Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finding information about dyeing with olives

I have been looking around on the net to try to find some information and have been surprised to  discover that many of the dark olives in the shops are really green and have been coloured.  As we do not pick our olives and let them ripen on the tree, they turn purple and I am hoping that they will be good for dyeing.  Of course, that will entail picking them and the tree is high.  So far we have been using windfall olives. There are still quite a few olives up high so maybe I should be hoping for some wind.

However, back to the topic.  I did find one site that had a little information.  It said
Maroon and purple dyes are obtained from the whole fresh ripe fruits[168]. Blue and black dyes are obtained from the skins of fresh ripe fruits[168]. A yellow/green dye is obtained from the leaves[168].
The [168] refers to Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. 1974 ISBN 0-02-544950-8
 It sounds as if I can do some playing if I can be bothered skinning the olives to see if I get different colours from the pulp and the skins.  Might have to wear gloves to do this.


parlance said...

I went to a talk on olives the other night and was also surprised to learn that commercial olives are dyed. Seems weird. But no weirder than removing the brown color from sugar and then dyeing it and selling it as brown sugar.

Mary said...

Hi Parlance, yes, it seems weird. I suppose I worry about the chemicals used and what build up they cause. I don't like olives and actually pick them out of food that has them, so I suppose I don't need to worry about the chemicals at all!