As many as 50 million Americans have some sort of allergy, many of which are to substances found in their own homes.
In fact, research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that at least six allergens were discovered in 51.5% of the homes tested.
Common indoor allergens, which affect both the eyes and nasal passages, include dust mites, mold and mildew, cockroach droppings and pet dander. Of course, pollens from trees and grass can sneak into the home too, as can the spores from outdoor mold. These irritants cause some unpleasant side effects – including a stuffy head, streaming or itchy eyes and a scratchy or sore throat.
While medication – or natural treatments – may help you breathe easier, removing or reducing your exposure to the allergen is the best way to manage this condition.
Here are 13 easy ways to reduce home allergens:
1. Remove or Wash Bedding and Soft Furnishings
Where possible, remove soft furnishings throughout the home as these gather dust and provide the perfect breeding ground for dust mites. This is especially true when it comes to your bed, with an average mattress containing between 100,000 and 10 million bugs, leaving several million droppings – a pretty unpleasant thought!
Wash bedding weekly and other soft furnishings monthly at 130 to 140 degrees F to kill the mites. Research has found that adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the wash will eliminate 99% of dust mites from your bedding. After they have been cleaned, encase the mattress, duvet and pillows in mite-proof covers.
To cut down on some of this work, consider reducing the amount of ornamental cushions and throws and removing padded headboards in the bedroom. Why not replace your fabric headboard with a stylish DIY pallet board instead? You’ll find out how to here. Swapping curtains with blinds and carpets with wooden floors are also good ideas.
Finally, avoid wool blankets and down quilts which can be troublesome for many asthma and allergy sufferers.
2. Dust and Clean Regularly
Dust once or twice a week with a wet cloth (this helps avoid spreading mites over the room). Make sure to wipe down all surfaces thoroughly and then wash the cloth at a high heat or throw it out.
While there are many sprays on the market for killing dust mites, and reducing other allergens, these are often ineffective and expensive. Try making your own dusting spray using tea tree oil – with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties it will not only eliminate dust mites, but allergy-inducing bacteria, viruses and fungi too.
Simply blend two cups of distilled water with two teaspoons of tea tree oil and decant into a dark spray bottle. Use it regularly to dust, or spray your upholstery and carpets, and you should soon feel some relief from symptoms! Don’t forget to shake before each use to distribute the oil.
3. Green Up Your Cleaning Arsenal
Many chemicals and toxins used in conventional cleaning products can trigger or intensify allergy and asthma symptoms. A recent study even found that products like bleach, glass cleaner, detergents and air fresheners exacerbated asthma-related symptoms in women, leading to reduced lung function until the morning after exposure, in some cases getting worse with time!
And two Australian studies show that many common household cleaners release toxins into the air which can increase the risk of asthma in children.
Look after your health by choosing green cleaning products with natural and plant-based ingredients. Or, better yet, make your own. Here are 40 green cleaning tips to get your house sparkling from top to bottom!
4. Smart Vacuuming
While vacuuming is a good way to reduce home allergens, there are a few tips and tricks that can make this household task even more effective:
- Vacuum twice a week focusing on the areas that accumulate most dust – such as under the bed and near entryways.
- If you don’t already have one, invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which captures tiny particles rather than sending them back into the air.
- Because vacuuming (and dusting) stir up dust, wear a mask when cleaning or ask someone without allergies to clean for you!
- While dry vacuuming removes the dust upon which mites feed, it has been found to be ineffective at removing the mites themselves from carpeting. This is why regular steam cleaning of rugs and carpets is important for allergy sufferers.
- Don’t forget to vacuum and steam upholstery, drapes, rugs and other soft furnishings regularly too.
5. Practice Natural Pest Control
Along with dust mites, cockroaches and other pests need to be eliminated as their droppings can trigger allergies in some. As chemicals also exacerbate allergies, natural is best when it comes to getting rid of household invaders.
