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How-To Make Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

The kits to dye the beloved Easter eggs cost on average $3 - $6 each which includes a pretty box and six chemical dye tablets.  This year before you purchase the kit, flip that pretty box over and take a look at the ingredients. 

We all know the dye seeps through the shell and into the egg white because we can see it.  It is scary to think that you are soaking the eggs your children will eat in chemicals found some household cleaners and other chemicals that are banned in some states. 

But why soak the eggs in chemicals to dye them, when scrapes from fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices that most people will have on hand.  Even kits, require the consumer to provide the eggs, vinegar, and water, so why not provide a safe dye too. 

Ingredients

  1. Wide Mason pint jar per color
  2. Two teaspoons of distilled white vinegar per color
  3. Masking tape
  4. Cloth or coffee filter per color
  5. 12 oz of hot water per color
  6. Color options for desired color (2 oz fresh product chopped, 1-2 tablespoon dried or powdered product (use 1 tablespoon for pale color and 2 tablespoons for darker color)

Two methods for extracting the dye

Method # 1 – Blender

Remove the end of the blender cup, move the rubber ring to below the blade, place tape counterclockwise around the rim of the quart jar.  Place hot water and colorant in the jar, place the end of the blender cup on the jar, return to blender, blend on high speed for 5 minutes.  Be careful when removing the jar, it may be very warm.  Strain plant matter out, add 2 teaspoons vinegar, and mix well.  Let cool before adding boiled eggs. Repeat for each color.

Method # 2 – Stovetop

Place water and cut up colorant in pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, strain out plant matter, add 2 teaspoons white vinegar, and mix well.  Let cool before adding the boiled egg.    Repeat for each color. 

Once the dye is ready, place the eggs in the dye for several minutes or until the egg is the desired color.  The longer it soaks, the darker the color.  To make a design on the eggs, before you place the egg in the dye jars, use a beeswax, unscented candle, crayon, or other safe wax to draw on the dry eggs. 

Colorants

Herbs, Spices, Fruits and Vegetable for Colorant (Make sure that anything you use for dye is food grade and organic if possible).

  • Reds and Pinks – Red beets, raspberries, Hibiscus flowers gentle red, Madder root is a deep red, Moroccan red clay brick red color, sorrel is soft pink, Lady’s bedstraw root coral pink, Tomato puree – light red
  • Yellow. Gold, and Orange – carrot juice, Cayenne and Paprika infused oil salmon color, Safflower infused or ground is deep yellow to orange, Turmeric is bright yellow to warm amber depending on amount, Anatto seeds is buttery gold to pale yellow, more for darker color, Buriti oil is deep orange added at trace bright yellow to citrus orange, Agrimony (Arunibud So) leaves and stems Brass/Yellow
  • Purple – Alknet – lavender to muted blue, Rattanjot power deep brownish purple color add to lye solution, Red Sandalwood steep in oil nice warm purple
  • Blue – Blue berries, black berries, Woad leaves blue to blue green color, Indigo Root is natural blue, Alkanet root flowers produce blue and roots produce red
  • Green – French Green Clay is pale green, Herbs like alfalfa, dill, parsley, sage, kale, peppermint are muted green, spirulina powder is bright green and drys to mossy green.

To keep things more interesting for pre-teens, make their eggs brown and black so the eggs blend in and are harder to find.

  • Grey/black – Activated charcoal, Beach Sunflower seeds (Helianthus debillis) – dark purple to black
  • Brown – 1.  Coffee –brewed coffee or use 2 teaspoons instant coffee.  2.  Cocoa – deep dark brown 3.  Cinnamon and cloves

 Happy hunting. 

 

 

Making Tinctures at Home

Tinctures can be made with different solvent (called menstruum). Tinctures are the most common method for taking herbal medicine. When making the tinctures, first select the solvent needed to pull the healing properties from the plant matter (flowers, leaves, roots, etc.) based on best practices for the herb(s) and the patient. Making tinctures is a little more complex than just selecting on of the menstruum below and adding herbs.

  • Alcohol – if over 25% of fluid is alcohol, it will act as a preservative. Tincture made with alcohol have the longest shelve life.
  • Vinegar – acidifies solution increasing solubility of minerals and alkaloids
  • Glycerin – is utilized when giving tinctures to children because it is sweet and really help cover the bitter taste of a lot of herbs. Glycerin is also used if giving medicine to an alcoholic.

When making a tincture fresh or dried herbs can be utilized.  Most tinctures recipes call for the use of alcohol that is 80% proof (40% alcohol and 60% water).  The main difference between using fresh and dry herbs is you have to account for the water inside the herbs.  To determine the amount of water, take 100 grams of fresh herbs and use the oven/toaster oven to dry the herbs.  Now weight the herbs again.  The difference in current weight (50g) and the original 100g, so in this example the herb contained 50% water.  You can use any amount to compare weight of fresh and dried, but I like to use 100 because it makes the math easy enough to do in my head. 

Now if you are thinking this sounds a little complicated… we still haven’t covered that some herbs require a stronger than 80% proof alcohol.  Plants like Lavender, Milk Thistle, Myrrh, rosemary require the use of Everclear or 190 proof corn grain moonshine (if legal in your state). 

Tinctures should be done utilizing guideline that are being adopted by the herbal community, this way when you buy a tincture from one person, it is the same from the next herbalist.

Herb Log

Keeping a log of the basic information about ingredients and recipes utilized to make each tincture.

  • Plant Name
  • Date Harvest
  • Date of Production
  • Fresh Herbs Weight
  • Dry Herb Weight
  • Weight to Volume
  • Total Menstruum
  • % Alcohol
  • Total Alcohol
  • Total Water

Store the tincture in a dark colored bottle in a dark cool location and the tincture is good for 2 years, dry herbs are good for 1 year stored in air-tight jar, and fresh herbs are only good for about a week stored in the refrigerator.

If you are the consumer, you should keep a log of all herbs you utilize and discuss it with your doctor “BEFORE” starting a new herbal regiment, also do your homework and study the herb, write a list of questions to discuss with your doctor. Anytime you see a medical professional, make sure you tell them the herbs and any prescription medication you take. Some herbs and prescription drugs are not compatible.

Top 40 Medicinal Herbs to Grow at Home

Herbs growing in the backyard are the best because the owner knows what has been done to the plants piror to harvest. 

 

Here is a list of 40 medicinal herbs that can grow in a windowsill or backyard. 

  1. Aloe
  2. Arnica
  3. Artemesia
  4. Bar Berry
  5. Basil
  6. Berberine
  7. Burdock
  8. Calendula
  9. Catnip
  10. Cayenne
  11. Chamomile
  12. Cilantro
  13. Clack Walnut hull
  14. Clove
  15. Comfrey
  16. Dandelion
  17. Echinacea
  18. Garlic
  19. Ginger
  20. Hawthorne
  21. Hyssop
  22. Juniper
  23. Lavender
  24. Lemon Balm
  25. Lemongrass
  26. Marshmallow
  27. Milk Thistle
  28. Motherwort
  29. Mullen
  30. Oregano
  31. Peppermint
  32. Plantain
  33. Rosemary
  34. Sage
  35. St. John’s wort
  36. Thyme
  37. Turmeric
  38. Valerian
  39. White Willow
  40. Yarrow

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