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Veggie & Herb Dyes - for Easter & Beyond!

We have to admit—sometimes it’s fun to play with your food. That’s why we love to find new, kid and adult-friendly, crafts that combine artistic inspiration with good old-fashioned eats. Enter: culinary-based dyes. Looking for a good way to have fun in the kitchen? Look no further! For many, the most familiar way of dyeing with food items circles around hard-boiled eggs. Did you know that instead of artificial colors, you can use dyes made from food plants (and even scraps!)? The truth is you can go beyond the egg and dye fabrics or even color your favorite sourdough loaf with just a few ingredients. Interested? Read on ;)

Onion Skins

Whether it’s the brown skin of a yellow onion, or the deep fuschia of a red onion skin, the outer layer of these common bulbs can lend a powerful coloring agent. Most recipes consist of boiling colorful (not white) onion skins in water, straining, and then using the liquid as a dye. Depending on what you’re dyeing you may need vinegar as well. Either way, this is a wonderful dye for eggs and beyond—and one that literally turns would-be compost into a useful and beautiful addition to the kitchen.

Purple Cabbage

Cabbage might be one of the most underrated vegetables in America, and here’s one more reason why...you can make beautiful purple dyes! Yes, that’s right. Just like with onion skins many recipes “boil down” to just simmering the plant matter in water and then straining to obtain a dye. It’s best to do your homework and find out the best ways to dye what you intend to. Natural dyes can have varying chemistry, and you may need to add vinegar or make a very concentrated dye. Outer leaves are best, and avoid the white “core” of the cabbage for dyeing purposes.

Red Beets

Deep, ruby-red beets. Yep. Anyone who’s cut them in the kitchen can attest to how steadfast their color is on both hands and cutting boards. This makes them a natural pick for dyeing and they are exceptionally good at just that. Dyeing eggs usually means boiling beets in water for a dye solution. Although, you could juice beets and create a beautiful swirl to a sweet cake or dessert. Take it a step further and reduce beet juice for a beet syrup that can color cocktails, sweets, savories and more.


Cook with turmeric and it’s easy to find out how easily it stains. Turn that into something that works FOR you! With turmeric you can easily color eggs, fabric, ceramics and more. Recipes vary from creating a solution of turmeric and water for soaking, to rubbing a paste onto the surface of what you want to dye. We recommend checking out a couple recipes for your decided project to see what works best across the board.

Black Tea

Infusions of black tea have been used in China as a dye for many, many years. The Tea Egg is the best example, showcasing a beautiful marbled appearance from the way tea soaks into the cracks of a hard boiled egg. Tea can easily dye cloth for homemade crafts, or even ceramics for those that delve into playing with clay. With tea, the longer it soaks, the more color you will generally obtain. As always, do your homework to find out how experts succeed in projects similar to what you want to try.

Butterfly Pea Flowers

These blue, and sometimes purple, beauties have made a big wave on the bread-baking scene. Amazing loaves of striking artisan bread have risen to the spotlight, with the periwinkle swirls that are thread throughout the dough. You don’t have to stop there though. Give pancakes, cornbread, or even lemonade a beautiful deep, blue-purple hue! Infusions of these lovely flowers are also great for cocktails! So, how do you dye with veggies and herbs? Chime in on Facebook , Instagram or anywhere you find Moon Valley Farm produce!

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