So, it’s been quite a while since I’ve made anything other than regular, un-Bedazzled hard boiled eggs. I decided this year to try to get into the Springtime spirit, and find some natural dyes, using vegetables, spices, and other such ingredients. I also wanted to see if my favorite method for making hard “boiled” eggs would work for egg-dying.
If you know Alton Brown, you love Alton Brown. One of the many things I’ve learned from him is a very simple method to make hard boiled eggs in the oven. One benefit of this is that the eggs cook consistently, from batch to batch, since you have more control over the cooking temperature and time (I always seemed to forget a pot of eggs simmering on the stove). Also, by setting the eggs in a muffin tin, an air pocket between the shell and cooked egg naturally develops, making them much easier to peel. And, with the egg-dying process, it cleared up space on the stove, so I could make the dyes while the eggs cooked.
To find natural dyes, I searched around the internet a bit, and found the perfect resource in Martha Stewart. Who else would have detailed instructions, a recipe outline, and a color palette to teach you how to dye eggs naturally? All ingredients can easily be found at the grocery store, and the process for making the dye is essentially the same for each ingredient.
I did decide to eliminate some of the colors, to cut down on time and the amount of batches per ingredient I needed to make. I also learned some tips and tricks along the way:
Tips for Natural Egg Dyeing:
- Collect medium to large size bowls and all pots you’ll be using before you get started
- Bowls can be used to hold chopped vegetables before they simmer, and the final dye
- Have paper towels/kitchen towels ready to place under bowls
- This helps prevent the dyes from staining your counter
For the pots (assuming 4 burner stove):
- Have one very large pot of water full & boiling to start
- This can be used to fill smaller pots as you rotate batches
- Refill the pot and keep water boiling throughout the process, so you always have enough
- Use the other 3 burners to make the dye, using medium-large pots
Using the onions:
- The only ingredients that are left-over and very usable are the onions, since you use only the skins. To make use of that, I got some bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini. This way, I can make batches of stir-fry and frittata mix along with the onions, and freeze it for later.
Natural Egg Dyes
*followed instructions from Martha Stewart
Red-cabbage dye: 4 cups chopped cabbage (1-2 heads of cabbage)
Turmeric dye: 3 tablespoons turmeric
Onion-skin dye: 4 cups onion skins (skins of about 12 onions)
Beet dye: 4 cups chopped beets (4-5 beets)
Coffee dye: 1 quart strong black coffee (instead of water)
Dyes I Tried:
Pale Yellow: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes.
Orange: Soak eggs in room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
Light Brown: Soak eggs in room-temperature black coffee, 30 minutes.
Light Pink: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes.
Light Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 minutes.
Lavender: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 seconds.
Chartreuse: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 5 seconds.
Salmon: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
*I also tried a yellow beet dye, which didn’t produce much of a color on the eggs
Dyes I Did Not Try:
Deep Gold: Boil eggs in turmeric solution, 30 minutes.
Sienna: Boil eggs in onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
Dark, Rich Brown: Boil eggs in black coffee, 30 minutes.
Royal Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution overnight.
- Turmeric, red beets & yellow onion skin all made bright, evenly dyed eggs – these would be my go-to ingredients next time
- Coffee dyed eggs evenly & is an easy dye to make, but the color wasn’t that exciting with just a 30 minute soak in room-temperature dye
- Red cabbage did not dye the eggs as evenly, and the color was not as bright
- I also tried yellow beets, which didn’t dye the eggs much at all
To Make Dyes:
- Put dye ingredient in a medium-large pot
- Pour 4-6 cups of boiling water (from the large pot of water) over the dye ingredient
- Enough water to cover the ingredient
- Add 4-5 T white vinegar
- Cover & simmer for 30 minutes
- Cool to room temperature before dyeing eggs (I added another T of vinegar to the cool dyes)
Oven Baked Hard “Boiled” Eggs
*adapted from an Alton Brown method
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Place eggs in muffin tins – one egg per muffin spot
- Bake the eggs at 325° for 25-30 minutes
To cool for dying, use tongs or a kitchen towel to transfer eggs to a cooling rack
If you’re not going to dye the eggs, you can place the warm eggs in an ice bath or under cold running water and peel them immediately