Skip the artificial dyes this year—and pick up this plant-based option at Target.
In the week leading up to Easter, the traditional egg-dyeing session lands on many families' to-do lists. But if you're using artificial dyes to color hard-boiled eggs your family plans to eat after the egg hunt, it may not be as safe as you think. While the American Council on Science and Health assures that store-bought kits are food-grade, other artificial dyes may not be, and if you try to avoid food coloring in general, you'll probably want to stick to all-natural dye options.
But if you've ever attempted to dye eggs naturally using beets, turmeric, or cabbage, then you know that the process can get a little complicated (and time-consuming). While it's fun to watch a cabbage turn white eggs into a surprising shade of blue (and it's definitely worth trying at least once!), when Easter sneaks up on you and is just a few days away, there's an easier alternative: Watkins' Food Coloring ($6; target.com). Found in the grocery section at Target, the package looks similar to other popular food coloring options, except that the ingredients inside are all-natural. Made from vegetable juices and spices, such as turmeric, Watkins has already done all of the "work" of natural dyeing for you—so all you have to do is mix a teaspoon of dye and some white vinegar into a half cup of water. The process is every bit as easy as using the store-bought kit, but you don't have to worry about the potential safety concerns for your little ones.
Having tried natural vegetable dyeing a couple times in the past and testing out Watkins' dyes last night, I was thrilled to finally find natural dyes that made the process much easier. Instead of pulling out dye pots and buying five pounds of beets, I simply slid each egg into a cup of the dye mixture. The results after 10 minutes were pastel tones of blush pink, sky blue, and mint green—the perfect Easter palette. If you're looking for neon hues or vivid brights, this probably isn't the dye for you, but for those who love soft pastels, you've found your new favorite food coloring. Plus, when Easter egg season is over, these dyes can be used to tint icing on cookies and cupcakes. You may never go back to artificial food dyes again.