Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Naturally dyed Easter eggs: An experiment

For the past couple years, my kids and I dyed Easter eggs the "normal" way.  We dropped a little pellet of dye into a cup of vinegar and used  the metal egg holder shaped like an old person's eyeglasses.  Rather than use the store bought kit this year, we decided to venture into the realm of natural egg dyes.  I researched a few ways to do it but also let the kids come up with their own ideas of what to use.  Maggie was set on grape juice.  She wanted a purple egg.  Gregory wanted to use blueberries.  We started the process just as you would with the dying kits: hard boil the eggs.

I prepared the "dyes" ahead of time so the munchkins wouldn't get impatient.  We tried six different concoctions; red wine, grape juice, turmeric, turmeric/grape juice, blueberries and coffee.  
Red Wine:  Add 3/4 cup red wine, 1/4 cup water and 2Tbsp vinegar
Grape Juice: 1/2 cup juice concentrate, 1/2 cup water, 2tbsp vinegar
Turmeric: 1 cup water, 3Tbsp turmeric, 2Tbsp vinegar.  Boil until turmeric dissolves.
Turmeric/Grape Juice: 1/4 cup juice concentrate, 3/4 cup water, 1Tbsp turmeric, 2Tbsp vinegar.  Boil until turmeric dissolves
Blueberries: 3/4 cup crushed blueberries, 1/2 cup water, 2Tbsp vinegar  Boil for 5 minutes. (I chose not to strain which resulted in darker spots on the egg)
Coffee: 1 cup strong coffee and 2Tbsp vinegar
Maggie and Gregory each took a white crayon and made some scribbles on two of the eggs.  Maggie chose to put her egg in the grape juice and Gregory chose the wine for his egg. 


We put one egg in each of the other colors and then waited.  Since the kids really wanted to see the progress, we checked them after five minutes.  The dyes with turmeric were the only ones that had turned even a little bit of color.  So, we set the timer for ten minutes and went and did some puzzles. 

  After fifteen minutes we had eggs with very muted colors.  The kids wanted darker eggs so we decided to keep them in there for even longer.  This time we set the timer for 45 minutes and at the end we couldn't believe just how nicely our eggs looked.

Clockwise from top left: Coffee, wine, turmeric, grape juice, blueberries, turmeric/grape juice.   

We had three eggs left so we mixed the blueberries with the turmeric.  We also added the wine to the turmeric/grape juice.  I drew a big "M" with white crayon on one of the eggs and plopped it in that concoction.  Maggie wanted another pink egg so we wrapped a rubber band around the last egg and put it back in the grape juice.  We left them alone for 45 minutes and once again had beautiful eggs.

Top eggs: Turmeric/blueberries, grape juice with rubber band, turmeric/grape juice/wine with crayon "M"

This experiment was extremely fun (I almost put EGGstrmely but thought better of it).  We have a bunch of very pretty eggs and with the way my kids eat hard boiled eggs, I think we just might have another try at it before Easter. (I hear red cabbage makes really cool eggs).  

And Joseph attacks. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome project! Now I finally know what to do with the bulk sized container of tumeric that I bought a few years ago. Matthew's excited to try this out.