One of my fondest childhood memories of Easter is dyeing Easter eggs in my grandmother’s kitchen, surrounded by family, while snacking on grandma’s famous Paska (Polish Easter bread).
I recall the sweet, yeasty taste of the homemade bread, the smell of the local pickerel or ham we’d enjoy later at dinner, the whole boiled eggs carefully prepared for the dyeing and decorating – yet, in the middle of all of these wholesome parts of such a special celebration, a cardboard box is ripped open, some packets of chemical dies are dumped down onto the counter and then carefully stirred into warm water with vinegar.
It wasn’t until I was in high school or university that I started to wonder if the chemical dyes on our egg shells could affect our health. Often those bright colours would indeed make their way inside the shell and onto the actual egg.
I now have children who also love the excitement of decorating Easter eggs as part of our celebration. I’m thankful that we’ve learned the skill of making homemade plant and food-based dyes that have beautiful results and provide us some peace of mind.