Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Natural Egg Dying

Each year we do some kind of egg dying for Easter. Some people hide these eggs around the house, but ours are just for eating (the hard boiled egg at least). My minis have only done the from a box (or as I say traditional because that's what I grew up with) egg dying once in their lives. I tend to find new ways of dying eggs each year. Last year was whipped cream and food coloring (read a bit about it here), but we've also done painting the eggs, coloring them, using Kool Aid to dye them, and many other ways (if you're looking for a good list of different ways to dye your eggs, check this out).

As with many things we try, I've never had kids be completely entertained with egg dying. My kids and daycare kids tend to lose interest quickly. Plus, not many of them enjoy hard boiled eggs. Yet I keep dying eggs year after year because, well, tradition for the time of year. This year I was pretty gun hoe about trying a natural method of egg dying. I felt as though we've tried a lot of other ways, so let's do it this way.

I did a bit of research (i.e. not much, just a gander about the best foods to use) and purchased veggies and frozen fruit from Walmart on our way home after hiking over the weekend. I didn't exactly read how to do it, but I knew we had to leave the egg soaking overnight. Just after dinnertime, I began cutting up the veggies and let the blueberries and raspberries thaw for a bit before mashing them.

Frozen raspberries and blueberries, yellow onions (the skins only), turmeric, beets, and red cabbage.

I added warm water and 2 tbsp of vinegar to each bowl before I had the kids color the eggs with crayon before dropping them in the bowls. Then, we waited.....

And waited. And waited some more. We left them in the veggie/fruit, water, and vinegar mixes for 16 hours. Now, to be fair, I couldn't fit all of these in my refrigerator because it was full. So I added ice to each bowl to keep the eggs cold.
I mashed the blueberries and raspberries and chopped the cabbage, beets, and onion skins.

My favorite party was checking on the eggs throughout the evening and next morning. It was quickly apparent which veggies and fruits worked and which didn't (raspberries, I'm lookin' at you).

For our first round, the blueberries, beets, and turmeric worked great! The onion skins left the eggs a faint yellow (which confused me because supposedly onion skins worked really well for others but more on that later), the raspberries did nothing, and the cabbage was a faint pinkish color. I'm perplexed by the cabbage, but I was honestly so pleased with the other colors that I wasn't overly concerned about getting the cabbage to work.

Now, I was happy with how the eggs turned out, but I was more pleased with how the minis were incredibly interested in the egg dying process this way! Not only did they continually check on the eggs with me, they asked many, many questions. Once they saw the food dying the eggs they started brainstorming other fruits, vegetables, and spices we could use. It always flabbergasts me what piques kids' interests and what doesn't.

This definitely deserved a second round with daycare kiddos! So, the next day we soaked our eggs in blueberries, beets, turmeric, and onion skin. But I learned from round 1 and fine tuned our technique for round 2.

I didn't use any vinegar in the water the second time around. Mostly because I forgot, but somehow the eggs turned out brighter. At the suggestion of a Facebook follower (who commented on The Kidsperts photo of the eggs), I put the onion skins in right after the water finished boiling. The water instantly turned a brown/golden yellow. Once I noticed the water had changed colors, I put an egg right back in the hot water and left it sitting for 3 hours. The result was the orangish-brown egg (far left in the picture below). The blueberries, beets, and turmeric turned out brighter without the vinegar as well. We left the eggs in the water for 12 hours and voila!

Just as my three did, the daycare kids really enjoyed this as well,! It was more than just an activity for the day. This got the questions flowing about how fruits and vegetables can dye eggs. Plus, we've got some awesome colored eggs out of the whole thing too.