To deter cockroaches and rodents, store all food in tightly sealed containers and remove food waste from the house regularly. Try leaving bay leaves around the area where roaches frequent – the scent should ensure they scuttle out of your home as fast as their legs can carry them! Another option is to spray a solution of cayenne pepper powder, garlic, onion and water when you see them. Bait and traps are more chemical-free methods to eliminate cockroaches and their allergenic droppings.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is yet another safe and effective way to kill both roaches and dust mites. Sprinkle it in areas where roaches congregate, especially on cabinet tops and behind appliances. Do this twice a week for two weeks and your infestation should be gone. To kill mites, treat your carpets and rugs to a regular dusting of DE. Learn more about using diatomaceous earth here.
6. Use Doormats and Slippers
Swapping your shoes for snug slippers once you get in the door from work doesn’t just provide relief to your aching feet – it may also help cut down on your allergy symptoms.
The greatest concentration of household dust is found in carpeting near the entryway, with up to 40% of contaminants in the home being brought in from outdoors! Those initial few steps inside matter – with the first four bringing in 85% of these foreign contaminants.
For maximum impact, place doormats by every exterior door – leaving a grate-like scraping mat outside the main door which you can use to remove most of the contaminants and an absorbent doormat inside to trap additional foreign material. Then slip on comfortable indoor shoes and relax – knowing you are cutting down on both allergens and cleaning time!
7. Deal with Pet Allergens
Our beloved four-legged family members contribute hugely to the presence of allergens in our homes. In the US, up to 30% of those with allergies have reactions to cats and dogs, with allergies to cats being twice as common. (Those who say they have a truly hypoallergenic animal – unless it’s a lizard or a snake – have been misinformed!)
Luckily, by taking a few measures, you can happily live with your pets without sneezing every time they wander into the room.
Designate a particular area of your home for your pet – and never allow them into your bedroom. If possible, ensure you pet’s quarters are easy to clean, and have little soft furnishings. Consider investing in a specialized HEPA filter to clear pet allergens from the air. One study found that this filter reduced dog allergens in the air by 90% when the dog was not in the room and 75% when it was!
Pet owners should also be extra-diligent about following some of the other suggestions outlined in this post – including vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter, washing soft furnishings at a high heat and wet-dusting.
Another way to reduce dog allergens is to bathe your mutt regularly – twice a week is best. A 1999 study found that a bath reduced the dogs’ allergen levels by about 85%, with effects lasting for three days. Here are five natural dog shampoo recipes to try.
8. Become a Minimalist
Clearing clutter from your home is one of the Mayo Clinic’s tips for reducing symptoms of allergy and asthma. They recommend removing items that collect dust – like tabletop ornaments, knick-knacks and books, and storing kids’ toys and stuffed animals in plastic bins.
Here are 31 minimalist hacks to help de-clutter your life in just one month.
9. Shut Your Windows
While opening up your windows is a great way to raise the vibrations of your home and let more oxygen in, it’s also a surefire way to bring irritating pollen in too! For many, this isn’t an issue but for allergy sufferers it can cause untold misery.
During pollen season, make sure to close your windows and doors. Using an air conditioner in your car can cut the amount of pollen you breathe by as much as 30%!
If you or your family members are out in times of high pollen (the morning or early afternoon), it’s a good idea to change clothing and shower upon returning to the house, keeping contamination to a minimum.
10. Get the Right Heating and Humidity
Finding the perfect temperature and humidity level is key to allergy control.
Keep your house nice and dry – switch on your dehumidifier if necessary. Dust mites thrive when humidity is greater than 50%. Below this, their actions are inhibited. Mold also requires moisture. The American Lung Association recommends opening your windows for one hour per day on dry days to help remove humidity from the house. Naturally, you’ll want to check the pollen forecast first.
On the other hand, if the humidity dips too low, certain allergen particles are more likely to circulate in the air! For this reason, a temperature of between 68 F and 72 F with a humidity of 40% is optimal – employ these 10 clever ways to naturally humidify the air if necessary.
11. Remove Mold and Mildew
Mold loves damp areas – the bathroom, basement and kitchen are all ideal areas for mold growth. These spores float in the air and trigger a whole range of allergy symptoms, along with sinus infections and skin irritation. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to reduce mold spores.
Fix leaks, run ventilation fans, open windows if safe to do so, and switch on the dehumidifier. If you do see mold, employ the powers of natural fungicides like tea tree oil, ethanol and vinegar to curb growth.
This article details six natural ways to rid your home of mold and mildew.
