Keep it Natural

Easter is my favorite holiday.

The weather is soft, plants are blooming and critters of all types are preparing for their young. It is a time of creation and fertilization.

And it is always close to, or on my birthday.

Easter is like that….it moves around. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. If the first full moon occurs on the equinox, Easter is the following Sunday.

Too early for my birthday this year, Easter is Sunday, March 27th. The spring equinox is Sunday, March 20th and the full moon is Wednesday, March 23rd.

My favorite Easter memory is when I was 7 years old. We were camping in the Shenandoah Mountains and my father woke me up very abruptly that Sunday morning telling a tale of having seen the Easter Bunny go by our campsite. Hastily I dressed and he took me by the hand and led me into the forest looking for that bunny. We followed a trail that only he could see and I caught glimpses of movement in the bushes that I knew surely must be the Easter Bunny. I remember laughing and running through the woods totally believing in the magick of a rabbit that brought colored eggs. Eventually that trail brought us right back to our campsite where the Easter Bunny had left me the most beautiful Easter basket on our picnic table.

Even as a grown woman I still find Easter magickal!

easter-838738_640One of my favorite things about Easter is of course dyeing eggs. When I was little there weren’t very many choices for how you dyed your eggs. A fizzy tablet in vinegar water and a thin wire to balance your egg on were the extent of an egg dyeing kit. Today there is an entire aisle in Walmart dedicated to egg dyeing. You can do tie dye, 24 karat gold, 3d and even glow in the dark. I’m a little scared of the glow in the dark ones…..

But as an herbalist and nature lover I am a big fan of natural dyes. They are fun and make you feel like a scientist in your kitchen. Natural dyes produce more subtle colors and every batch will be a bit different.

Here are the foods used to get the colors:

  • Magenta: Beets, use 4 cups beets, 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
  • Blue/Violet: Red Cabbage, use 4 cups cabbage, 5 cups water, 4 tablespoons vinegar. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
  • Yellow: Turmeric, use 3 tablespoons turmeric, 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar. Simmer 5 minutes.
  • Russet Red: Yellow Onion Skins, use 2 cups onion skins, 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar. Simmer 30 minutes.beets-1019580_640

For each dye, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the dyeing ingredient, cover the pot and cook for the recommended time. Strain and cool.

Use glass or metals bowls for dyeing. Ceramic or plastic will get stained. Use cool, hard-boiled eggs and soak for 10 minutes or longer to get the desired color. Transfer to a clean, empty egg carton to dry. Rub the dry eggs with a tiny bit of olive oil to make them shiny and deepen the color. Refrigerate eggs after dyeing.

So enjoy Easter and remember some bunny loves you!

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