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):

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

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

Blue
Canned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice

Green
Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Liquid Chlorophyll

Greenish Yellow
Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)

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

Brown
Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)

Orange
Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)

Pink
Beets
Cranberries or Juice
Raspberries
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets

Red
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):

egg-colouring.jpg

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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