How Everyday Produce Leftovers Can Create a More Sustainable, Colorful Easter

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – What do leftover purple cabbage, red and yellow onion skins, and uneaten beets, berries, spinach and other brightly hued fruits and vegetables have in common?

They can all contribute to a more natural, colorful and less wasteful Easter.

In the name of in-kitchen family fun, Dole Food Company is encouraging families to forgo artificial egg-decorating kits this year and instead reuse every day produce scraps, skins and leftovers to make naturally dyed Easter eggs. The company has posted a three-step natural egg-dying process on its healthy living blog for combining produce scraps, hard-boiled eggs and vinegar in large mugs or mason jars to create a uniquely creative and earth-friendly holiday.

Dole is supporting the initiative with a pre-holiday social media campaign and an original DIY video showing how easy it is to repurpose produce leftovers to start a new family tradition.

“Since fruits and vegetables cover the full rainbow of vibrant colors, you can pretty much use any produce to get a unique result – from cabbage, onion skins and apple peels to carrots, beets, spinach and all kinds of berries,” said Melanie Marcus, MA, RD, Dole’s nutrition and health communications manager. “You can throw in turmeric, chili and other spices; parsley, dill and other herbs; and even ground coffee and tea leaves for a more personalized look.”

“What we especially like is picking a favorite color and then experimenting with different dye times to create a designer-worthy array of Easter eggs in various hues of the same unique color,” she said.

“Of course, if the need for more colorful produce scraps encourages families to eat a broader range of fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s fine by us.”

Marcus’ three steps for naturally dyed Easter eggs are:

  1. Immerse your fruit or vegetable scrap of choice in just-boiled water to extract the color. Typically, a one-to-one ratio – 1 cup of scraps or 1 tablespoon of spice for each cup of water – will deliver the best results but experiment with different ratios to create your own unique shades.
  2. Create the final dye. Once the dyed water has cooled, strain it and combine with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1 cup of water in a large mug or mason jar. This will ensure the colors remain vibrant.
  3. Add your eggs and a little patience. Use a spoon to carefully lower hard-boiled eggs into the dye without cracking the shells and then let sit refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Remember that the longer the eggs are submerged, the deeper the color will be. Remove eggs with a spoon and let dry.

Once the eggs have fully dried, Marcus suggested letting kids use a white paint pen to add their name or other embellishment, or to create a two-tone effect.

For recipes, serving suggestions and interactive nutritional resources, plus details on Dole fresh fruit and vegetable products, visit and Dole’s FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest pages. 

About Dole Food Company, Inc.

Dole Food Company, Inc., is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education. For more information, please visit