Coloring Easter Eggs 1880’s Style

Easter has come and gone, and we have our current traditions.  Some though, go back further than you might think.   Ever think about how they might have colored Easter eggs in the 1880’s?  Did they even do that back then?

Slate Run Historical farm shows us what life may have been like for a farm family in Ohio in the 1880’s.  On the weekend of Easter, a visit to the farm graced us with the way they colored eggs back then.

The image above shows a few examples.  Using vinegar and alum as a base, other things are added to give the eggs their distinct color.  Starting with the far left, cochineal (a type of insect) is used for dying things red or purple. The yellow eggs get their tint from the spice turmeric.  The third bowl contains eggs dyed from onion skin.  The last bowl used red beets for their coloring.

The staff there showed the whole process and had a sheet with the directions, if you wanted to try them in this style yourself.

Eggs can be hard boiled in the coloring, or hard boiled in water first, then put into the dye mixture later.

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