MARQUETTE - It's that time of the year again when white eggs turn pink, green and blue as a tradition of Easter celebration. This year, egg coloring may be even more fun when using natural dyeing methods. Cricket Chiodi and her two children Bella, 5, and Solen, 2, like to make a week's project out of coloring Easter eggs the natural way. For the past few years they have colored the eggs from the chickens they raise on their farm in Marquette County, using coffee grounds, vegetables, juice and spices. For the color red, they boil the eggs with red onion skins. The color orange is created by making a dye bath with the spice turmeric. Coffee grounds turn the egg a deep brown, Chiodi said. "I've tried blueberry juice, and it just made the white egg grayish and blue," Chiodi said, adding that the colors turn out more earthy than the bright colors produced by store-bought dyeing kits. Coloring the natural way fits in well with Chiodi's goal, which is to educate her children in an environmentally friendly way. Natasha Gill of Skandia was introduced to natural egg dyeing by her sister Cassandra Vore, who had heard that the method was more environmentally friendly. "It's more environmentally friendly because you can consume part or all of the food you use to dye the eggs," Gill said, adding that leftovers can also be composted and therefore returned to the Earth. Also, most households may already have onions and coffee in their pantries, she said. "It's more fun and meaningful because you're experimenting with colors," she said. "There's the hint of the unknown because you can never be exactly sure what color the egg will be." Katy Nelson, board certified naturopathic physician in Marquette, said natural dyes have been used by mankind for centuries. "Natural dyes made from onion skins, berries, natural fruit juices or other naturally occurring edible sources of color have been used for centuries to dye fabric and fibers, skin and hair," Nelson said.
Cricket Chiodi and her children Bella, 5, and Solen, 2, check out the eggs they dyed in a coffee grounds bath. (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)