Volume 95 Issue 15 | p. 27
Issue Date: April 10, 2017

Periodic graphics: Dyeing Easter eggs

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning explains the chemistry behind the tradition
By Andy Brunning
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: food ingredients, Easter eggs, dyeing
 

To download a pdf of this article, visit cenm.ag/eastereggs.


References used to create this graphic:

The Science Behind a Perfectly Dyed Easter Egg


To see more of Brunning’s work, go to compoundchem.com. To see all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics, visit cenm.ag/periodicgraphics.


This article has been translated into Spanish by Divulgame.org and can be found here.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Comments
Alicja Koprianiuk (Fri Apr 14 19:47:40 EDT 2017)
We use onion skin to colour the eggs deep brown. This is popular in Eastern Europe.
J Unikowski (Fri Apr 28 07:33:16 EDT 2017)
That's certainly true. Also carrot peelings & mint leaves are popularly used to dye the eggs orange & green, respectively.
Robert Buntrock (Wed Mar 28 16:29:43 EDT 2018)
Boling eggs with onion skins and vinegar is a German custom as well, practiced by immigrant grandparents and first-generation parents as well (I never had dyed eggs growing up). My wife and I have continued the custom in addition to dyed eggs and I just collected some onion skins at the market today to color a few this year.
A. Anderson (Wed Mar 28 15:04:58 EDT 2018)
To get an even more intense color, add 3 drops of conc. HCl to a cup along with the usual amount of acetic acid, but don't overdo it, or the acid will attack the calcium carbonate in the shell. If you dip the egg into each of the dyes, it will be colored black. It's always fun to draw a skull and crossbones on the egg first using a crayon and label it "pirate's egg". The kids always got a kick out of watching me eat that egg.
Robert Buntrock (Wed Mar 28 16:30:49 EDT 2018)
Thanks, I'll stick with vinegar, more likely to be edible.

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