Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Doodles: Onion Skin Dyed Easter Eggs

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to doodle more. I am doodling less. But that was to be expected, that is what New Year's resolutions are meant for – to be broken. However, I am cooking more. (If there is any excuse for not doodling.)

If it were up to me, I could cook and photograph and doodle everyday. But life is not just about having fun, engaging in leisure activities, and doing only what you like one hundred and seventy eight percent of time. This week I am working on a patent, and a paper (nothing to do with cooking), and some other stuff, and I had to trade the black marker for a computer keyboard. Computer keyboard pays the bills... But that’s OK, I love my keyboard and my formulas, just as I love my marker, and my camera, and my pencil, and my spatula. Everything has its own moment in time and there will be time for doodles. Learning to live happily with our constraints and limitations is the key to happiness. (Ain't I reaching unprecedented Zen levels her?)

But just because not being able to work on a new post does hurt a tiny little bit, and just because Easter is like two weeks away, I am rehashing a piece I did for Food & Wine magazine a while ago. Perhaps you missed it on Food & Wine, hence a chance to pick it up now, and learn how to make super cute, one of a kind, naturally dyed Easter eggs. Every Easter, as long as I can remember, my mom would forgo the pastel colors and food chemistry (and dirty fingers) and made these batik-looking creations. It was an elaborate process, in which each family member took part, and by far the best part of the holiday, except for the egg fight, of course.

The tricky thing is that you will need a major quantity of onion skins, and there are three strategies to go about it: A) you can start collecting early -- bad news, bad news, but not too late, proceed to items #B, #C, and #D, OR B) you can charm your grocer into giving them for free, OR C) if, as it happens to me all the time, you are too uncomfortable to ask, just pay for the skins as if they are onions, and throw in an onion or two to justify the purchase, OR D) go and buy yourself about 6 pounds of onions and eat lots of soups or casseroles in days to come.

This is not really a recipe, and the quantities are really not quantities, just guidelines. You really do not need quantities, just go do it. You have no excuse. 

Onion Skin Colored Easter Eggs

* 12 - 15 eggs
* onion skins from yellow or Spanish onions (say about a gallon ziploc bag loosely filled with onion skins)
* large cotton kitchen cloth (or a cotton T-shirt) cut into 6-inch squares
* kitchen twine
* a tablespoon vinegar (per quart of water)
* a teaspoon of salt (per quart of water)

Place an egg into the palm of your hand and wrap it in onion skin. For richer and darker color, use a couple of layers of onion skins.

Place the egg and its onion skin onto a cheesecloth square. Wrap tightly and secure at the ends with the twine. Just like a bonbon. Continue until all of eggs are wrapped.

Fill a pot with cold water and add the wrapped eggs. Add a tablespoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of salt per quart of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, discard the water and let the eggs cool while still wrapped. When the eggs are completely cool, unwrap and let them dry.

If you like your eggs glossy (I like mine matte), dip a piece of cloth into vegetable oil and rub the eggs with it.


  1. You are such an artist, how beautiful. I was thinking of natural dying some eggs this year with beets and greens (spinach) I'll also give onion a try. Didn't know about the tied cloth but will do that. Great information, thank you.

    1. I've seen some really beautiful natural pastels that involved turmeric, blueberries and grape juice :) Looks like opportunities are endless when it gets to naturally colors. If you end up using onions, put several layers, that is how you get really rich and saturated colors.... (Look forward to your post about it.)


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