Bates Employee Attempts to Dye Easter Eggs With Pantry Ingredients, Decides to Keep Day Job April 14, 2017 07:54

Nobody knows for sure where the tradition of dying eggs for Easter began, but there are several origin stories. If you didn’t grow up participating in this activity, then you might view the whole thing as a bit wacky, but for many of us it is a favorite Springtime activity.

When dying Easter eggs, it is standard practice to use food coloring in order to create an array of fun pastels. In recent years, however, the internet has been filled with tutorials on how to make natural dyes from normal pantry items. The dyes are said to offer a palette of earthy, natural hues. One of our employees decided to try her hand at this new method. Did it work? We will let her tell you how it went.

---

 

I decided to try this natural method for dying eggs on a whim, so I was limited to what I had on hand. I was able to scrounge up the following ingredients that I suspected might do the trick (photo above: left to right): paprika, ginger powder, Beyond Coffee (a yummy coffee alternative, Made in Maine!), soy sauce, maraschino cherries, spinach and cherry tomatoes. I had high hopes for the paprika, spinach and coffee because those were mentioned in some of the tutorials I had reviewed. If nothing else, I was certain the cherries would work because they already have an actual dye in them.

After reviewing several sets of online instructions for the easiest possible method, I decided to wing it. I filled the jars with boiling water from the tea kettle and added a tablespoon of white vinegar to each.

I allowed the dyes to cool slightly before adding my boiled eggs and then stored them overnight in the refrigerator. The picture above shows the eggs before entering the dye baths. Would they be an array of fun colors in the morning?

Not quite. The eggs from the "coffee", soy sauce, carrots and ginger changed to a slightly darker (but still normal) egg color, while the egg from the spinach did not change at all. The egg from the paprika had only a very slight red hue, and my sure-fire cherry egg was barely pink. What did I do wrong?

After carefully reviewing the instructions, there were a few things I could have done differently that might have helped my chances. Please don't let my experience deter you from trying! Learn from my mistakes:

1) Boil the dye ingredient in water for at least 5 minutes.

2) Strain out any solids from the dye liquid.

3) Use white eggs so whatever color does show is more prominent.

4) Use fresh vegetables (I used frozen spinach and tomatoes).

5)  Allow the dye to cool completely before adding the eggs."

All is not lost, however. I know someone who will still enjoy the eggs. :)

--

Have an egg dying recipe of your own?  Please feel free to share it in the comments!