This is Day 71 of the Green in 365 series!
By Kim Daly of The Soulicious Life
Coloring eggs is a spring tradition across this country, both for those who celebrate Easter and for those of us who celebrate “Happy Spring.” Though I’ve never been a fan of hard-boiled eggs myself (I leave those to SoulDaddy to eat), I am a huge fan of the family time and creativity it inspires.
Unfortunately, conventional food dyes and artificial colorings pose a number of hazards. They have been linked to everything from tumors and allergy-like reactions to hyperactivity in children. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s 2010 report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens.”
Though the European Union began requiring most foods containing artificial food dyes to be labeled as of July 2010, the U.S. maintains no such requirement. In addition to avoiding the purchase of processed foods containing these days, it also benefits you to avoid such colorings when dying your eggs. This spring, turn to your produce drawer and spice cabinet for a variety of risk-free alternatives. Though it requires a bit of preparation, the end-product is no doubt better for your health. And I think you’ll enjoy the subdued shades these alternatives create as well.
Photo by Knitting Iris
Don’t forget to start with organic, free range eggs. (Still learning how to understand all those egg labels? Find a tutorial here.) Then, collect some fun new stickers, colorful crayons and of course, a few equally colorful fruits, veggies and spices.
Here are some suggestions for sources of natural color. The longer you soak the eggs, the deeper the color. For the richest color, leave eggs soaking in the dyes overnight in the fridge.
- Red: Mix 1 cup raspberries with 1 cup water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Or boil 1 cup red onion skins with 1 c. water.
- Orange: Stir 2 Tbsp. paprika or chili powder into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
- Yellow: Stir 2 Tbsp. turmeric into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Or try chamomile or green tea.
- Green: Boil 1 cup spinach with 1 cup water for 5 minutes and let sit until cool; remove spinach. Or mix 1 cup water with 1 tsp. of liquid chlorophyll.
- Blue: Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with one cup boilin water; remove blueberries once they come to room temperature. Or boil 1 cup red cabbage leaves with 1 cup water; remove cabbage leaves.
- Lavender: Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Or use 1 cup red zinger tea or 1 cup red wine.
- Pink: Mix one cup beet or cranberry juice with 1 tbls. white vinegar.
The options for homemade, natural colors are only limited by the ingredients on hand in your home. Happy egg coloring!
What are you favorite natural dye tricks?
Denver-based Kim Daly, a.k.a SoulMomma, believes that an eco-friendly existence should be part of any healthy lifestyle. When not nurturing her compost bin or buying new-to-her items, she can be found discovering delicious vegetarian recipes, hiking with her family, and striking a yoga pose anywhere she can. Learn to nourish your body, your soul and the planet on her blog, The Soulicious Life.
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LOVE your natural egg dying approach! I just love finding more ways to be kind to nature and to use less things that would be harmful to nature. I make my own bleach alternative and my own laundry detergent. I’m also making my own dishwashing liquid and as soon as I am finished with the shampoo and conditioner I have on hand will also be making that. I am going to follow your blog and your ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas!
Hi Paula – Every little change counts! Forget egg dyes, I’m totally impressed you make your own detergent. Is it safe for front-load, high-efficiency washers? Recipe, please!
I use it in my HE washer. If you have a front loading washing machine use 1/2 Cup instead of 1 Cup or you will have too many suds. This is the recipe I use.
1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar soap(I use Ivory but you can use whatever you like)
All these ingredients can be bought at WalMart. The 20 Mule Team Borax and Washing Soda are located with the cleaning supplies, the soap in Health and Beauty Aids.
Grate your soap and add to a boiler with at least four inches of water over the grated soap bits. Be sure to watch it carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Let the soap completely melt and add to a 5 gallon bucket with the borax and washing soda. Stir well and add about 3 1/2 gallons very hot tap water. Stir until the borax and washing soda are dissolved. Put a lid or cover over the bucket and leave alone for 24 hours, then remove cover and stir well. Now it is ready to use 1/2 Cup to 1 Cup(I use 1 Cup to a load) to a load of laundry. Wash as usual. You can also use the regular Blue Dawn for stain removal. Just put it on the stain and rub in well, then wash as usual.
Hope you will enjoy using this. I haven’t had any problems with my HE washing machine using this but I have a regular top loader. Like I said if you have a front loader cut it back to 1/2 cup to keep from having too many suds in your washing machine.