Herbs for Tea Dyeing



I love to experiment with herbs and egg dying seemed to be a fun way to see how some of our medicinal plant friends can actually color eggs.  I had been thinking about which herbs would actually dye an egg. My experience with specific herbs like turmeric would certain lend some color to the white oblong canvas.  So this got me thinking about other teas that would color eggs for Spring. I thought about some of my favorite herbs like hibiscus and elderberries. I had been introduced to another colorful tea, butterfly pea, at my market booth.

So I thought about how to best dye these eggs. Do I boil the tea and then put the eggs in a cup of tea with a shot of vinegar?  This is the more traditional way of dying eggs. I tried this and the color wasn’t bad but I had another idea. I thought about boiling the eggs and while making the tea.  So I did that as well. I prefer this way as I did not have to use vinegar. I did not however drink the tea!

The turmeric turned the white of the egg shell a lovely golden color. I was very pleased with the varying shades of gold and mustard.  The eggs also had a natural kind of stripe to them left by the hen who laid them.

I decided to use hibiscus because the tea is a lovely rich purple red color.  My first attempt was to make a cup of tea, add a splash of white vinegar. The color seem to bubble off the egg so I took a paper towel and wiped off as much as I could.  It gave it an interesting designed. My husband liked it as well and thought I had done something creative. Hah! Not really. But it does look pretty neat. So, I decided to boil the egg as I made the tea.   I did learn in graduate school was how to properly boil an egg. Apparently, I had been hard boiling eggs incorrectly for 30 years. Who knew? I brought the herbs, water and egg to a boil, turned off the flame and left it steep.  

I repeated this same process with the butterfly pea tea which makes a gorgeous blue tea. I decided to use the same two methods to see which egg would best be dyed.  I discovered as before that both eggs were the same hue. It didn’t matter whether I added the vinegar or not. I also added one of the turmeric eggs into a cup of the Butterfly Pea tea to see if I can get a green color. I did get a light pastel green.

Still to be consistent, I did the same with the elderberries. The color was very deep purple almost a dark gray.  

I did read about some other plants which could be used to dye eggs. Spirulina, if you can handle the smell, could be use for a blue color.  And of course, beet powder or juice could be used for red. I had a lot of fun working with these teas. I hope this endeavor of mine inspires you to explore and consider better ways to dye eggs.

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