In the modern era, Easter Sunday generally falls on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon (i.e., the first full moon of Spring in the northern hemisphere, or the first full moon occurring after the date of the vernal equinox), and as such, can fall on any day between March 22 and April 25. This year Easter Sunday falls on April 16th.
One of the highlights of the Easter season when I was a kid was the annual dyeing of the Easter eggs. Remember Paas dyes? Eggs are very obvious symbols of resurrection and continuing life; early humans thought the return of the sun from winter darkness was an annual miracle, and saw the egg as a natural wonder and proof of the renewal of life. All manner of rabbits are said to lay eggs on Easter Day!
Dyeing Easter eggs is a fun activity you can do with your kids, and there are plenty of all-natural dye recipes you can make from ingredients found in your pantry to create beautifully subdued shades. Nothing like turning a little crafty Easter fun into a science project for the little ones as they mix and match spices. Be sure to take pictures!
A bit of practical Easter “magic” that is more science than lore: purchase white-shelled eggs a week ahead and store them in the refrigerator prior to cooking. Week-old eggs peel more easily than fresh ones after they are hard-cooked.
All-natural Egg Dyes
Simply add any of the following ingredients to boiling water and cook until you get the colors you are after. Note: eggs will dry a lighter color than what’s in the pot, so add more ingredients if need be, to get the desired colors. Strain the ingredient (if necessary) and add vinegar to each dye. Allow each color to cool a bit before dyeing the hardboiled eggs. Leave eggs soaking in the dye in the refrigerator overnight for the richest colors – the longer you soak the eggs, the more intense the color.
Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water, bring to room temperature, and remove blueberries.
Cut 1/4 head of red cabbage into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.
Peel the skin from 6 yellow apples. Simmer in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer 4 oz. chopped fennel tops in 1-1/2 cups of water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Rich yellow: Simmer 4 oz. chopped carrot tops in 1-1/2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer several threads of saffron in 2 cups water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Yellow-gold: Stir 2 Tbsp. cumin or turmeric into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Various shades: Steep 4 bags of chamomile or green tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.
Pale yellow: Chop 4 oz. goldenrod and simmer in 2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Faint yellow: Simmer the peels of 6 oranges in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. vinegar.
Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
Stir 2 Tbsp. paprika into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
Simmer 2 Tbsp. dill seed in 1 cup water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.
Faint pink: Chop 4 oz. amaranth flowers and simmer in 2 cups water; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer the skins from 6 avocados in 1-1/2 cup water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Mix 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Dark pink: Cut 1 medium beet into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets.
Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Steep hibiscus tea bags in hot water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.