Heritage Line Herbs is a small family farm located in South Western Ontario. After transitioning from growing tobacco nine years ago, their goal was to become a farm which would connect and sell locally, while sustainably producing organic herbs.
It�s Easter, a show of spring and a time for renewal. Herbs of Easter include chervil, tansy, hyssop, vervain, rosemary, rest harrow and mistletoe.
Just as with Passover Seder, eggs are predominant at Easter! Symbolizing new life, eggs are often decorated and given as a token of friendship, love or good wishes.
With the early burst of plants this spring, there are many herbs that may be used as natural plant dyes to decorate eggs. Deb Benner, generously shared her instructions for naturally (and locally) dyeing eggs with herbs!
Give it a try this year!
Dyeing Eggs With Herbs
- 12 white eggs, hard boiled, cooled
- 12 Carrots, cut into 1-inch thick slices
- About 5 Beets, chopped into roughly 1-inch cubes
- 1 Head of Purple Cabbage, chopped
- 1 lb Fresh Spinach Leaves, chopped
5 Tablespoons Paprika
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- At least 1 and 1/2 cups of White Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Soft-Leafed Herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, or mint
- 2 Pairs of Sheer Nylon Stockings, cut into 6-inch tubes (each pair of stockings makes about 6 tubes)
When dying eggs it is important to use pots that are not too wide because the eggs will need to be fully submerged in the dye. The wider the pot, the more water it takes to fully submerge the eggs, and the more diluted and weak the dye becomes. A deep pot that is no wider than 8 inches in diameter is ideal. Each of the four dye mixtures needs their own pot. Also, the more salt you add to your dye, the “spottier” the egg’s surface will appear.
To make the orange dye, pour five cups of water into a pot along with the chopped carrots, paprika, and 1 teaspoon, (or more for speckles), of salt. Mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and allow it to cook for 1 hour.
To make the blue dye, pour five cups of water into a pot along with the chopped cabbage and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and allow it to cook for 1 hour.
To make the pink/antique dye, pour five cups of water into a pot along with the chopped beets and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and allow it to cook for 1 hour.
To make the green dye, pour five cups of water into a pot along with the chopped spinach and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and allow it to cook for 1 hour.
Then strain each dye into it’s own bowl so that only liquid is left in the bowl. Discard the vegetables. Pour each dye into a liquid measuring cup, however many cupfuls are possible at a time, and keep track of how many cups of dye there are. Then pour the dyes back into their respective pots. For every cup of dye in each pot, add 3 teaspoons of white vinegar and stir to blend. Allow the dyes to cool for 30 minutes.
Using a paper towel or kitchen cloth, gently rub vinegar into the shells of each of the 12 eggs. Place an herb trimming on the front of the egg and arrange it in the position you want to imprint onto the egg. Set the egg down with the herb on top of it. Place your dominant hand through one of the stocking tubes so that your fingers are sticking out of the end of the tube. Then, hold the egg in that same hand with the herb facing upwards, and place your thumb or forefinger on top of the herb to keep if from moving. Using your opposite hand, gently pull the nylon over your dominant hand until the egg is in the middle of the tube. Carefully remove your dominant hand from the tube, allowing the herb to be held in place by the nylon. Grab the ends of the tube with each hand and flip the egg over so that the stencil is facing away from you. Loosely tie the two ends of the tube together behind the egg. Repeat this process with as many of the eggs as you’d like to stencil.
Dip the eggs in the dye and leave for 6 to 8 hours, longer if you want the colour to be darker. Take out of nylon and let dry for an hour.