12. Choose Houseplants Wisely
Those who suffer from pollen allergies may think all houseplants are off limits to them. But certain plants can actually collect pollen and pollutants in their leaves, helping to clean the air in your home.
Some of the best purifying plants include Peace Lilies, Golden Pothos, Philodendron, Gerbera Daisies, Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm and Dracaena. Some of these as plants have already been listed among our top 13 picks of air-purifying plants. As a bonus, many even help you sleep at night!
No matter what variety of houseplant you choose, you should be aware that plants attract dust, and therefore dust mites. To remedy this, simply wipe the leaves with a damp cloth on a regular basis. In addition, the moist soil around houseplants presents the ideal place for mold to thrive. To prevent mold growth, water only when the soil is dry and just moisten, don’t saturate, it.
13. Consider an Air Filter or Purifier
While many experts recommend employing other interventions first – like those outlined above – they say that if you are still suffering from indoor allergens, then investing in an air purifier may be worthwhile.
Always choose one with a HEPA filter, which removes 90% of allergens, and clean the filters regularly. Remember to close windows and doors in the room where you are using your purifier as it will be rendered ineffective otherwise! This GermGuardian 3 in 1 Air Cleaning System is regarded as the best.
This article first started on The Chalkboard Mag.
A MEANINGFUL MORNING routine can change the course of your entire day. Don’t underestimate the power of little changes in that first hour!
Yogi and plant-based health coach, Claire Grieve, who helps busy little bees like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley stay active, healthy and strong specializes in making yoga as accessible as possible. Grieve’s comprehensive routine is full of simple morning rituals will help you to wake up with ease and maintain high energy levels throughout the day. Pick up just a few of these tips or try them all…
Like you, I’ve had days where I woke up feeling heavy and groggy — as though I just did not want to take on the day. These days, though, mornings like this are far and few between. My yoga practice, both on and off the mat, has taught me about how to create energy naturally every morning. Sure, I still have some slower mornings, but incorporating these morning practices into my routine has truly changed the lives of myself and of my clients. Try adding these simple morning rituals to the beginning of your day — one by one so they don’t feel overwhelming — to feel energized and vibrant upon waking.
ESTABLISH A BEDTIME ROUTINE. | If you could do just one thing to add more energy and vibrancy in your life, it would be to get more sleep. Sleep restores both our bodies and minds. Try to get eight hours of quality sleep each night — this pre-bedtime yoga routine helps you unwind and fall into a deep, restful sleep.
DRINK LEMON WATER EVERY MORNING. | Water is another non-negotiable for starting your day on the right foot. Drink a large glass of water when you first wake up, and add lemon to get digestion moving. Carry a large bottle with you throughout the day and make sure to drink it all.
START YOUR DAY SCREEN-FREE. | Turn off your devices and screens 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed and wind down the natural way — with a cup of tea, a book or a meditation. In the morning, try to hold off getting on your phone for the first 30 minutes, instead spend the time doing something that makes you happy. Journaling, yoga, meditation and reading are some activities I enjoy during this time.
LET THE SUN WAKE YOU. | Open your blinds before you go to bed and try waking with the sunrise. The sun is nature’s alarm clock and will wake you in a gentle rhythm that will feel more natural than a beeping phone.
MEDITATE FOR TEN MINUTES. | The benefits of meditation are truly life changing. Try meditating for just ten minutes before you start the day. This practice will help you set the tone of the day from a place of calm clarity. If you are having a hard time getting into that space, try thinking of meditation as a mini-vacation for your mind.
FIT IN SOME LIGHT MOVEMENT. | Starting your day with even a brief Sun Salutation practice will help energize your body and mind first thing in the morning. This moving meditation will get your blood pumping and improve your concentration and mood for the day ahead.
CREATE A MORNING MANTRA. | Create an empowering mantra, look in the mirror and repeat it back to yourself with confidence. Pick a mantra that will inspire you and motivate you for the day.
LEARN TO MAKE A MORNING SMOOTHIE. | Ditch the coffee and make yourself a healthy morning smoothie instead. Drinking a dose of healthy fruits, vegetables and superfoods in an easy-to-digest form will give you a burst of nutrients and energy first thing in the morning.
This article first appeared on Well Plated.
