Old World Easter Eggs


This is the way Oma taught me to make Easter eggs.  They are made using vegetables found in your refrigerator and garden weeds.  No chemicals.  And so simple that my nearly two year old helped me with these.  There is less than a week left until Easter.  I thought I’d pass this along just in case anyone else out there wants to fit some more Easter eggs in before Sunday.  (I thought of posting something about this when my neighbor Susan posted a link to something similar–so thanks Susan!)

My Oma always made these using onion peels–the flaky, brown covering around yellow onions that you throw away.  The dark brownish-orange eggs were the ones made with the onion peels.  I also experimented with making purple ones by using beets/blue berries/and cherries all mixed together.  The purple colored turned out pretty nicely.  Maybe red onion peels would be even better?  I tried to get green by using grass from the lawn.  It didn’t really work.  The water turned green but the egg shells were not absorbing the color.  So I also threw in beet greens, spinach, and finally yellow beets.  The resulting color is the light beige colored egg in the picture.  Anyone out there know of something that works well as a great green egg dye?

Here is what you will need to make these Easter eggs:

-Eggs (I bought cheap white ones because I knew I’d boil them longer than I’d want for eating)

-Old nylons cut into strips

-Leaves from your yard for the design

-Onion peels (or other veggies/fruits for dye)

-Cooking pots and water

Here is how you do it:

1.  Put the onion peels in a pan and cover them with water–enough for also boiling the eggs.



I also tried beets and grass:




2.  Start the pots of water boiling while you start working with the eggs.

3.  To prepare an egg for dying, lay out a strip of nylon.  Put a leaf or flower in the middle and tie the nylon around an egg.




(I also let my nearly two year old help with that step.  Amazingly, we only lost one egg to the floor…..)

4.  Put the eggs in the boiling pots of water.  I didn’t know exactly how long this was supposed to take, so I just kept checking them.  After even 5 minutes, the ones in the onion peels looked like they had taken on color and could have come out.  I left them in closer to 10 minutes.  But the ones in the purple and green pots looked almost unchanged by then.  I ended up boiling them closer to 20 minutes to get them to take on color (that would be too long for eggs you are planning on eating).  Towards the end I ended up pouring in a few cap fulls of vinegar to try to get the egg shells to take on more color.  I’m not sure if that helped or not.

5.  Fish the eggs out of the pots with a slotted spoon.  Put them on a towel you don’t mind staining or back in the egg carton.  I’d recommend pulling them out one by one and removing the nylon and leaf.  I did it the opposite–I took them all out at once, then went down the line untying them.  But because they were so hot, by the time I got to the last ones they had evaporated off all their liquid and dried.  I could not get the flowers and leaves off!



Then I tried wetting my finger and rubbing the leaves off, and it smudged the color on the egg.  Also, the fatter, wetter leaves came off more easily.  Though I only had a problem with this on the two colors I boiled for 20 minutes.  I didn’t have any trouble removing the leaves from the eggs boiled in the onion skins.  So maybe the moral of the story is to stick with tradition!  The good old fashioned onion peel way worked the best!

May you be thrilled by new life this Easter!


One Comment Add yours

  1. A few ideas for dyes: In the Jefferson Mt. area, there are awesome lichen that hang from trees, and are a kind of yellow green, very bright color. These work really, really well for that yellow green. Brown fern leaves work for a pale beige. Blue and Yellow make green, as I recall, so try blueberries mixed with lichen to make green. I have some yarn dying books, I’ll share them with you if you’d like. Same principles. Red onion skins work really well. Berries like boysenberries also work really well, as do beets. Yours turned out great!!!


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