Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cabbage Eggs

I meant to post this last week but then I didn't get to it. I mentioned that our first batch of cabbage dyed eggs didn't work and I think it was because my hand slipped while pouring the baking soda and I dumped more than I intended. So we decided to see if various amounts of baking soda affected the color of this second batch. Our experiment was to boil red cabbage leaves, make a natural vegetable dye and then test different amounts of baking soda on the dye both with and without vinegar.

Here were the results:

According to the natural egg dying lore out there, baking soda makes the dye look more teal than blue and that has always been our experience. You can see it most strongly in the second row from the bottom egg on the right. Except this time. You can judge the results of this highly unscientific experiment yourself. 

This one is deceptive. It was dyed in cabbage dye and 1 Tbl. of vinegar. The vinegar is supposed to soften the shell just slightly and help it accept the dye... kind of like sanding before you paint. Well, it turned out this really lovely blue color but as you can see...
... that was only a surface film. It rubbed off as soon as we started handling the eggs. 
When all was said and done, it was about the same as the rest.


  1. Wow! How odd it was just a film on top. I love how you turned this into a science moment. Homeschoolers are just cool like that. ;)

    Really, I think all of the eggs with the natural cabbage dye look beautiful. We have never dyed eggs with natural dyes before, but next year I would like to try it out. I'd also like to try to do the botanical eggs as well. Those turned out so lovely.

    1. Kelly,
      It's still the Easter season. Have some more fun with eggs if you want to!

  2. I think they are ALL such pretty shades of blue! (And your pictures are beautiful, as always!) What a neat experiment!

    That is really strange about the film on top. When we dyed eggs this past weekend for our Italian Easter Bread, we used vinegar with some of our (un-natural) dyes and then ran out so used just the plain dye made with the color tablet and water. The ones with vinegar did turn out much brighter, but they also lost all the coloring where ever they were touching the bread while baking. That didn't happen with the lighter pastel eggs that didn't have vinegar in the dye. I wonder if they, too, had a color film on them?

    I love that we can keep celebrating Easter. I still have a recipe for Easter cookies that I'd like to try and make this year! :)

  3. I wonder if the vinegar just reacts with something in the dye to create the film. I noticed when dying eggs with my first grader's class that some of the dye cups had what appeared to be an oily substance on the top of the liquid. We used vinegar with all of them and most of the eggs had the color rubbing off of them even after they were dry and ready to be packed up to go home. I can't say we had this problem when we dyed eggs at home, though and I used vinegar with almost all of the colors.

    All of those eggs look beautiful. Maybe someday we'll try using natural dyes.

  4. Lovely! Such pretty shades of blue (my favorite color) :)

  5. We just had this same problem with some vinegar and green food coloring. The green film wiped off on the entire egg. I am not sure how much vinegar was put in the cup (the kids were pouring). The other colors did not seem to have as dramatic a reaction.

    Your eggs are beautiful. I bought some red cabbage so we could try coloring our eggs this week - finally! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I read somewhere to wash the eggs first (family in feast & feria?). It definetly helps with crayon-resist decoration. Maybe this would help with the natural dye. We used food coloring, boiling water and vinegar--lost no color.

  7. Those are so pretty. I was bummed we didn't get to to do the natural dyes this year. Too much chaos. Next year though!


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