The Not-So-Dirty Dozen
The dirty dozen is a list of twelve top priority foods to buy organic. Aside from the amount of pesticides used, one of the biggest reasons peaches, apples, strawberries, cherries, grapes and spinach are on this list, while pineapples, bananas and avocados are not, is the nature of their skin.
All foods in the dirty dozen are thin skinned and usually eaten with the skin on or peeled to just beneath the surface. It makes sense then, to urge people to chose organic when eating these foods to reduce the amount of pesticides consumed due to the easy and rapid assimilation of anything applied to their skin. What doesn’t make sense is that we often fail to apply this conscious consumer mindset to the way we treat similar foods within our own homes.
This spring many people will make a special trip to buy fresh organic, cage free eggs to dye an eclectic hue of pastel colors and serve at brunch or hide around the house on Easter morning.
Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, school or community projects will most likely have your kids or friends hand dipping eggs into bowls of baby blues, rosy reds, pastel pinks and grassy greens, for the pure joy of springtime celebration.
But, as the shell is shattered and peeled away and the supple protein of the hard-boiled egg is set before you, do you consider the thickness of the shell, the contents of the dye or the amount of chemical residue absorbed during the process as you may do for other foods you put in your body?
We concern ourselves with the “dirty dozen” foods and go out of our way to buy organic foods and sustainably raised proteins, so why not put more thought into how these foods are treated in our homes through cooking methods, coloring and preparation processes?
The dying of eggs, like the application of pesticides has the potential to contaminate the delicate eggshell with unappetizing and unhealthy chemicals.
Not only do conventional egg dyes contain chemicals that can penetrate through the shell and into the white and yolk of the egg, dye can be absorbed through our skin during the process, which is not only unhealthy but a gigantic mess. With a bit of forethought and creativity, however, many natural foods and spices already in your home can be a potent and beautiful natural egg dye.
Instead of relying on the generic cardboard box filled mysterious tubes of dye and flimsy wire egg dippers and drying stands, make your own edible and beautiful dye at home. A few extra minutes of preparation will save you the money, cleanup and sanity while protecting you and your loved ones from additional chemical exposure.
Plus, the challenge of creating your own colors from combinations of every day foods is refreshing and makes an array of colors no other Easter Bunny will deliver.
Making your own dye is easy, inexpensive and totally kid friendly. Try out foods such as turmeric and carrot tops for hues of yellow, the skins from red onions or beet tops for brilliant reds, blueberries or red cabbage leaves for bird egg blues and interesting natural speckles and violet blossoms or hibiscus flowers for pastel purple tints.
Inspiration from the more earth, health and kid friendly egg dye alternatives has driven me to test the array of color possibilities. More photographs, successful combinations and step-by-step instructions to come on Thursday.
Don’t forget to add eggs to your Green Grocery order for the week – Full Circle has a special offer on local free-range white eggs, perfect for your spring arts or eating projects.