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Turn Dying Easter Eggs Into a Fun "Science" Experiment!
Submitted by Pam on Wed, 03/20/2013 - 17:20
Kool-aid is not the only way to add color to eggs dyed with yellow onion skins! In this post, I am sharing my results while experimenting with food coloring and natural food based dyes.
My favorite? Blueberry juice! The one right on top in the picture above!
I have only scratched the surface while testing food based dyes - and by food based dyes I mean things like blueberry juice, beet juice, pomegranate juice, spinach juice…… Mention was made that color could be added using things like beet juice and spinach juice in this post on Nami Nami and I just had to do some experimenting!
Because I was testing several different coloring agents, I only tested three in each group - Kool-aid, natural food based juices, and liquid food coloring!
As you can see above, liquid food coloring seemed to produce the least color impact. (But that could be because I didn't add enough dye to the water.)
Kool-aid used as a dye gave beautiful color results - the best actually - but not without turning them into Dinosaur Eggs!
As with the Kool-aid dinosaur eggs, the dying process is begun by collecting dry YELLOW onion skins. Bring fresh eggs up to room temperature, wrap in a layer of onion skins and then in a layer of foil.
Fill sauce pans with about 4 - 5 cups of coloring solution, bring to boil and gently lower the foil wrapped eggs into the solution. Boil 5-7 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit until cool.
As you can see above, a little of the foil packet was exposed after the boiling process (evaporation). I simply added a little more water so that the egg was completely covered in dye bath while cooling.
Don't rush the cooling time. Leave the eggs in the water at least an hour for best results. Have some hardboiled eggs on hand and let the kids play with some "edible pysanky" while waiting for the "onion skin" eggs to cool.
Beginning with natural food based dyes -
from left to right: "control" - pure yellow onion skin: blueberry juice made from mashing and boiling and straining frozen blueberries: pomegranate/raspberry bottled juice.
First of all, I can't imagine kids not having as much fun with this method of egg dying as I did!! Unwrapping each little package to find the surprise design that appeared on the egg surface - it's almost like Christmas!!
And bonus! Your eggs are dyed and boiled in one step!
Again, the "control" egg - this is exactly what can be expected if no other coloring agent is added. The swirled design on every egg will be different, but all pretty much the same color.
My favorite food based dye so far - blueberry juice!
Curiosity led me to experiment with several food based egg dyes a couple years ago, and blueberry was the hands down winner then too! Beet juice worked well also. If you are interested, you can see my results in this post, but of those tested so far, blueberry and beet seem to produce the strongest colors.
For best results, cut or mash veggies or fruit, boil and strain before using as a dye bath. And don't skimp! I used two cups of blueberries to 4 cups of water.
I have been told that pomegranate juice is a good dye; but since I am not a huge fan of picking juicy red seeds out of all that pith, I decided to try commercially bottle juice instead. My sweetie happened to have a bottle of pomegranate/raspberry juice in the fridge so I boiled an onion skin wrapped egg in about 4 cups of juice.
As you can see in the comparison photo there is definitely a slight shift toward the red spectrum, but not worth wasting good juice over. Bottled juices are probably not a good option. But good to know! Right?
Liquid food coloring results from left to right - blue: green: red
I did not try combinations - like turquoise or purple. I'll leave that to you!!!
My favorite from this group was the egg boiled in the "blue brew".
All three colors clearly tinted the egg designs but I think a more saturated dye solution is needed to produce dramatic results.
For the experiment, I used 4 to 5 cups of water and 12 drops of food color. (I did not add vinegar to the water as most kids do not like the smell!)
I do think kids (including "big" kids) will enjoy experimenting and playing around with both food colors and with natural food based dyes. Kids love "experiments" after all and this one not only appeals to the little scientist inside, it also provides pretty eggs to hide… and eat!!
Here again is the link to that little food safe variation for Pysanky eggs to keep kids hands busy while waiting for their "experiments" to cool!