Easter is Sunday and, of course, this weekend we have plans to dye eggs for our annual Easter egg hunt. Ava enjoyed it last year, in the snow I might add, but is even more excited about it this year. And I think Julian will enjoy getting in on the action this year too. We might have to dye more than a dozen eggs.
This year I’m excited to try dyeing the eggs without artificial colors. I found a couple great web site with tips on “Natural Dyes for Elegant Easter Eggs” and Natural Dye from Organic.org. The natural dyes come from spices like paprika, tumeric and cumin; vegetables like spinach and red cabbage; fruit juices and even coffee. All of your dye ingredients can (and should) be composted after you are done.
The pages have dyeing instructions for a boil method (which produces darker results) and a cold-dip method, which is suggested for children or if you plan to eat the eggs and is the method we will be trying out.
Why dye with natural colors instead of artificial? According to Organic.org, “Many food colorings contain color additives such as Red No. 3 and Yellow No. 5, which, according to a 1983 study by the FDA, were found to cause tumors (Red No. 3) and hives (Yellow No. 5).” I wrote about the drawbacks of artificial colors a while back if you’d like to read more on the topic.
It is more time-consuming than using a store-bought conventional egg dye kit, but it is healthier for your kids and the environment. “Dyeing eggs the natural way gives you the opportunity to spend more time with your family, teaching kids to use alternative project methods that are healthier for them and the environment.” I think it will be a lot of fun and a great family project.
I will report back on Monday (perhaps with my Best Shot Monday post) on how the natural dyeing process went. :) And I’d love to hear from any of you who give it a shot (or have done so in the past) as well.
3/22/08: There’s an UPDATE in the comments with some of our results of what worked well and what didn’t (as well as what other people’s results have been). More to follow with pics of the egg-stravaganza fun on Monday. :)
*Photo credit: Organic.org Natural Dyes