Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Egg Science: Homemade Natural Dyes

I wanted to play with natural egg dyes this Easter, but I didn't want to have to buy the things that I don't happen to have in my pantry right now--red onions, tumeric, blueberries, carrot tops, goldenrod... basically anything else that natural egg dye recipes typically call for.

Instead, the kiddos and I pulled pretty much all of the random spices and such out of the pantry and used what we had on hand to craft up an experimental natural egg dyes station.

Each kid wrote the name of a spice that she wanted to try on a cup--

--then added to that cup two tablespoons of that spice, one teaspoon of vinegar, and one hard-boiled egg:

Later, I came by and added two cups of boiling water--


--and then I copied the label of each cup into one of our school notebooks and had each kid make predictions about the end color of the egg.

The kiddos had a LOT of fun setting up each cup:

Although it didn't take long for Sydney, who loves this sort of play, to decide that she'd rather mix up her own egg dye concoctions:
green tea, paprika, coriander, and who knows what else?

And, of course, having our dried spearmint out reminded the girls of how much they love spearmint tea, so we did some of that, too:

About an hour was all I felt comfortable leaving the cups out at room temperature (we ALWAYS eat our Easter eggs!)--

--but it was actually pretty cool during that time to watch how many of the spices, and not just the teas, weirdly expanded due to being saturated. 

I put all the cups in the refrigerator on a low shelf so that the kids could check out the progress of their experiment whenever they wanted, and left them to steep for 24 hours. 

The next day, I brought the cups back out and lined them up again on the table, with towels in front of them, and had the kiddos decant their eggs.

I love these two photos, because Sydney, who for some reason stated that she did NOT want to participate and did NOT want to see what the eggs looked like and did NOT care...clearly is completely engaged in watching Willow do it:


The color was very faint on nearly all of the eggs, which I'd expected, frankly, from just pulling random ingredients out of the cupboard, but anything at all noticeable was looked upon as a raging success by the girls, and in a couple of cases--

--and--

--the results were actually fairly vibrant.

Next year, I think that I definitely WILL make sure to stock the pantry with red onions and blueberries and turmeric and goldenrod beforehand, so that we're ensured many more satisfying results.

There's a lot to be said, though, for Sydney finishing off the rest of the expired curry in making her concoctions. That's like multi-tasking in this house!

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