An Easter without dyed Easter eggs wouldn't be much fun at all. And why waste money on artificial Easter egg dye, especially when you've already grown your own natural Easter grass and made a basket from recycled containers?
Natural egg dye is easy to make using berries, vegetables, and spices, and you can create just about any color you want, from pastels to deep hues. The results vary from batch to batch, which adds to the fun in my book. In some cases you can have your dye and eat it, too! We will be having pickled red cabbage some night soon, with mashed berries over ice cream for desert. Even if you don't eat the dye leftovers, you can toss them in the compost pile.
At our farm, eggs come in creams, browns, olive, and even pale blue-green—right from the chickens—so we usually enjoy those as is (you can dye non-white eggs if you enjoy the antiqued shades you will get). For clear, bright colors you’ll want to use white eggs. Store-bought eggs are ready to hard-boil as soon as you get them home, but if you buy eggs directly from a farmer, you'll need to wait until they're a week old. Fresher eggs haven't absorbed enough air to make an air pocket inside, and the result will be almost impossible to peel.
Prepping Your Eggs
Most folks I know dye hard-boiled eggs, but you can also blow the stuffing out of raw eggs and dye the empty shells. To blow a raw egg, you need either a heavy pin (a corsage pin is good) or a long, sharp needle, and a plastic straw (the kind with a bend in it). Use the pin to poke a hole slightly larger then the end of the straw in one end of the egg, and carefully remove the bits of shell. Insert the pin through the hole and stir the contents to break them up a bit.
Hold the hole end of the egg over a bowl, insert the straw into the hole and blow into the other end to force air into the shell. This will cause the yolk to come out the same hole you're blowing into, which is why it's important to make the initial hole bigger than your straw. Rinse the inside of the empty shell and let it dry.