A couple years ago I did a post about natural Easter egg dyes. They turned out great and only took a few hours of prep and soaking combined. This week, a friend asked if the technique would work with brown eggs. Good question. I thought it would and since we always get pastured brown eggs from the farmer I figured I would try it out. So here are my notes for doing brown eggs.
The method is the same. Four cups of foodstuff chopped up (I used my food processor) into a quart of water, 3 tbsp for the turmeric which is dried spice. Onion skins go a long way so you might even get away with 2 cups especially with the brown eggs.
Orange: Yellow Onion skins
Green: Red Cabbage + Turmeric
Blue: Red Cabbage (For more navy blue tones, add blueberries)
Violet: Red Cabbage + BeetsTo make the dyes, use 4 cups of chopped or grated (beets, cabbage, onion skins) with one quart of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Turmeric is 3 tbsp powdered spice per quart. Bring to a boil, then cover and keep at a hard simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the dye into a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of salt. Let cool until not steaming, then soak your hard boiled eggs for 30 minutes in the dye. For all colors except red, rinse and set on a napkin to dry. The colors will intensify somewhat when dry.
One thing I added this year, mostly because they were freezer burned because R left them uncovered in a bowl in there for weeks, was ¾ cup frozen blueberries to the red cabbage mixture. I wanted to boost the blue a bit for brown egg dying.
Big Tip #1: Heated dye works better.
Big Tip #2: Multiple coats are your friend for the reds.
So for the red/pink, I did the normal 30 minute soak and then took them out carefully to set on a napkin to dry. Really, additional coats after that can just be dipped in to get the best coverage and set to dry again. There will be a prettier side and a not so pretty side. I reheated the dye when it cooled off and did a few more coats. I think there were at least 10 dunks to get what you see in the picture, but it only takes a second to dunk and set out. Remember not to rinse the reds or purples.
For the orange, I had enough dry onion skins to fill a 2 Qt pan. Those eggs I only soaked for 10-15 minutes since the dye looked very concentrated. You will want to check on them every 5 minutes or so after 10 minutes.
The yellow also only soaked for about 15 minutes. These eggs you will want to rinse since the turmeric leaves a powdery residue. Be careful! Turmeric stains big time.
The green turned out a little different because I didn't mix the dyes like last time, I did a double soak. First in blue, then in yellow. I think I like the mix better, but I still got some nice mossy greens. Those two eggs were different browns, the one in front a very light brown. The one in back really took the blue dye more.
Blue was an easy and straight forward soak. I gave it another 15 minutes with reheated dye to get them nice and saturated with color.
Lastly were the purples. Starting with a nice saturated blue soak, then a shorter soak in the red and a few extra coats of red added on to dry. Same technique as for the plain red. No rinsing when done.
I think the brown eggs turned out great and actually look almost the same as the white eggs with natural dyes. Perhaps a smidge darker and more of a saturated color effect. They did take a little bit more time to get the results I wanted. But I didn't have to worry about getting eggs I wouldn't normally buy. So there you go. If you want to try brown eggs for dying, it works just fine!