• Farmer Brett

Dying farm fresh duck eggs with natural dyes

Dying farm fresh ducks eggs with natural dyes, I have learned, is not the same as dying store bought chicken eggs with natural dyes. Farm fresh duck eggs have their natural bloom intact.


Don’t use vinegar to dye farm fresh duck eggs with natural dyes. If you want to learn more about how I figured that out, read this blog post.


STEP 1: HARD BOIL THE EGGS

It's not just dying that is different between duck and chicken eggs. Cooking them is also different. Besides being larger, duck eggs have less water and more albumen and fat. Also, for the natural dying process we are adding boiling hot water to the eggs, so they need to be slightly undercooked to start or they will be overcooked after the dying. I use a modified version of the Salt in my Coffee instructions to boil my duck eggs.


1. Put the duck eggs in a pan, and fill it with enough cold water to cover the eggs. Bring to a full

rolling boil. Boil for one minute.

2. Turn off heat. Put a well-fitting cover on the pan, and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.

3. After 10 minutes, drain the hot water and cover the eggs with ice water. Let sit for 20 minutes. Drain the cold water. They are ready to dye!


STEP 2: PREPARE THE DYING SOLUTIONS

These instructions work for up to three duck eggs per color. If you are dying goose eggs, you’ll want to account for their size and might need to use a bit more water and larger jars or do fewer eggs.


SUPPLIES

  • One jar for each color. I use 12 and 16 ounces with lids, mostly old salsa or tahini or similar jars. You could use mugs or other vessels too.

  • Slotted spoon or skimmer

  • Saucepan(s)

  • Mesh strainer (optional)

  • Measuring cup (optional)

  • Grater (if you do beets or fresh turmeric)

  • Paring knife (if you do fresh turmeric)

  • Chopping knife (if you do cabbage)

  • Potato masher (if you do blueberries) (you could use a fork instead)


RED

BEETS

I had mixed results with beets.

Grate 1-2 red beets, including the peel. Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove beet pieces with a slotted spoon. Pour the liquid over hard boiled eggs in a jar while the water is still hot. Using the mesh strainer removes any small bits still floating in the water. Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.


ORANGE

YELLOW OR RED ONION SKINS

Peel about 6 largish red or yellow onions. The peels don't need to be fresh, so this could be peels you’ve saved from cooking onions. Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove onion skin pieces with a slotted spoon. Pour the liquid over hard boiled eggs in a jar while the water is still hot. Using the mesh strainer removes any small bits still floating in the water. Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.



YELLOW

GROUND TURMERIC

Put 3 TBSP ground turmeric in the bottom of the jar and place the eggs on top of it. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over the eggs and turmeric. Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.



FRESH TURMERIC

Peel and grate about 3 ounces, or a little over 2 inches, of turMeric. Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove turmeric pieces with a slotted spoon.


Pour the liquid over hard boiled eggs in a jar while the water is still hot. Using the mesh strainer removes any small bits still floating in the water.


Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.



GREEN

STASH WILD RASPBERRY HIBISCUS TEA

Put 4 tea bags into 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Move the tea bags to the jar with the eggs and pour the water directly over the eggs. Let it cool on the counter. Remove the tea bags when the water is cool. Then put in the refrigerator. If you use a different variety of hibiscus (or “zinger”) tea you will get a different color. I tried four varieties.



BLUE

RED CABBAGE

Chop about 6-7 ounces of red cabbage. This is about a quarter of a large head or half of a small head of cabbage. Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove cabbage pieces with a slotted spoon. Pour the liquid over hard boiled eggs in a jar while the water is still hot. Using the mesh strainer removes any small bits still floating in the water. Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.



PURPLE


BLUEBERRIES

If frozen, let the blueberries partially thaw. Mash 1 cup of blueberries. Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and remove blueberry pieces with a slotted spoon. Pour the liquid over hard boiled eggs in a jar while the water is still hot. Using the mesh strainer removes any small bits still floating in the water. Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.


PURPLE GRAPE JUICE

Pour enough grape juice to fully submerge the eggs. Leave on the counter with the other jars and put in the refrigerator later. The effect is really different from the other dyes! They are multicolored--heavy on the purple--and sort of sparkly or glittery. They have a sort of shell.


We used 100% Concord grape juice from a jar.

HIBISCUS FLOWERS

Add ½ cup of dried hibiscus flowers to 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Removing the flower pieces with a slotted spoon is optional. Pour the liquid over hard boiled eggs in a jar while the water is still hot. Using the mesh strainer removes any small bits still floating in the water. Let it cool on the counter then put it in the refrigerator.



STEP 3: SOAK THE EGGS

Soak the eggs for up to 24 hours. The longer you soak the eggs, the more intense the colors will be. For some of the dying agents, they need at least 6-10 hours to create significant color.


STEP 4: ENJOY!







If you decide all this is too much fuss and using food coloring is the right path for you, duck and goose eggs take the color exceptionally well! When I have used food coloring to dye fresh duck eggs in the past I have simply followed the instructions on the box, including using vinegar, and it has worked like a charm!

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