Strawberry oatmeal bars are a healthier fruit dessert made with fresh strawberries, whole grain butter crumb topping, and a lightly sweetened vanilla glaze. This healthier oatmeal bars recipe is a favorite, because these delicious treats are easy to make and just 100 calories each!
Now that spring is in bloom, I wanted to re-share one of my and YOUR favorite healthy desserts, fresh Strawberry Oatmeal Bars!
These Strawberry Oatmeal Bars have become one of the most cherished recipes on my site over the years. I love hearing the different ways you’ve stumbled upon it, often through word of mouth, but equally as much because you were looking for healthy desserts under 100 calories, healthy desserts for kids, easy oatmeal bars, or (and perhaps best of all) healthy strawberry recipes you could feel completely justified eating for breakfast.
The Best Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. EVER.
A bewitching cross between a soft bar cookie and a streusel-topped crumb bar, these sweet treats are the perfect use for the fresh strawberries that are finally starting to make their way into grocery stores in big, juicy quantities.
(If you are looking for frozen strawberry recipes, these Strawberry Oatmeal Bars will work with them too! See the recipe notes for more details.)
The top and bottom “crust” of the oatmeal bars comes together in a single bowl, and since the recipe calls for melted, not softened, butter, you don’t even need to wait for the butter to come to room temperature first.
If you are looking for a strawberry oatmeal bars vegan recipe, many readers have successfully swapped coconut oil.
Our next easy oatmeal bar victory: Most strawberry oatmeal bar recipes require making the filling in a separate bowl; these fresh strawberry bars do not.
Once you’ve pressed the first crust layer into the pan, simply scatter the filling ingredients—diced strawberries, lemon juice, and a touch of sugar and cornstarch—right over it, then sprinkle the remaining oatmeal crumble on top.
In the oven, the strawberries “cook” into a bright, strawberry-pie-like filling that’s reminiscent of homemade strawberry jam.
Made with oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and little added sugar (the sweetness of these bars comes almost entirely from the fresh strawberries themselves), these healthy oatmeal bars are wholesome enough for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Try one warmed up with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
For those who prefer a sweeter take, a drizzle of vanilla glaze (recipe included below) sweetens the strawberry bars enough for dessert. (Another dessert option: these Strawberry Jam Bars!)
Though, if you feel the need to garnish them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you have my blessing to say “I do!”
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats —gluten free if needed
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour— or substitute all-purpose flour or 1:1 baking flour to make gluten free
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted (or substitute melted coconut oil to make vegan/dairy free)
- 2 cups small-diced strawberries — about 10 ounces, divided
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice — from about 1/2 small lemon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar — divided
FOR THE VANILLA GLAZE (OPTIONAL BUT DELICIOUS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU PREFER A SWEETER BAR):
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar — sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon milk — any kind you like
1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs two sides like handles.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, ginger, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir until it forms clumps and the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture, then press the rest into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan.
3. Scatter half of the strawberries over the crust. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the top, then sprinkle on the lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Scatter on the remaining berries, then the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top. You will have some fruit showing through.
4. Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crumb topping smells toasty and looks golden. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely (you can speed this process along in the refrigerator).
5. While the bars cool, prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, briskly whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Feel free to add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired. Using the parchment-paper handles, lift the bars from the pan. Drizzle with glaze, slice, and serve.
- The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch baking pan. The bars will be a bit thicker but will still delicious. To make them gluten free, substitute the white whole wheat flour with a 1:1 baking mix like this one.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze, let the bars cool completely and do not glaze. Wrap tightly in plastic before placing in the freezer. Let thaw in the refrigerator and top with glaze before serving. (Bars can be frozen already glazed if needed.)
This article first appeared on Mind Body Green.
Eating a healthy, nourishing meal is a priority of most parents out there—but after a long day, it can feel daunting to fire up a stove or prep a ton of ingredients.
The good news? It’s easier than you think to make a weeknight meal in less than 20 minutes if you know the hacks to make it happen. With the help of some of our fave celeb moms, we’re sharing 10 simple recipes to get a healthy meal on the table, stat, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the people and activities you love.
