I tried natural Easter egg dyes for the first time this year. These eggs are dyed blue using purple cabbage, which takes a little longer than onions skins. I read several different sites for how to make natural-dyed eggs. I ended up combining several different techniques—here is what I did:
One medium head of purple cabbage, sliced
Large white eggs
Four tablespoons white vinegar and/or two teaspoons cream of tartar
Hose (I used knee-highs, which were $1 for three pair)
Assorted leaves, flowers, and stickers
Four to five quart pan
Rack placed over paper bags
1. First, I washed all of the eggs with soap to make sure they were free of oil or grease, but this is probably optional.
2. Place an egg in the pan and fill it with enough water to cover the top of the egg by at least an inch. Remove the egg.
3. Add the cabbage and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes partially covered to minimize evaporation, stirring occasionally. The water should be a deep purple.
4. Allow water to cool slightly, and then strain contents over a bowl, pressing pulp to remove any remaining liquid.
5. Rinse pan, pour in dye water, cover, and return to low heat to keep warm while preparing eggs.
6. Cut off the bottom 4 to 5 inches of each knee-high.
7. One at a time, place leaves, flowers, and stickers on the egg as desired. Some of the plant materials will stick better if you dip them in water first.
8. Place the toe of the knee-high on the top of your fingers and turn it inside out so that it covers your hand. Place the egg in your hand, and gently turn the hose right side out to cover the egg. Make sure your design is how you want it, and then pull the hose securely and tie into a knot on the back. Repeat with remaining eggs.
9. Return dye to a gentle boil and stir in vinegar and/or cream of tartar.
10. Gently lower the eggs in the pan and boil for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand for about 3 hours, or until desired color is obtained.
11. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place on rack to cool slightly.
12. Carefully cut hose and unwrap eggs. Discard any remaining plant materials or stickers.
13. Dampen a paper towel lightly with oil and buff eggs until shiny. Remove excess oil with clean paper towel.
14. Place eggs in your Easter basket!
Note: I read that alum (available with pickling supplies) works better than vinegar or cream of tartar with purple cabbage, and it might actually cut down the extended dying time quite a bit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any easily this year, but I plan to try it next year.