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Food Science

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: All-natural Easter egg dyes

by Manny I. Fox Morone
April 15, 2022

A basket of four colored eggs alongside and four white eggs with chemical structures on them. The structures represent anthocyanins, curcumin, quercetin, and betanin.
Credit: Martina Hestericova

“Dying eggs for Easter is a tradition in my home country, Slovakia. I have fond memories of boiling onion peels with my grandma and submerging the freshly collected eggs into the warm brown liquid,” says Martina Hestericova. Now that Martina is an adult and understands the chemistry of dying eggs—and even uses tricks from her PhD studies to make colorful ones—she feels even more connected to her grandmother and their traditions. That onion technique is how Martina made the brown egg above, and the other colors come from soaking eggs in blended vegetables: purple comes from beets, blue from cabbage, and yellow from turmeric root. She then drew structures of the molecules in each dye that create the colors.

For the blended vegetables dyes, she adds a bit of vinegar, which gives the egg shells a positive charge and ensures that the dye molecules stick. Watch her video tutorial here.

Now a science communicator on social media and a science communications manager at Lonza, you can follow Hestericova on Instagram and on Twitter @DrHestericova

Credit: Martina Hestericova

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