Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dyeing eggs with onion skins

Something to file away for next year.

Last week Elaienar showed me this tutorial on a traditional Eastern European way of dyeing eggs for Easter, first decorating them with flowers, leaves, and feathers, then wrapping them tightly in onion skins and boiling in a pot of water filled with more onion skins.

Sunday afternoon, she and I went around picking pretty things and dyed a few, just to see how it would turn out and whether we would want to do it again next year. Decorating and wrapping them was such clumsy work that we only did a few and left the rest plain just to see how they’d turn out in the dye bath.

Take a look:

We used to have a hen that laid eggs a rich brown like that – I think she was a Wyandotte.

We used several yellow onions, but only had one purple one. Next time I think we’ll use all purple and see if we can get a redder color.

This one featues a dandelion:

And this one a goose feather:

The large pattern on this one was made with a cherry blossom and the smaller one at 11 o’clock was made with a violet. The “latitude” lines are caused by the texture of the onion skin.

In the picture below, the egg on the right features an azalea blossom, the one to the left of that, a few blossoms of lilac. I don’t know what plant caused the bright green leaves – it’s from a tree on our place. I think a sprig of chickweed is what made the fleur-de-lis pattern on the egg in the foreground.

The cracked and misshapen egg at the back happened because the shell crakced while I was wrapping it with string and I decided to carry on just to see how it would turn out. During cooking, the insides ran out and made it really hard to peel off the onions and the cherry blossoms and feathers I’d stuck on. Next time I would just throw an egg like that into the chicken’s scraps bucket and let them deal with it.

We’ll probably do it again next year, and if we get good enough at it, the next time I’ll use eggs that have been dried out first, so the finished eggs will last several years.

What do you think?

Oh, and next year?  I think I should remember to pick only edible plants, if we’ll be planning on boiling and eating the eggs – I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me while we were wandering around, picking things, and while a lot of it isn’t toxic I couldn’t identify some of the things we picked.  I guess we’ll be giving these eggs to the chickens in a couple of days.


  1. I LOVE THIS! Can't wait to try it..! Onions..hmm....I think I have some soup recipes that take a good amount of onion.

    1. The first egg we did took all four hands to wrap properly, but we got the hang of it as we went along. Good luck!


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