Thanksgiving Day Natural Dyeing With Food Waste


Image: Vogue

This Thanksgiving Day, why not do what you love and natural dye with food waste while you cook up your mid-day feast?

According to Vogue, “With so many color-rich foods on most Thanksgiving menus, decided to get a lesson in natural food coloring, and create a set of eco-chic napkins that can be made in tandem with the holiday meal. As it turns out, the palette procured from turkey-day cuisine is very seventies: Cranberries produce a range of colors from poppy to dusty rose, onion skins tone silk lime and ochre, beet stalks boil into muted moss, and pomegranates dissolve into a shade of sun-bleached violet. Dipping the cloth in vinegar before dyeing turns some colors into their pastel complement and makes others more intense.

The technique for producing these colorful napkins (or placemats) is a close cousin to tie-dyeing. You can cut up old T-shirts into even squares, or dye silk napkins stained from last year’s Thanksgiving. Once the fabric is prepped to absorb the color, it can be folded with any metal closure to create a pattern. If you save your unused turkey string and a tin can (emptied and cleaned of its yams or green beans), you can wrap the cloth around the cylinder and tie it with the string. The results will be stripy, and, if you simply crumple the cloth and tie it up, the dye will set in in the pattern of a cloudy sky.

It’s possible to make dye as you simmer a cranberry compote or prep the filling for a blueberry pie. Or, you can save your compostable skins and used tea or cooking wine to boil later. Just set aside juices in a bucket or pot (don’t dye in the same pot you’re using for cooking) or even freeze the color for your winter holiday dinner. See above for Piazza’s instructive slideshow, and below for step-by-step instructions on how to make an organic addition to your dinner decor.”

We love seeing our good friend Cara Marie Piazza featured in this article and her Thanksgiving Day dye recipe. Go on over to Vogue and read the full article and try your hand at doing double duty dyeing while cooking!