Tuesday, April 19, 2011

onion skin-dyed Easter eggs

We did this every Easter when I was a kid in Michigan, but I've never met anyone else who ever even heard of it, much less did it. So! Here's my tutorial on how to dye lovely eggs using only onion skins, lettuce and string. Weird ingredient list, huh?

My biggest problem is gathering enough onion skins. Used to be you could go to the store and fill up a bag from the onion bin, but now they vacuum them out every morning (honest, I saw them with a shop vac) and look at you like you've got three heads when you ask them to save onion skins for you. This year my neighbor, who does a lot of work on the barter system, got paid with a couple bushels of onions, so skins were no problem.
Cut pieces of string about 2.5 feet long before you get started cause in a minute or two, you'll only have one free hand.

Grab a limp (the limper, the better) outer leaf from the head of lettuce and set an egg on it. Now wrap it up good while trying to keep the lettuce from splitting, the egg from squirting out, and the edges folded in. Grab a string and wrap it in all different directions around the lettuce-wrapped egg. Do not drop the egg at this point.

After a while, you'll have a pile of them. Look kinda like Chinese dumplings or something.

Bury them under the onion skins in a big pot and add water to cover the eggs by at least an inch. Gently push the skins down into the water.

Put on high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour off most of the water, being careful not to get it on anything cause it stains like the dickens, and run cold water over the eggs to stop them cooking. I like to dump in a bunch of ice cubes.

When everything has cooled down enough to handle, grab all the onion skins and put them in the trash. Don't put them down the disposal cause they don't grind up real well and will cause your disposal to stop working and begin to smell so bad that you have to put your bare hand down there and take them all back out. I already learned that for you, so save yourself the headache and throw them away.

Unwrap them, wipe off the bits of lettuce and say, "oooh" every time you do a new one. 

They never come out the same. Some are darker, some more mottled. I remember years when they had a rusty brown on them, and sometimes a gorgeous yellow. I used red and brown onion skins and mine are mostly a medium reddish brown with gold and yellow. Very pretty. You can wipe them down with a bit of cooking oil on a paper towel and they just glow. Let me know if you try it!


  1. Wow, what a beautiful effect. Thank you for sharing this method - the bit about the waste disposal made me laugh!

  2. Those are so beautiful! I like how shadowy and...dreamy they look. Very nice!

  3. just to make your life a bit easier on this... you don't need the lettuce at all. just wrap your eggs with the onion peels directly.