How to Make Natural Easter Eggs
I used to dye eggs every Easer with my family growing up as a child, and while it’s been many years since then- I developed a bit of nostalgia while walking through my local grocery store looking at all of the supplies.
While strolling down the Easter isle, I was completely taken back by all of the new gadgets and tools that make egg designing so much easier than when I was a kid. But when looking through all of the festive pink, blue, yellow, green, and purple food colorings- I became super concerned with the lack of safe options for families with children when it comes to diving into this very popular Holiday tradition.
Recent studies show that food dyes carry numerous health risks including links between food dye and ADHD, and certain food allergies & sensitivities among several other negative associations:
Food Dyes Contain Carcinogens
Many artificial food dyes contain known human and animal carcinogens. A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that promotes carcinogenesis, or in other words… the formation of cancer. One of the most common carcinogens is called benzidine. It’s found in food dyes Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6- which happen to account for about 90% of dyes being used today. Tartrazine ( a yellow azo dye found in Yellow 5) is genotoxic. This means that it binds to DNA and causes damage.
Effects on the Immune System and Allergies
The small molecules that make up the dyes used in food colorings can bind to protein in food, and in the body after metabolism. In many cases, our bodies can even develop an immune response to the proteins that have been bound with food colorings, causing intolerances, hypersensitivity reactions, and allergies.
Hyperactivity, Food Dye, and ADHD
There has been a longstanding debate over whether or not food additives like food dye contribute to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but a large body of evidence supports the link, showing that kids with ADHD are sensitive to particular foods including FDA approved food dye. A large meta-analysis found that artificial food color consumption promoted hyperactivity in hyperactive children.
Understanding that many people are unaware of these links at no fault of their own, I decided that I was going to get creative this year and develop a tutorial on how to create and use natural dyes for Easter eggs this year. When you know better, you grow better!
Here are a few different ways to keep the toxic dyes out of your family’s food!
I can understand why artificial dyes tend to be more appealing to people. They’re cheap, and they have a very long shelf life. But- there are so many different natural colors from all-natural sources.
For my eggs this year, I’m going to be using the following 8 natural ingredients to dye my eggs:
Leftover brewed coffee
Green tea bags
For each of the above ingredients, I placed them separately in a small pot, and covered it with water and white distilled vinegar. Brining each ingredient to a boil, I watched as the liquid began to adapt color- thus, creating my natural dye.
When the color water was ready, I let the liquid cool, and emptied the dye into separate cups.
When all of my dyes were ready, I took my white hard boiled eggs and dropped them into each container for at least 15 minutes. Rule of thumb: Leaving the eggs in the dye for a shorter amount of time will give you a lighter pastel color. Some of the eggs that I wanted darker were left in the dye for 30 minutes, and some for up to 2 hours - which allowed me to get varying and darker tones.
By far- the most exciting part about this fun DIY Easter egg project is the egg reveal! I loved how the dyes brought out the natural texture in the eggshells, making the cracks and natural beauty just come to life for a total rustic design!
This was such a fun DIY for me, and I learned so much in the process of researching. It would make a perfect family night in, and a way to educate kids on how versatile food is, and how much fun you can have with scraps in the kitchen. Another added perk: Using non toxic dyes means NO WASTE. Shelf life of these beautiful eggs are the same as any other hard boiled eggs. Perfect decor for the holiday, then eat away!
To learn more about the health benefits of eggs click here.