Last week my daughter went on an outbreak of relentless questions about Easter – “Who said we have to look for colored eggs?” and “Why do we color eggs?” and “How do you color eggs?”
The first two questions were doozies. We told her of the legend, Simon of Cyrene, to use the same language as the school’s faith-based teachings. Plus her school and homework packet included an Easter egg project, so it tied in well to stories she’s heard in the classroom. What baffled me was her last question. Since my children were born and egg hunting became a yearly tradition, I never realized the effects of today’s modern plastic eggs until recently. Yes, they are convenient and have the capability of being filled with a variety of goodies – chocolate, toys and even monetary value. Due to my daughter’s high sensitivity to dye, coloring eggs just never occurred to us…until she asked her daunting question.
We have all dyed eggs at one time or another. And most of us probably used the pre-packaged dyes from PAAS. For my daughter, ingesting dye was one thing, but playing with it - - we just didn’t want to take the chance to find out her reaction. So my husband and I researched ways to dye eggs using natural ingredients. We found so many possibilities to give her the experience to answering her own question, and here a few ideas we used:
Two handfuls of guava leaves (other leaves will work, but this is one we had in our garden) in a pan with four cups of water and bring to a boil. Strain out the leaves and let the water cool to room temperature. Then add two tablespoons of vinegar.
Strain a 16oz can of beets and add 1 cup of boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Then add two tablespoons of vinegar.
Chop a ¼ head of red cabbage and boil in four cups of water. Strain cabbage and let the water cool to room temperature. Then add two tablespoons of vinegar.
Remove the skins of four onions and simmer in two cups of water for approximately 20 minutes. Strain skins and let the water cool to room temperature. Then add two tablespoons of vinegar.
To add more creativity to her eggs, she detailed designs with a birthday candle. The wax worked similar to a pencil. She truly enjoyed this experience, and we knew she was safe from any allergic reactions to dye because every color we used is a natural. Give it a try!