It’s that time of year in which the egg dying kits are out in force. What is generally a fun craft for our families also has hidden dangers – the chemicals and dyes involved in those adored kits.
Certified food dyes approved by the FDA include colors synthesized from petroleum derivatives and even coal tar. Lots of big words there. Basically, it’s bad stuff, people. There are other food dyes based on natural ingredients that come from things you may not have ever thought to eat: Have you ever heard of carminic acid? You might not have, but it is a commonly used red food coloring, which comes from the dried, crushed bodies of pregnant female scale insects called “cochineal”. Food coloring = ingestion. Ingesting female pregnant insects? Uh, no thank you. Besides that grossness, I want my kids to be able to eat the eggs, and since we’re an artificially free family, those dyes are out, “natural” or not.
If you’re looking to what you CAN use, here’s some great, natural ideas that are fun to concoct and make not only vibrant eggs but allow your children to explore instead of dropping a tablet into water:
Red onion skins, use a lot (boil with eggs)
Yellow onion skins (boil with eggs)
Lemon or orange peel (boil with eggs)
Carrot tops (boil with eggs)
Celery seed (boil with eggs)
Ground cumin (boil with eggs)
Ground turmeric (boil with eggs) (be careful, turmeric stains)
Dill seeds (boil with eggs)
Black walnut shells (boil with eggs)
Bright green apple peels (boil with eggs)
Spinach leaves (boil with eggs)
grass (will come out faint, but worth it)
Red Cabbage and Turmeric (boil with eggs)
Canned blueberries and their juice
Red cabbage leaves (boil with eggs)
chopped red cabbage (boil with eggs, let sit a while)
Red Cabbage with Beets (boil with eggs)
Red onion skins, less amount than you need to make red (boil with eggs)
Diluted purple grape juice
Violet blossoms plus squeeze of lemon (boil with eggs)
Beets, fresh or canned
Cranberries or cranberry juice
Red grape juice
Please note – when using juice, use it straight; frozen even can be stronger in color content. The longer you let the eggs soak, the deeper the color will be. You can use a scant amount of vegetable oil after the fact to make them shiny, or if you’d like some creative designs, crayons which resist coloring and rubber bands for different effects like tie-dye before or during the dying process. Combine some colors to alter and mix as well!
Have you done this too? I’d love to see what you did, and how yours turned out. Remember to have fun and share your pictures!
Never miss a post! Subscribe here for all kinds of crazy parenting fun!