Naturally Dyed Eggs


A few weeks back I saw a post about dying Easter eggs naturally, and I knew we had to try it. Friday morning we woke up early and headed on a walk through the park to gather various leaves and flowers that we could use to imprint on the eggs. Since this was our first time doing this, we really didn’t have any idea what would work best, so we just gathered a bit of everything.

Once we got back to the house, I pressed the various leaves and flowers throughout a few pages of a book, thinking it would be easier to put the leave on the egg if they were flat and not bulky (theoretically, it did seem to help).

For our dyes we used yellow onion skins, red cabbage leaves, turmeric, beets, and dried hibiscus flowers.

DYE PREPARATION:

To prepare the dyes we put each food into it’s own pot with a decent amount of water (about six cups), two tablespoons of white vinegar, and a teaspoon of Alum powder (except we did not put Alum in with the pot of onion skins because I read somewhere that it smells like ass if you do). Each of the pots were brought up to a boil and then the heat was lowered to let it simmer for about a half hour. We did not measure out any specific amounts, but we did use a bag of yellow onion skins, a few beets and a whole small red cabbage. In retrospect we only used 2 tablespoons of Turmeric and should have used more; the results weren’t as pretty as some others I have seen. Obviously, the more you use, it is likely the more vibrant the colors will be. Once each of the pots simmered awhile, we removed them from heat until they were cool-ish, and transferred the liquid into gallon ziplock containers. In truth, using large mouth pickle jars or something of the like would be much prettier, but I wasn’t about to go buy more jars for some smelly onion water (and thus, no pictures… So, so, sorry).

EGG PREPARATION

While the dyes were cooling, I went ahead and hardboiled my eggs. I opted to buy both some brown and some white eggs to see if this would make a difference in the final result and I was really glad I did (I was not really glad that i had to buy them though, but alas, by chickens are still on strike). Jerks! With the eggs cooking and the dye cooling, I cut up the legs on a pair of nude nylons into 3-4 inch sections, and knotted one end.

Once the hardboiled eggs were cooled from their ice bath, I pulled out my book of flattened leaves and flowers and placed a few on each egg, wrapping the pantyhose around the leaf, and sealing it closed with the rubberband. Helpful tip: Having the eggs still a little damp seemed to help make the leaves stick to the egg, and thus, easier to wrap the nylon around it without making the leaves move. Of course, I didn’t figure this out until I had dried them all off and was on my second to last one. DAH!

For the last part, I placed each of the eggs into the Ziploc bags over night, trying to have a few white and a few brown eggs in each bag. I’m sure you wouldn’t have to wait so long if you didn’t want to, but I was happy I did.

OUTCOME

Red Beets

Yellow Onion Skins

Hibiscus

Turmeric

Red Cabbage

CONCLUSION
I really loved the depth of the red cabbage. If you rubbed the egg a bit, you ended up with that speckled, marbled effect. I broke the white one in the process, so it is not pictured here, but it turned out a much more vibrant blue, and not as deep as these brown eggs were. I also really loved the way the hibiscus looked on the brown eggs. The hibiscus left a thick coating on the eggs that, when rubbed off, left a pale periwinkle blue color. The beets I thought looked awesome and are such a great burnt red color. I was super irritated that the white egg had to be sent into my stomach after being hardboiled, but I had to make sure the eggs were done, right? I liked the way the yellow onion skins turned out as well, but wasn’t impressed by the Turmeric. I think I would give it another try again though, but I’d increase the amount in the water and see if that makes a difference. Overall, i was really happy with how it all came together and would gladly do it again next year. In comparison to the Paas egg kits, it’s a no-brainer.

This Old House – Garden Edition

When we moved into this house, one of the things that we were most excited for was being able to have our own little urban farm. With many hours out in the yard, seven cubic yards of soil, two cubic yards of compost, and a new fence… one of our major yard renovations has been completed. Of course, this fails to account for the many hours of weeding, planting, and pruning, that have also taken place. As of this moment, we have two lemon trees (1 Meyer / 1 regular), two plum trees, two grape vines, one orange tree, one teenage pomegranate tree, and 1 baby espalier apple tree which has 6 apple varieties. I really want to throw a peach and pear tree into the mix, but I know realistically I definitely do not have that sort of space (Do I? hrmmmmm….)

Before:

It’s a bit funny, it is not until really looking at these photos that I realize how much work we have actually done. We aren’t completely done yet, but most of the work left is minor.
As you can see, we had a ton of weeding to do. We removed all of the chicken wire and gates and added fresh compost to the boxes. Simple right?

This was by far the bigger project. Due to the fairly dramatic grade in the soil, Matt and I had to level the area with a butt-ton of soil and create a temporary retaining wall. Of course, this couldn’t be done without first moving the coop temporarily and then back again. SUPER FUN. ANNNNNND…on top of it all, I wanted a new coop. The chickens are still on egg-strike from all the moving, so hopefully we will be forgiven soon. It’s a bit of a slap in the face to buy a new coop and build a fence for your chickens, only to have to go to Trader Joe’s for Easter eggs to dye. Jerks!

Just for perspective, here is a photo taken from the other end of the yard, by the dog run. You can see the fence to the chicken run on the right in the distance.

It feels good to be home.

Around the house

My daughter’s best friend is a tomato, but coming in at a close second, is the Pink Lady. My daughter suffers from a compulsive apple addiction. Each time I think that I have moved the fruit bowl far enough from her grasp, she manages to find one more. Of course, she never finishes one and then moves on to the next in some sort of common sense, sequential order. Most often she will take a few bites from one, set it down, and go find another, only to eventually have both in her hands, alternating each mouthful. If somehow I am able to keep her apple to mouth ratio stable at 1:1, she will eat that apple until what remains resembles a small grape, and then throw it away and pick up another on her way back.

Romper | James Vincent Design