Tip! Save your onion skins during Great Lent!
This natural dye yields a rich vibrant brick-red colour, and has become a special family tradition to do during Holy Week.
– 2 dozen white eggs (save the cartons for later storage)
– 1 package of cheesecloth
– 24 to 36 (small size) elastic bands (extras may be needed in case of breakage)
– 10 to 12 cups of dry yellow onion skins
– one bunch of parsley (and if available, pansies or small edible flower heads, and clover leaves, small 2 inch frond-ends of ferns etc.)
– 1/2 cup white vinegar
In a very large pot, boil the onion skins in 2 – 4 litres of water, for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Strain out the skins and discard them. Add the vinegar to the strained dye and stir well.
(While waiting for the skins to boil, take the cheesecloth and cut 24- 6 X 6 inch squares.)
Using the first dozen eggs, place a sprig of something floral, etc. pressing it ‘pretty-side’ flat down upon the egg. Wrap cheesecloth square tightly around egg, keeping the sprig taut against egg.
Pull cheesecloth tighter, leaving a small “pony-tail”. Tie ponytail tightly with elastic band. Set aside on a platter to prevent “rolling-off-the-table-tragedies”! When one dozen eggs are completed thusly, lower them gently into the dye and simmer for 20 minutes over heat, so only a bubble breaks the surface occasionally. This prevents the eggs from becoming tough.
While waiting for the first dozen to boil, work on preparing the next dozen with cheesecloth and flowers. When the first dozen have simmered 20 minutes, remove from dye with slotted spoon and immerse for about 3 minutes in a large bowl of cold water.
Add the second dozen prepared eggs gently into the hot dye, and simmer them for 20 minutes. Remove the first batch of cooled eggs from the water and carefully remove the cheesecloth and sprig of parsley or flower, and admire your creations!
Keep them on a platter so to avoid casualties.
Buff them lightly with a “polish” of small amount of olive oil on a paper towel, and place eggs back directly into their cartons for storage and REFRIGERATE!.
Repeat procedure with the remaining dozen eggs.
It’s easy to save dry onion skins for the next year each time you cook.
Place them into a large plastic produce bag.
Store the skins in a cool, dry place!