Dyeing Easter eggs, naturally

Amanda Riley
Special to The Black Mountain News

Now I’m not saying there isn’t a time and a place for the brightly colored packets of dye and the cute little metal egg-holders and shrinky-dink thingamajigs that come in those Easter Egg dye kit boxes. I mean, they are fun. We’re not eating the eggshells, so it isn’t like we’re consuming that artificial coloring anyway. And besides, even if we were, it’s just once a year, right?

But, in the event you’re thinking of dyeing your eggs au naturale, or you just don’t feel like going out to buy the little boxes of dye at the grocery store, here are some easy and fun ways to add color to your eggs using spices, fruits and veggies (and a bit of vinegar) that you may already have around the house.

Golden yellow: Turmeric and distilled vinegar!

Per one cup of water, add 2 tablespoons of turmeric and 1 or 2 tablespoons vinegar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Cool, add eggs, and allow them to soak in the solution until the desired color is reached.

Blue/Slate blue: Frozen blueberries!

Add 1 cup of frozen berries to one cup of water. Mash berries and allow to soak in the water for 20-30 minutes. Strain, then place the eggs in the solution to soak until desired color is reached.

Yellow-orange: Yellow onion peels plus distilled vinegar!

Add about 1 cup of yellow onion peels per 1 cup of water, simmer for 10 minutes and strain. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar, then place eggs in the solution and soak until desired color is reached.

Purplish pink: Beets plus distilled vinegar!

Add 1 chopped beet and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 2 to 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain, then place eggs in the solution until desired color is reached.

Brown: Strong coffee (!) plus distilled vinegar!

Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee. Add eggs and allow to soak until desired color is reached.

You can add details to your eggs by blocking areas with strips or dots of masking or electrical tape before dying and then removing them after to reveal the un-dyed area. Or you can draw designs with a white crayon on the eggs before dyeing to create a resist effect.

If you are inclined to do a little Internet searching, you will find there are many other techniques out there that would be fun to experiment with as well!

(The eggs in the photos are from our backyard hens and started out bluish-green or a medium brown. The colors are clearly a bit subdued as a result. White eggs will yield even brighter colors!)

Amanda Riley lives in Black Mountain with her husband, young daughter, cat and small flock of chickens. Read more about her suburban homesteading at