In our family, the dyeing of spring eggs is an important annual tradition—one my kids start nagging me to do as soon as the trees begin to bud and the chocolate bunnies appear at the market. We have been making dyes from natural materials for years. We have tried spinach, beets, and onion skins with varying results. One year we spent a great deal of time and effort dyeing white eggs with coffee—only to end up with brown eggs identical to the ones we already had in the fridge. Our greatest successes in terms of true brilliant color have always been with red cabbage and ground turmeric (and they produce two of my favorite colors, blue and yellow), so we decided to concentrate on those this year.
We hard boil our eggs first, but if you’d like to keep the eggs on display, you could blow out the yolk and white first. Both brown and white eggs went into the dye bath this time around. We usually use the dyeing instructions from an old issue of the children’s magazine Cricket, but when I couldn’t find them this year, we followed these instructions at the Martha Stewart site.
For the cabbage dye, I boiled one head of chopped red cabbage in about two quarts of water for half an hour. I mixed the strained water bath with four tablespoons of white vinegar and four tablespoons of salt. Our turmeric dye didn’t require any cooking, we simply mixed the spice with water and the vinegar and salt.
We gently lowered our hard boiled eggs into the jars of dye and left them in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning we found that our eggs in the cabbage dye were a deep blue and an almost teal for the brown eggs. Our white eggs in the turmeric bath were speckled golden, and the brown ones had turned burnt orange. Lovely saturated color on a grey early spring day.
And they were just as lovely on the inside.