Market Veg-Dyed Easter Eggs
Tickle your Easter eggs pink with beetroot, transform a white shell to orange with onion skins, or brew up a cup of java for a milk chocolate-hued egg. Bottled artificial food colours are so yesterday! Our foodie Rachel and her son Rory turned their kitchen into a lab and started experimenting with ingredients you can buy from the market, or things you might already have in your cupboards. Here are the results:
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The Magic Colour Ingredients
  1. Buttercup yellow - Turmeric
  2. Brick orange - Brown onion skins
  3. Lipstick pink - Beetroot
  4. Soft lavender - Red cabbage on its own
  5. Milk chocolate brown - Black coffee
  6. Electric blue - Red cabbage with bicarbonate of soda
  1. Eggs
  2. Cider or white wine vinegar
  3. Bicarb of soda
  1. Duck eggs work best as their shells are big and white, giving you really bold and bright Easter eggs. Boil them for 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. For the dyes, you need to get 4 pots on the cooker. Fill each with 2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar and 500ml water. Now, here’s how to make the colours...
  3. •Buttercup yellow – add 2 heaped tbsp turmeric to one of the pots
  4. •Brick orange – add 2 mugs of crushed brown onion skins to a pot
  5. •Lipstick pink – add 1 large, coarsely grated beetroot to a pot
  6. •Soft lavender – add 1 mug of finely chopped or grated red cabbage to a pot
  7. Bring these to the boil; then simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure the water doesn’t reduce too much. Add a touch more water, if needed.
  8. For the milk chocolate brown, all you need to do is brew up a strong mug of black coffee (you can use instant or ground coffee). Let it cool, then go ahead and plonk an egg into the mug.
  9. Gather five more mugs, you’ll use these to soak the boiled eggs in the dyes. Add 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda to one of the mugs.
  10. Have a tea strainer to the ready and once the dyes have boiled up and the colours look rich, strain them into the mugs, ensuring you strain some of the purple water from the red cabbage into the mug with the bicarbonate of soda. This will turn the purple hue to blue!
  11. Now place an egg in each mug and let them soak for at least 10 minutes each. The longer you soak, the richer your colours will be. We soaked ours for 30-45 minutes and the colours were really vibrant – in fact, much nicer than ones we made with artificial dyes last year.
  12. Once your eggs are dyed, remove them with a slotted spoon and rest them in the egg carton or in egg cups to dry.
  1. To make funky patterns on your eggs, you can put star, heart or any shaped stickers on them before dying. Dip them in the colours and remove the stickers once the eggs are dry. Or make stripy and swirly patterns by fitting rubber bands around your eggs before dying.
  2. They'll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure you eat them: they’re delicious on their own with a pinch of salt or rolled in a mix of crushed cumin, coriander and paprika. Or, use them to make sandwiches, in salads or a top notch Easter Monday kedgeree - to go with it, nab some smoked fish from Dan at Veaseys.
Crystal Palace Food Market