Using natural, vegetable-based dyes were all the rage, back in the day! Today, it’s cheaper for food companies to use chemical dyes instead of natural ones. And although many food dyes have been approved by the FDA, over the years, many have been removed from the FDA’s list, and there now new colours (yellow 5 and yellow 6) currently under scrutiny. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment, recently exposed how food dyes may have an effect on the hyperactivity in children (a symptom of ADHD)!
Since I already try to avoid foods with additives, preservatives, chemicals and artificial dyes; it didn’t make sense for me to be consciously adding them to my Easter eggs! So, I decided to try out the old fashion way. I actually had a lot of fun making the all natural, vegetable-based food dyes, and was up late experimenting! A word of warning, though: making homemade food dyes creates a lot of dishes and clean up.
Colors that I made were pink, yellow, blue and green! They may not be the traditional Easter-y hues that you’re used to, but I think they turned out pretty good considering I just used food that was in my fridge to colour them!
**Unlike chemical dyes, these natural ones are not strong enough to penetrate the egg’s shell, so for colorful eggs, you’ll have to peel them first.
To make yellow I used fresh turmeric, but you could also use ground turmeric or saffron. If you have a juicer, juice the fresh turmeric. If you don’t have a juicer (I don’t), blend the turmeric with a couple tablespoons of water, and then using cheesecloth, or something similar, squeeze out the juice—this will be your yellow dye. Compost the pulp or add it to a smoothie. WARNING: Turmeric is quite a powerful dye and really stains your hands…and anything else it touches. Learned this the hard way.
To make pink I used beets, of course. Like I mentioned before, juice a beet or blend it in a blender with a couple tablespoons of water, and squeeze out the juice with a cheese cloth.
For green you can use parsley or cilantro. You might even be able to use kale, but I haven’t tried–I used cilantro. In a blender, throw in a handful greenery and add one tablespoon of water. Squeeze out the juice with a cheesecloth.
Blue was a bit trickier. Since there are no naturally true-blue foods, you have to use a bit of science. To make blue you’ll need half of a small, purple cabbage. Roughly, cop up the cabbage and put it in a pot. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the cabbage. Boil it for 10 minutes, and then remove the cabbage, leaving the vibrantly purple liquid. Continue to cook the liquid until its reduced to about ¼ cup. Transfer the dye to a small dish and add a tiny pinch of baking soda—voila, blue!
How to Make Easter-y Deviled Eggs!
You’ll need about 6 eggs, all the dyes listed about, chives, mayo, and Dijon mustard.
Hard boil the eggs, let them cool and then peel them.
Cut the eggs in half length-wise, and scoop the yolks into a small bowl.
Rinse and dry to whites before colouring.
Colour the whites—some may need to sit in certain colours for longer than others.
Mix the yolks with mayo, djon, and chives. (Or however you like them! I assume everyone already makes deviled eggs and has their own way, so I won’t provide measurements.)
Fill the, now couloured, eggs “whites” with the yolk-filling and serve 🙂
Have a great Easter long-weekend everybody!