Featured Advertisers: | Natural Products Guide | Happy Heiny's Sale!

Web www.naturalfamilyonline.com

The Magic of Homemade Easter Eggs



By Waverly Fitzgerald

Eggs are the most obvious symbol of birth at Easter time: dyed, then hunted and displayed in baskets; eaten as part of the Spring Equinox meal, where they are especially welcome as they were forbidden during Lent, or transformed into candy; and used to play a variety of games, like egg-rolling and egg-shackling (in which two partners clash hard-boiled eggs until the shell of one breaks).

Free Baby Website - Affordable Baby Web Site
FREE safe, secure baby and toddler websites!

Eggs were used as symbols of life and resurrection in ancient China, Greece, Egypt and Persia, at the great spring festivals. The early Christians adopted them as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection and people brought eggs to church to be blessed and distributed to friends, family and relatives.

Every year Easter provides me with an excuse to explore the many ways we’ve developed to achieve color. Usually I dye eggs, but one year I experimented with dyeing white cotton t-shirts.

Natural dyes for eggs

Here’s a list of some natural food items you can use dye eggs. Boiling the egg with the natural materials produces a dark color. Vinegar is added to act as a mordant (which helps the dye set), except with onion skins. Lighter shades can be achieved by boiling the plant materials in enough water to cover them for 20 to 30 minutes. Then strain out the materials, put dry, hard-boiled eggs into the hot dye and add a teaspoon of vinegar.

Soft orange
Single onion skin-don’t add vinegar!
Boil the onion skin with a few eggs

Deep rust
Handful of onion skins
Boil with the eggs

You can also wrap uncooked eggs in the dampened skins of red and yellow onions, then wrap them tightly in cloth or old panty hose, and tie the ends of the bundle with rubber bands or twists. Bring the eggs to a slow boil and hard cook them. When unwrapped, they appear marbled. If you boil other eggs in the same water, they’ll turn golden-red.

Blues and purples
Cranberry juice, purple grapes, blackberry juice

Raspberries, cranberries, blackberries

Beet juice & vinegar or juice of pickled beets

Pale yellow green
Handful of carrot tops

Green yellow
Spinach, calendula flowers

Crushed blueberries with a splash of vinegar
If you leave the eggs in the dye to cool, the color will become dark grey-violet.

Robin’s egg blue (This color is fragile and can be easily scratched off.)
Several outer leaves of red cabbage and vinegar
Allow the whole mixture to cool overnight.

A variety of subtle shades from greenish (chamomile) to speckled browns
Tea & coffee (try different varieties: herbal, black and green)

Coffee grounds, cayenne, alkanet root, maple bark

At first, the idea of brown Easter eggs didn’t sound that great, until I realized that’s a natural color for bird’s eggs, the symbol of new life in the spring. According to Schafer, naturalists studying the taste of wild bird eggs found that the bigger and drabber the egg, the better it tastes. Make a nest instead of a basket for displaying your naturally-dyed eggs.

Learn more
Hole, Christina, A Dictionary of British Folk Customs, Penguin/Paladin 1978
Schafer, Violet, Eggcraft, San Francisco: Yerba Buena Press 1973

© Waverly Fitzgerald

Waverly Fitzgerald is a freelance writer and teacher living in Seattle. She has studied seasonal holidays for more than 25 years. She shares her knowledge via a column in SageWoman magazine, a free e-mail newsletter, an online class on “Slow Time” and articles posted at her website, School of the Seasons.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to NFO's free eNewsletter!

Google ads are not personally selected by our admin team.
Find out more.

Free Baby Website - Affordable Baby Web Site
FREE safe and secure baby & toddler websites!