Dying Easter eggs naturally using flowers 🌺, vegetables 🧅and spices🌶️ from your home cupboard is a fun spring time activity for the April half-term, and make wonderful sugar-free gifts! 🐣🌱
Earlier this season as we watched native gorse come into flower, we set ourselves the challenge of making a traditional dye from the yellow-rich flowers, which are proliferating at this time of year.
Along with a few other experimental ingredients - spirulina, turmeric, beetroot, cabbage and onion skins, and a morning spent outdoors picking flowers and foliage, we got into the spirit of Spring with these easy peasy decorating instructions.
What you will need:
Hard Boiled Eggs (preferably white)
Gorse Flowers (or Turmeric powder)
Distilled White Vinegar
Brown Onion Skins
Coconut or Olive Oil (optional)
To make the Dyes, the following process must be followed with the Gorse and each individual vegetable. The Vegetable to Water ratio is approx. 2:1 (just enough water to cover the shredded veg or onion skins). The Gorse flower dye, requires a higher concentration approx. 4:1 ratio is recommended. If you can't find gorse nearby - turmeric makes a brilliant yellow dye, use approx. 3-4tsps.
To prepare natural food dye you’ll need to start with 1 cup of chopped fruit or veggie or 1 tablespoon of spice and boil it in 2 cups of water.The longer you boil the richer the color! Strain the dye through a fine-mesh strainer and into jars or a bowl. Next, you’ll want to add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the color. This step is important because vinegar helps the colour to absorb into the shell, making the eggs more vibrant in color. An optional extra is to add a little oil to the mix, which creates a shiny lustre on the eggs once dried. Leave the eggs in the color mixture until they reach desired color and shades. We left ours in overnight.
To decorate the eggs, we used leaves, dandelions, and flowers found in our garden. We used old stockings, which we cut up into pieces and secured with a knot at one end. The stockings secure the flower to the egg while dying. Once the egg is placed inside the egg with the flower, you’ll need to tie another knot at the end to stop if from falling out.
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
2. Add grated or shredded veg, or spices to the pot.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and let the water simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool.
5. Strain the material with a fine mesh strainer and pour the dye water into containers or jars.
6. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar (and oil if using) to the dye water and stir to incorporate.
7. Carefully put the boiled eggs into the jar of dye and secure with a lid.
8. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let the eggs dye for 6 – 12 hours, the longer the better.
9. Remove the eggs from the jar and place them on a paper towel lined baking rack.
10. Allow them to dry completely before removing the decorations (this will reduce the amount of scuffs and marks on the eggs).
Unfortunately, we were unlucky in the blue department - the blue spirulina dye didn't work out for us and we forgot the cabbage dye on the stove, where it evaporated away! 🙄 So sadly we have missed out on blue eggs this Easter.
We had such fun foraging and preparing all the natural dyes, and who would have thought, there wasn't a single chocolate egg consumed!
Give this activity a 'crack' 🐣 this half-term, we would love to see your egg decorating successes! And if you would like to feature your decorations on the the Jamu Wild Kids page, go wild and send us through your creations! Happy Easter Holidays! 🐇