Each Easter, Americans dye and decorate an estimated 180 million hard-boiled eggs. That’s a lot of egg salad sandwiches. And while most store-bought dyes and kits are safe and food-grade, why not get creative this year and use natural ingredients found in your kitchen?
Using food-based dyes — made from dark spices or bold-colored fruits — won’t tack on any extra health benefits. But eggs are healthy powerhouses on their own. “Eggs are a great source of protein and are nutrient dense,” says Melissa Hughes, a registered dietitian nutritionist at the Sharp Rees-Stealy Center for Health Management. “They can help boost the immune system and aid in bone health, metabolism and liver function.”
Plus, using food to dye eggs is a great learning experience for children. The ultimate science experiment, crushing and boiling ingredients can create intrigue about food, inspiring picky eaters to expand their culinary horizons.
To get started, choose bright foods in a rainbow of different colors:
|Yellow||Use 1 teaspoon of turmeric|
|Orange||Use 1 teaspoon of cumin|
|Pink||Use 2 cups of crushed cranberries or raspberries|
|Red||Use 2 cups of roughly cut beets|
|Lavender||Use 2 cups of chopped red cabbage|
|Blue||Use 2 cups of crushed blueberries|
|Green||Use 2 cups of chopped spinach leaves|
Hard-boil eggs. When done, put them aside to cool.
In separate pots on your stovetop — using one pot for each color you plan to make — add food ingredients plus 2 cups of water to each pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain, pouring the liquid portion of each color into separate bowls. Add 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar to each bowl. Submerge the hard-boiled eggs into the colored liquids.
For best results, leave the eggs submerged in the dye overnight, in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that food-based dyes are not as predictable as the kits you buy at the store. The results will be beautifully unique, but the color may not be uniform, and the shade may be something unexpected. If the color isn’t what you wanted, don’t fret. You can always whip up a batch of heavenly deviled eggs.