1. Roasted Butternut Squash & Pomegranate With Garlicky Honey-Dijon Dressing
Chrissy Teigen is certainly the definition of #momgoals, and her equal parts decadent and nourishing salad is a weeknight meal that the whole family will love. According to Teigen, the “roasted squash and little pom jewels that burst in your mouth and creamy goat cheese and a dressing you’ll want to put on all your other green leafy things are magic.” Get the full recipe here.
2. Chickpea Turmeric Stir-Fry
With just a can of chickpeas and a few pantry staples, you can quickly whip up a satisfying, delicious meal—and all it takes is one skillet. The anti-inflammatory powers of the dish come from everyone’s favorite super spice: turmeric. “Turmeric has been found to reduce inflammation in numerous studies,” explains the registered dietitian who developed the recipe. “Turmeric can also help relieve pain, as shown in many studies, including one that showed it was as powerful as Advil in certain instances.” Get the full recipe here.
3. Stone Fruit Grain Salad
If you’re looking to take advantage of summer’s produce bounty, this stone fruit salad will be your new go-to. With cherries, nectarines, and fresh mint, it’s elevated by harissa and preserved lemon juice, which both pack a ton of flavor without requiring more time or effort. You can use your grain of choice as a base—farro is a hearty, nutty staple, but quinoa is a great option for gluten-free folks. Get the full recipe here.
4. Gluten-Free Veggie Waffles
Did you know you can turn pretty much any vegetable into a waffle? This recipe lets you choose your own adventure, using sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, red pepper, or a mix of all of them to make a quick and easy savory waffle that’s oh-so-crave-worthy. Serve it with some peppery arugula, or top it with an egg for an unexpected weeknight meal. Get the full recipe here.
5. Sleepy-time Dinner Smoothie
Smoothies are a go-to for many health experts when they don’t have time to make a more typical dinner—you can get tons of nutrients in less than five minutes with a quick whiz of the blender. This recipe takes it to the next level by including two ingredients actually proven to help you fall asleep faster and get more high-quality rest. Plus, it tastes just like pumpkin pie. Get the full recipe here.
6. Jerk Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
Daphne Oz knows what it’s like to be a busy working parent, and she definitely keeps that in mind when developing her recipes. “I love this recipe because it’s a one-pan roasted dinner that gets main and sides done in one,” Oz told mbg. “It’s healthy but super flavorful and makes for an amazing Caribbean-inspired jerk chicken salad with leftovers. My kids LOVE sweet potato (so do I), and it is only more delicious when cooked in chicken fat. I make the kids’ chicken a little sweeter with a side of BBQ sauce for them to dip into, and my husband and I make ours a bit spicier with hot sauce.” Get the full recipe here.
7. Black Bean and Mango Tacos
These no-cook, vegan tacos involve little more than opening a can of black beans and quickly dicing a mango—but with the addition of a few flavor boosters, they become a mind-blowing weeknight meal. Packed with protein and fiber with the perfect mix of sweet and spice, they’ll be your new go-to (hot tip: If you forgo the tortillas, the mixture is a delicious hearty summer salad!). Get the full recipe here.
8. Japchae (Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles)
These stir-fried sweet potato noodles are packed with veggies, totally paleo, and boast a bright, umami-rich flavor that’ll get you excited about dinner. It also comes together in just under 20 minutes total. Get the full recipe here.
9. Curried Chicken Lettuce Cups
Some ground chicken is all you need to make these piquant, flavor-packed lettuce cups, which invite in all of the flavors of curried chicken with no dairy or inflammatory ingredients. Instead, ginger, coconut aminos, and plenty of fresh vegetables and herbs are used to build layers of deliciousness—and all of that magic is wrapped in a cooling, fresh lettuce cup for the perfect warm-weather meal. Get the full recipe here.
10. One-Pot Pea, Lemon & Asparagus Pasta
Famed celebrity chef Anna Jones splits her time between developing recipes for her Guardian column, writing best-selling books, and running after her 3-year-old—so when she wants a weeknight meal, it needs to be quick but packed with flavor. “This pasta is a complete revelation,” she says. “The sauce is magically made from the pasta water and asparagus as the pasta cooks—all in one pot.” It’s also super creamy, despite being dairy-free, thanks to the starches from the cooking water. Get the full recipe here.
This article first appeared on The Kitchn.
