Boiling eggs that have been wrapped snugly in onion skins, produces beautifully patterned Easter eggs.
I never really cared for the usual colourful Easter eggs most people make. They're too gaudy for my taste. I don't like the mess involved with making them and I don't like using all that food colouring. So, for the past ten years or so, I've been colouring my Easter eggs the way my grandparents used to; using onion skins.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Here is what you need to make these kind of Easter eggs:
- onion skins (pieces as large as possible)
- 20 cm (8 inch) squares of cloth
- rubber bands
- a pot of boiling water
- some vegetable oil
I start saving onion skins for a month or two before Easter... I guess that's pretty much all of Lent. If you don't have enough onion skins saved up by Easter, ask your local grocery store if you may get some loose onion skins from them.
Step 2: Wet Everything
Soak your onion skins in a big bowl of water. (I just used a small bowl since I made a single egg for this demonstration.) Be careful with your onion skins. When they are dry, they are pretty fragile and you want to keep them as large as possible.
Just dip the squares of cloth in the water, then wring them out so they are damp. Also dip the eggs in the water; it helps the onion skins cling to them better.
Step 3: Wrap the Eggs With Onion Skins
Wrap onion skins around each egg. If you are lucky, you'll have skins from the top or the bottom of an onion. These naturally conform to the shape of the egg. If not, just make sure you cover the entire surface of each egg with pieces of onion skin. The water should help the skins cling to the eggs.
Step 4: Wrap in Cloth
Place an onion skin wrapped egg in the middle of one of your squares of cloth. Wrap the cloth snugly around the egg so the onion skin presses tightly against it. Securely tie off the top of the cloth with a rubber band.
Step 5: Hard Boil
Carefully add each bundled-up egg to a pot of boiling water. Boil them for seven minutes or so, until they are hard boiled. If you happen to crack one of the eggs when you are putting them in, add some salt to the water; that'll supposedly keep the whites from leaking out of the crack.
Step 6: Rinse in Cold Water
Once your eggs have boiled long enough, carefully pour off the boiling water and run some cold water into the pot to cool the eggs down.
Step 7: Unwrap the Eggs
Carefully remove the rubber bands and take the eggs out of the cloths. Peel off the onion skins (you can toss the used onion skins into your compost). Voila The shells of the eggs will now be covered with beautiful patterns transferred from the onion skins in shades of brown, yellow, and green.
Step 8: Give the Eggs Some Shine
Wipe the eggs dry. Put a little vegetable oil (I used canola oil) on a cloth or paper towel and rub onto the eggs. The oil gives the eggs a nice shine and seals their pores which should help them fresh longer.
Step 9: The Finished Eggs
There you have it. Use your Easter eggs as decorations for a few days, then crack, peel, & eat 'em. (Ever since I was a little kid, I always crack my hard boiled eggs against my forehead!)
When you peel the eggs, you'll notice that some of the colour has bled through the shell and has coloured the egg white. Don't worry, they are still perfectly safe to eat - more than I'd dare say about eggs coloured with artificial dyes. Despite the colour transfer onto the egg whites, there is no onion taste to the eggs.
Incidentally, I have tried using red onion skins for this as well, hoping to get red coloured eggs. Didn't get any red eggs though. Those eggs looked the same as the eggs I made with brown onion skins. Go figure.