Earth-Friendly Easter: How to Give Easter Candy, Baskets & Eggs a Healthy Makeover! by Felicia Stoler
Before you stock up on plastic eggs and grass, and harsh, chemical egg dyes, remember that Easter and Earth Day are just a few days apart. There are simple ways your family can celebrate this glorious season and still be good to Mother Earth. It can be as easy as raiding your crafting nook and spice drawer and reading the ingredient labels on your Easter treats.
Choose earth-friendly basket fillers: Unless you have oodles of cellophane left over from previous years, forgo the plastic grass in this year’s Easter basket. A better choice is to use shredded paper. If you don’t have a paper shredder (or have one that shreds too finely for your liking), you can make your own by cutting 1/4-inch strips from colorful junk mail. Another option is to use cotton yarn. It’s soft and cradles eggs gently. Plus, it can be knitted or crocheted into something new when the season is over, or simply reused next season.
Shop for certified sustainable candy products: While seasonal candies are tasty, they always aren’t the best for our planet. Look for jelly beans made without synthetic dyes, artificial colors and high-fructose corn syrup, which is commonly made with genetically modified corn. When it comes to chocolate confections, many American candy companies, such as Hershey’s, Ghirardelli and Nestle, have already committed to using responsibly sourced ingredients such as cocoa and palm oil. Much of the palm oil used in the U.S. is sustainably grown and produced in Malaysia, one of the world’s most eco-friendly countries.
Color eggs naturally: You don’t need to buy an overpriced kit to color eggs. There are many all-natural dyes that you can make with ingredients you can find in your kitchen. Simply simmer the food or spice with 3 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt for 30 minutes or until desired color is reached. Strain the mixture, then add your hard-boiled eggs to the dye. Leave your eggs in the solution for at least 20 minutes or even overnight (in the fridge) for a deeper color. If you want a more vibrant, shiny color, rub your eggs with a small amount of Malaysian palm oil once they are completely dry. Here are a few foods to try:
- 3 tablespoons turmeric or cumin (yellow)
- 1 cup finely-chopped spinach (green)
- 1/2 cup red beets (pink)
- 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage (blue)
- Peels from two yellow onions (orange)
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