Dyeing eggs for the easter holiday

About.com has a nice guide on how to color eggs, and the list of colors is quite impressive (click for instructions):

Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice

Violet Blue
Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)

Canned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice

Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Liquid Chlorophyll

Greenish Yellow
Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)

Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Celery Seed (boiled)
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled)

Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)

Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)

Cranberries or Juice
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets

Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)

More information about the chemistry behind can be found in the article “Chemistry in the dyeing of eggs” (Journal of Chemical Education, 1987, 291). The article discusses anionic dyes with sulfonate groups. These bond to the cuticle (protein) covering the egg shell forming salt linkages as shown (illustrated using FD&C yellow no. 6):


By lowering the pH (for example by adding vinegar), more amino groups in the proteins covering the egg shell are protonated and thus available for formation of the salt linkages with the anionic dyes.


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