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Onion Skin Dyed Eggs

April 12, 2012

I hope you’ll indulge me for a bit as I share an Easter activity of my childhood.  This came from my father and I’m realizing now, that I’m not sure of it’s origin to him … meaning I don’t know if his mother did this technique or if he learned about it and started the tradition with us.  But each year he dyes eggs with onion skins.  My mother saves skins in a plastic bag all year long for this ritual.  As teens we rolled our eyes at the bag of skins collecting in the back corner of the pantry, periodically trying to sneak the eye sore into the trash.  Now I understand just how long it takes to collect a bag of onion skins AND how many it takes to dye just a few eggs.

Isn’t the result beautiful!  Stunning and no two are a like.   If you like, you can then drop these into traditional dyes and see what you come up with.  My favorites were green and blue.

You start with a collection of onion skins … the dry crackly brown skins that surround regular onions, raw eggs, and a leg from old pantyhose, a trouser sock, or even the netting onions are sold in works.

Carefully and completely surround each egg in layers of onion skins.  Place in the toe of your stocking/bottom of your net.  Make sure the egg is completely surrounded by a couple of layers of skins, and tightly packed in the toe.  Tie a knot in the stocking, or use a small rubber band to tightly tie off the net.  The skins need to be held firmly to the egg while the water to saturates the skins and dyes the eggs.  Repeat these steps until you run out of stocking/net, onion skins or eggs.

Place in a pan of cool water, submerge a few times to start to saturate the stocking and skins.  Set on stove and turn on the heat.  Bring to a boil and simmer 1 minute.  Rotate the link of eggs, turning them over part way through the process.

The water will go from clear to yellow, to orange and then red … it’s working!!

Once you’re pretty sure the eggs are cooked, remove your link of eggs from the pot and place on paper toweling to cool.   Once they are cool enough to touch you can cut apart the stocking (unless you have the patience of Job to undo each knot) or undo your rubber bands to remove each onion skin egg bundle.

  And this is what you’ll find inside:

So beautiful and unique!  They catch everyone’s eye and make a lovey addition to an Easter or Spring centerpiece given their rich, earthy colors.   So start saving your onion skins and pin this for next year!

By the way, an old homemaking tip from our grandmothers … my mother-in-law said they would add a couple onion skins to the water when they hard boiling eggs to dye.  Apparently, it helps the color dye adhere to the eggs.

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