Coloring eggs - natural style
Erin, 5, Jayden, 8, and their mother, Penny Spencer, found three beautifully colored eggs that the night before had been closer to a dull gray.
“We try to do everything else naturally —so why not color eggs?” the Cedar area mother said. “The girls love to eat the hardboiled eggs, but I can’t imagine what the dyes (in the commercial coloring kit) have in them.”
For the project involving natural dyes, Penny first looked to her pantry and refrigerator’s crisper drawer to tap nature’s color pallet. And although the family has ample fresh eggs daily from the chickens in their barn, she had to go to the store to purchase eggs.
“We have brown eggs, which really wouldn’t work that well,” she said. “I went out an bought local white eggs for the project.”
After consulting the Internet on how to create color through spices and vegetables, the girls began their experiment. First, they used turmeric, a bright yellow spice used in Asian and Indian dishes. They also utilized carrot tops, spinach, blueberries, beet juice, red wine, green tea, asparagus and red cabbage.
Meanwhile, the girls’ father Shandy Spencer took their 18-month-old brother Adrien out for a walk to keep him occupied.
Before dipping the eggs in the natural dye, the girls wrapped rubber bands around them to create a criss-cross pattern, where the dye didn’t go.
“It looks like a Petoskey stone,” Jayden said.
The sisters put their own mark on each of the eggs by creating different hues. That was accomplished by either dipping the eggs in more than one color, or waiting until they dried and incorporating the swirls of the dye into their drawings.
“The biggest thing to get used to is that they’re not the fluorescent color you’d get with the Paas eggs,” Penny said.
Erin came up with a beautiful moss-green egg by dipping the turmeric yellow egg in the blueberry juice.
Jayden worked on a sunset scene on another turmeric-colored egg, no doubt drawing upon the many sunsets the family has enjoyed at the nearby Good Harbor beach.
Not much attention was paid to the eggs steeped in the liquid produced from boiling red cabbage for 30 minutes. They didn’t look like much.
“We’re supposed to leave these in the fridge overnight,” Penny said during the Sunday evening coloring session, a little disappointed.
By the following morning, the eggs had turned a brilliant blue color.
The Spencers called the first natural dye experience a “success” and plan on repeating the process next year. They’ll be sharing the eggs with friends and family who they’ll host for Easter dinner Sunday.