Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Natural Eco Easter Eggs - Old Traditions Are Now Green

Cloudy and cold, but the sky is clear.

Creating a natural eco friendly Easter Basket might at first seem daunting but it's more about simply learning a new way, a greener way. Who would ever guess that the old traditions of dying Easter Eggs would make a comeback as the new green way.

We (our society) haven't always had red dye number 40, or 2, or all those other not-so-good-for-you dyes. Yet folks world wide have been decorating eggs for thousands of years. Like dying other things such as fabrics or rugs, people used dyes from nature (they didn't really have much choice). Imagine a human long ago eating a pomegranate, and noticing the beautiful stain it produced. Eventually the light bulb went off, and people started "staining" their belongings.

Eggs have been associated with special "events". Humans have this relentless desire to decorate. And so we have, the special event decorated egg, i.e. the Easter Egg.

My Aunty grew up Pennsylvania Dutch Country so I was used to eggs dyed from beets and onion skins. I always thought they were "old fashioned" and maybe a little boring. But not now. There are also a lot more options for dying besides beets and onions.

Before you get started, it's best to start with fresh white eggs, preferably local farm eggs (otherwise you could get eggs that have been stored for months). That way, once they are cooked, you can keep them for a long time to snack on. (keep in the frig aside from the quick decorative day)

Natural dyes do work best when boiled to help set the dye to the egg, a splash of vinegar in the water helps too. So for each dye batch, you will need to boil the eggs covered with water, the dye and vinegar. This can be the initial boiling of the eggs, so you will want to boil them for 5 minutes. Then just let them sit to cool for several hours for best dying results.

Here is a list of natural dyes that you can use for your eggs:

Blue - blueberries, red cabbage

Pink - Beets

Reddish - red onion skins

Yellow- onions skins, turmeric

Green - spinach, fresh, tear up leaves

Brown - coffee, black tea

And what to put them in? Who doesn't have a stash of old baskets around some where? Or a pretty bowl, or anything that can seem "nesty". This definitely can be a time to "reuse" (remember the 3 Rs, reduce ,reuse, recycle). If you really don't have a nesty looking appropriate basket, there are many wonderful fair trade, hand made grass baskets on the market.

You can get creative with the nesty bit too. There is shredded brown paper or you can shred your own. Or you can roll up fabric, a new organic t-shirt, and create a nest. (make sure the eggs don't stain it) There are many creative options. (The plastic grass has only been around a couple of decades.) So...

Happy Easter - Naturally!

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