Friday, April 2, 2010

Coloring Easter Eggs Using Natural Dyes and Egg Free Options

Yesterday, I had a compliance test to take for my job downtown, I love the hustle and bustle of the Loop. As I was walking to the bus stop to get home again, I came across the Chicago Downtown Farmstand on 66 E. Randolph, where the focus is on local with hundreds of products made within 250 miles of Chicago. They have lunchtime programs on Wednesday and Fridays featuring cooking demonstrations using seasonal ingredients. Since being diagnosed with allergies, I have seen lots of talk about the way our food is processed and handled having a hand in the number of people afflicted, so I try to buy local and organic when I can and spread the word on great organizations like the Chicago Downtown Farmstand.

Even though it was a Thursday, they had a special demonstration in honor of Easter - natural dyes for easter eggs. I apologize to those of you with egg allergies, but don’t worry, I will give some egg free options as well.

Chef Melissa Graham ran the demonstration runs the blog Little Locavores and non-for-profit group Purple Asparagus. Little Locavores is a blog that focuses on eating fresh foods grown locally, with an emphasis on farmer’s markets. Purple Asparagus works to be a resource for the community for food-related activities, education and fun for families.

Melissa had some interesting natural dyes that had beautiful results, please share with us any natural options you have tried.

Yellow onion skins - lovely beige shade
Red onion skins - purplish
Blanched spinach - green (this needs to sit for a while to get a good green)
Boiled beets - red
Leftover coffee - brown
Tomato powder mixed w/vinegar - orange
Red wine - purplish color with a sparkly sheen – My favorite!

For those of you that can’t eat egg try these fun options:
- Get the plastic eggs and fill them with your favorite treats or money and use a glue gun to add gems and sparkles to the outside of the egg.
- Go to Michael’s and get the Styrofoam eggs and some fabric scraps, gems and sparkles, use glue guns to create your egg masterpiece.
- Pick another object besides an egg, like little toy bunnies or chicks and make a new family tradition, or make a game where you find a bunch of items in an Easter treasure hunt in your neighborhood.
- Have everyone start at the same place in the house, everyone has a color string assigned to them, they have to follow their string thru the house, at the end of the string is their basket full of safe goodies. It is so fun to see everyone unwinding their string.

Happy Easter and Passover!

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