This time of year there are some pretty amazing craft-tastic ideas online and in magazines, making it entirely possible to devote days to creating museum-quality ova, but I prefer a less design-y and more rustic approach. After all, they’re eggs you might be stashing somewhere in the lawn. And with a small child in the house, this is not a project likely to involve X-Acto knives and tiny electrical tape stencils.
Easter is a reminder of fertility and abundance, so I say turn on nature’s color and let loose.
The tradition of dyeing Easter eggs has wandered in many directions throughout history, from the early practice of staining eggs red in remembrance of Christ’s blood to what a lot of kids will tell you now: They color eggs to make them look like jelly beans.
A long time ago, I wrote about dyeing eggs with onion skins, which gives the eggs a pretty spectacular result, especially if you rub them with oil to add shine. Then, I decided to take coloring eggs with vegetable scraps a step further and created a larger palette. This year we’ll push it further, and as the kids around me get older, we just might add a few extra flourishes. No razors and making tape, but maybe a few of those rubber band tricks. I’ll let you know.
Keep in mind the effect of the dyes varies depending on how concentrated the dye is, what color egg you use, and how long and how many times the eggs are immersed in the dye. I used half a purple cabbage, shredded, to dye four eggs. Err on the side of more material rather than less when creating your dye. Here’s a handy guide to follow.
Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
Per cup of water use the following:
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage = blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
- 1 cup red onion skins = lavender or red eggs
- 1 cup yellow onion skins = orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
- 1 cup shredded beets = pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric = yellow eggs
- 1 bag Red Zinger tea = lavender eggs
Add one tablespoon white vinegar to every cup of strained dye liquid. For every dozen eggs, plan on using at least four cups of dye liquid.
A Note on the Coloring You Want
We’ve tested this method several times and have found that the number of dips in the dye is even more important than the duration of time spent in the dye. The more stints in the dye, the deeper the color will be. Our point? You can really play with the final color.
- Hard-boiled eggs, room temperature (white or brown eggs, preferably not super-fresh)
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage per cup of water
- 1 cup red onion skins per cup of water
- 1 cup yellow onion skins per cup of water
- 1 cup shredded beets per cup of water
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric per cup of water
- 1 bag Red Zinger tea per cup of water
- White distilled vinegar (1 tablespoon per cup of strained dye)
- Liquid neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed
- Saucepan with lid
- White dish
- Fine-mesh strainer
- A second saucepan or bowl
- Baking dish or other container
- Paper towels
- Gather your ingredients: You can make separate batches of different colors or one large batch of a single color. Follow the ratios given above for each ingredient to make more or less dye.
- Add water to a saucepan: Pour the amount of water you need for the dye you’re making into a saucepan.
- Start making the dye: Add the dye matter (purple cabbage, onion skins, etc.) and bring the water to a boil.
- Adjust the heat: Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Check the color: The dye is ready when it reaches a hue a few shades darker than you want for your egg. Drip a little dye onto a white dish to check the color. When the dye is as dark as you like, remove the pan from the heat and let the dye cool to room temperature. (I put the pot on my fire escape and it cooled off in about 20 minutes.)
- Strain the dye: Pour the cooled dye through a fine-mesh strainer into another saucepan (or into a bowl then back into the original pan if that’s all you have).
- Add vinegar: Stir the vinegar into the dye — use 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of strained liquid.
- Pour the dye over the eggs: Arrange the room-temperature eggs in single layer in a baking dish or other container and carefully pour the cooled dye over them. Make sure the eggs are completely submerged.
- Put the eggs in the fridge: Transfer the eggs in the dye to the refrigerator and chill until the desired color is reached.
- Dry and oil the eggs: Carefully dry the eggs, and then massage in a little oil to each one. Polish with a paper towel. Store the eggs in the refrigerator until it is time to eat (or hide) them.
- You can also start with raw eggs and cook them in the dye bath as described in this post on onion-skin eggs. I found that with dyes like the Zinger tea and beets, the color was more concentrated with the refrigerator method. Of course, this method requires clearing out some space in the refrigerator.
- If you want your eggs to be more vibrant and less pastel, give the eggs multiple soaks in the dye, being sure to dry them between stints in the dye.