What do leftover cabbage, wilted kale, and unused onion peels have in common? They all make easy, inexpensive, and naturally beautiful dyes for your Easter eggs! Plus, chances are you already have everything you need sitting right in your fridge.
By now you’re probably aware of the concerns that food dyes present and, while your Easter eggs may not pose the biggest threat, the natural option is safer and much more fun. This DIY also is a great learning opportunity for your kiddos to see how many beautiful colors can be derived straight from nature — the perfect kitchen experiment.
Hard boiled eggs
Brown onion skin
3 medium saucepans
3 Quart sized Mason jars
1. Chop your cabbage and kale, and peel away your onion skins. Or use whatever vibrant colored fruits and veggies you have on hand — think beets, blueberries, blackberries, orange peels, spinach.
2. Add each food type to its own pot and fill with enough water to cover. Measure a tablespoon of vinegar into each pot.
3. Place each pot over the stovetop and allow a boil. Bring down to a low heat and allow each to simmer for about 15-30 minutes. (If you don’t have enough pots, you can do this step separately and repeat for each different dye).
4. Heat each dye until it appears to be several shades darker than your desired hue. You can test a sample in a white cup or bowl to see the color’s saturation. Once you are satisfied, remove each mixture from heat and allow to cool.
5. Once cooled, strain each mixture into its own Mason jar. If you prefer your eggs to have a natural speckled effect, feel free to allow some of the food pieces to remain in your dye.
Your dye is ready!
1. Wipe each of your hard boiled eggs clean to make sure there are no particles on the outside of the shells.
2. One by one, divide your eggs among each jar of dye. Be careful not to crowd your eggs, as you may risk cracking them.
3. Place a lid on each of your jars and store them in the refrigerator to chill overnight. Natural dyes will take longer to set than your risky artificial dyes, so be patient! However, this step can be customized depending on the color saturation you are aiming for — try removing individual eggs as you go to get different shades of each color.
4. After all of your eggs have been removed, set them on a paper towel to dry. Refrigerate your eggs and keep them on hand for a quick and nutritious snack, or arrange them into a naturally festive centerpiece!
Tip: Make sure to compost all of your vegetable scraps!
What do you use to make natural dyes? Share your favorites in the comments below!
This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!
Ingredient: Sunflower Seed Oil
Botanical name: Helianthus annuus
Helianthus = Helianthus comes from the Greek helios anthos, meaning “sun flower.”
annuus = The species name annuus means “annual.”
What it is: Sunflower seed oil comes from (drumroll please…) sunflower seeds! The sunflower oil we use is extracted using a cold press expeller method, which is essentially squeezing raw materials (e.g., sunflower seeds) under high pressure until all the oily goodness is squished out.
What it does: Sunflowers are like sunshine for the soul and have a long history, beginning as a common crop among Native American tribes. Full of edible and medicinal benefits, sunflower seed oil has only grown in popularity and has many uses from creating cosmetics to cooking dinner. It’s external body benefits include the following:
Essentially odorless, when the oil is made into butters, balms, salves, or kept as an oil and applied directly to the skin, it helps in preventing your skin from drying out, retaining moisture and softness.
Sunflower oil has a high concentration of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that may help protect the skin from sun damage.
In addition, sunflower oil provides protection against nosocomial infections in preterm, very low birthweight infants.
Why we use it: In addition to the skin care benefits mentioned above, sunflower oil is also an amazing carrier for essential oils. This wonder oil is extremely versatile and, as far as natural resources go, sunflowers are a great choice because they’re drought tolerant, tough, and easy to grow.
Why we’re featuring it today: We’ve had customers ask about whether sunflower oil is safe to use on children (and adults) with related food allergies. While only eight foods (milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy) account for approximately 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions, a person can be allergic to almost anything. Seed allergies are uncommon and there is little research documenting the prevalence of a sunflower seed allergy, but they do exist. As with any new skin care product, always do a patch test on the skin first and consider discussing specific products with your family physician.
Please let us know if you have any other questions or comments — we love hearing from our community!
Albert A. Schneiter, ed. “Sunflower Technology and Production.” The American Society of Agronomy 1997: 1-19. Print.
Nachbar F and Korting HC. “The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin.” Journal of Molecular Medicine Jan 1995: 7-17. Print.
Danby SG, AlEnezi T, Sultan A, Lavender T, Chittock J, Brown K, Cork MJ. “Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care.” Pediatric Dermatology Jan 2013: 42-50. Print.