bobbled out. 
After that the egg stayed submerged.

I did not tried to dye raw eggs, and blow them afterwards.
It might be a different way of getting eggs 
for decoration purposes. 
A project for another day.

All in all - it was fun!

Happy Easter!

Update: March, 28
Washing the eggs with vinegar did not change the dyeing one bit.
Both, the vinegar rinsed egg and the unwashed one looked exactly the same after the dyeing process.
 Having used strawberry pie-filling on a cake my husband was about to toss the can in the garbage when I stopped him.
Rinsing out the can with a little water resulted in a nice red dye.
It is artificial food colouring, I guess.
But it made a good substitute for pink/red colour.
Raw eggs, submerged over night turned out
nice pink with an orange tint.

Auntie's translation

Osterzeit ist die Zeit zum Eierfärben. Dieses Mal habe ich keine Farben gekauft sonder mich auf natürliche Farben verlassen. Für die blau/türkis Farbe wurde Rotkohl verwendet. Orange ergab ein Bad in gekochten Zwiebelschalen und das helle Gelb kommt von Tumeric (Gelbwurzel). Einige Mischungen ergaben Tiefbraun, Blaugrau oder Olivebraun. Der Versuch die Eier mit Spinat grün zu färben ist mir nicht gelungen. Ich glaube man sollte dafür besser ganz frischen Spinat nehmen. Für eine rosa/rote Färbung hätte ich Hibiskustee haben müssen. 
Das will ich ein anderes Mal ausprobieren. 
Es hat aber viel Spaß gemacht. 
Frohe Ostern!