Let me start with the fact that I made a BIG mess in my kitchen doing this project. I also had a lot of fun. I've been wanting to make my own food coloring for a while, not only because it seems like a good idea, but because I love the colors I've seen produced from vegetable dye. I had some wins and some losses with this project. Green was a fail. I used my juicer to extract the color, then cooked it down, adding a few tablespoons of vinegar to ready it for dying eggs. I tried to make green using spinach. Unfortunately the meaty plant part separated from the water part and it became kind of pulpy. No prob, I strained it, but then when I cooked it, it turned brown. That's not green! I tried it without cooking it, but the dye wouldn't stick to the egg. So no true green. Boo hiss. I read that you could boil yellow apples to make light green, or red onion to make jade, but I was looking for kelly, so I moved on. I did have some big wins. I made blue! This involves some chemistry, which was very exciting for my little helper Wylie. This is a great activity to do with little kids! Scroll down for my vegetable dye recipes.
To make blue: Juice a half head of red cabbage. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, this will reduce the water, rendering a thicker dye. Add 2 tablespoon of white vinegar. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and allow to cool. Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Allow to foam, stirring occasionally until combined.
To make yellow: Juice yellow carrots and a tumeric root. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add a few saffron threads. Cook until reduced, add vinegar. Strain through a fine sieve.
To make red: Juice beets and purple carrots. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until reduced, add vinegar. Strain through a fine sieve.
To note: the dyes can easily be applied to frosting. Simply omit the vinegar and stick to sweet vegetables like beets, cabbage, and carrots. Their flavor profile will be masked by the sugar.
So, I'm no master Easter egg artist. I simply roll my hard boiled eggs around in the dye and let them air dry. I blended colors to give some variation to the eggs. I think they turned out quite nice... Now I just need some one to come and clean this joint!