Saturday, April 3, 2010

dyeing Easter eggs with food you find around the house

Somewhere in this pot a cracked egg lurks.


We carried out our secularized but very fun Easter tradition today--dyeing eggs. The egg symbolizes the beginning of life, renewal, and rebirth. I want to try and make these traditions meaningful and relate them to spring as well as the resurrection of Jesus. So instead of using the prepackaged Paas kit, which had also become a tradition, I decided to try doing it naturally, meaning no artificial colors or dyes. Back to the earth. Plus, I have three bottles of vinegar that I enthusiastically purchased for cleaning mirrors and stuff, only I don't get around to cleaning mirrors that often.

I found a chart online, which seemed too complicated for a first-time family project, at about.com http://chemistry.about.com/od/holidayhowtos/a/eastereggdyes.htm. Using wildflowers, especially dandelions, would be a problem, since a few days ago I yanked much of the rebirth out of my lawn with a shovel and weed puller. I ultimately decided to scrounge around the kitchen and use what we had on hand.



The final contenders: spinach, lemon juice, wine, grape juice, cinnamon spice tea, blackberry jam, and V-8 Splash.


First, I boiled every last vitamin out of the spinach leaves until they were surely devoid of nutrition. I've been meaning to make creamed spinach with this box--it has been in my freezer for over 6 months. I won't kid myself into thinking the little ones will eat it, and it is probably freezer-burned anyways. Justification.
I feel much better now.



Attempting to hasten the coloring process

Lemon juice was a stretch, but it turns a pretty bright yellow when mixed with borax. Not so much with vinegar. It's more like...dirty lemonade. A pale yellow just like...lemon juice.

The 2-year-old housewarming bottle of Merlot from the neighborhood association that we never joined in order to avoid the $40/year fee, which seems to buy nothing for the joiners but mailbox neighborhood watch stickers. This egg is reserved for my husband, just as I'm positive that he will say the spinach egg is for me.

Grape juice (store bought--not fresh squeezed). I've actually heard this works--it's not one of my crazy concoctions!

Mango and peach V-8 Splash. A food item that refuses to exit this house and has taken up more than its allotted time in the fridge. It might be fermented at this point. Even better!

2 bags of cinnamon tea. If nothing else, it covered up the spinach smell that permeated the cracks in the kitchen floor.


2 varieties of blackberry jam--Walmart and All-fruit, a.k.a. the pauper and the prince of smashed fruit.

This is a sputtering egg as it drowns in jam.


all the dyes representin'


playing in the gooey jam is the funnest part


And here are the lovely products. Starting from the top left, we have two colored with grape juice, then spinach, Merlot, and V-8 Splash. The bottom row showcases two cinnamon tea specimens with a blackberry jam egg in the center.


I asked my 7-year-old son what we learned from this experiment of coloring eggs with food.

He unapologetically said "to never do it again."

Dear Son, you have not yet developed a deep understanding of the type of mother you inherited. If something doesn't work, go radical. Stay tuned for our next post-Easter egg-dyeing session!

4 comments:

Nash said...

Hysterical!!! I applaud your effort to go natural, love it!

walk2write said...

Those are the most wildly unusual, beautiful eggs that I've ever seen. They are masterpieces that are well done (hard boiled), CM and kids! And please do it again next year.

troutbirder said...

Now that's neat. Perhaps the youth of today are too conservative in there willingness to branch off in new directions. Way to go mom.

Clementine Moonflower said...

Thanks everyone! It was a fun project, but not as creative as I would have liked it to be. But I have a whole year to figure out some new prospects for dyes!

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