more avocado science

AHA! There is tannin (catchetin, a non water soluble tannin) in the pits: “The seeds could also be used as a source of natural dye. Colour of the extract is supposedly connected to the procyanidins, the oligomeric compounds, formed from catechin and epicatechin molecules . Currently no reported research was performed in dyeing of textiles with avocado seed extract.” Tannins help alum bond tighter/better/stronger/Superman to cellulose fibres. But there are also anthocyanins, which are notoriously UNlightfast )—-remember those damn beets and hibiscus???).

There’s still no definitive evidence though that this tannin is strong enough on its own, though apparently it is used in South America as a tannin. I’ll do my usual prepping then on cellulose using a tannin (gallnut, which imparts little colour) and alum after, just to be sure that things “stick” 🙂

I decided to use the peels first (no tannin as far as i know), as the “extraction” is now turning a wee bit murky, signifying that other life forms could be spontaneously generating in there! There does appear to be a lot of dye colourant, though who knows how much of it is actually viable?

I threw in some wool yarn with alum, cotton with tannin and alum, cotton with rhubarb leaf, silk with alum, and silk with tannin and alum. ( I am aware that silk requires only alum, but adding the tannin may give different colours/shades, depending on the dyestuff.) I gently raised the temperature until it BARELY started to steam, then turned it off. NO boiling as it forces the browns. It will be left in the pot for a number of days, gently reheating once a day to reduce the possibility of mold and other potential ickies.

One thing i didn’t think about initially when i “potted” it in the narrow necked recycled juice bottle: everything swelled, and because i didn’t break into teeny pieces, they are a pain in the bazotski to get out! So, what the hell, filled it up again, threw in a glug of ammonia, and we’ll see if there’s more colour to come.

The pits are still stewing, with no sign of alien activity, so will leave that for a later time.

I’ll leave these in the bath for a couple of days, and see how much it deepens, then the lightfast tests commence. One good thing about summer in Calgary is the intensity of our sun in the summer due to our higher altitude, so tests will be easy–and relatively speedy!

EDIT APRIL 30/19: subsequent discussions in a natural textile dye group, and my own lightfast tests, have concluded that avocado’s lovely pinks will gradually oxidize to browns, because they are more a tannin, than a dye.


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