Being Orthodox, I’ve grown up dying our eggs red every Easter. I’ve recently loved dying our eggs naturally with onion skins which gives them a rich, deep red color. The colour turns out beautifully every time without the harmful effects of the common dyes.
Dyeing eggs red for Easter is a long-standing Orthodox tradition. While there are many ways to achieve the beautiful red color, using onion skins to dye eggs is a popular and eco-friendly alternative to conventional dyes. The conventional dyes that many use are made with synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to both the environment and our health. These chemicals can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even long-term health problems like cancer.
Onion skin dye is a natural and sustainable way to color eggs and also a great way to repurpose kitchen waste that would otherwise be thrown away. To make onion skin dye, you will need onion skins (yellow or red), white vinegar, and water. Simply simmer the onion skins in a pot of water with a splash of vinegar for about an hour. Once the water has cooled down, strain out the onion skins and soak your hardboiled eggs in the dye for several hours or overnight. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the deeper the red color will be.
Don’t have that much time? Follow the quick and easy recipe below:
NATURALLY DYED EASTER EGGS
What you need:
- Dry “paper skins/peels” from 6 large yellow or red onions.
- 2 dozen or more Brown or White eggs (I used a mix of both – I think the white turned out brighter.)
- 3 tbsp white vinegar.
- pinch of salt
- Make sure eggs are fresh, clean and at room temperature.
- Add all the ingredients to a pot, gently nesting the eggs in between the onion skins.
- Fill the pot with cold water making sure to cover the eggs completely. Add a pinch of salt, this will help them peel easier.
- Bring to a boil and lower heat. Simmer for 15-30 min.
- Once they have boiled and reached the desired colour, carefully remove the eggs placing them under cold running water or in a bowl with cold water until they’ve cooled.
- If you would like to dye additional eggs at this point you can, simply add more eggs into the pot with the onion skins, and repeat the process.
- Once eggs have cooled and are dry, you can rub them down with a little bit of oil at the end to increase the vibrancy of the the colour.
- Place back in cartons and in the fridge until Easter.
A couple notes:
- The Eggs: You can check the eggs sooner if you want them lighter. Keep checking on them until the desired colour has been reached. If you prefer them darker you can even let them cool and stay in the liquid overnight in the fridge. My photos are the colour of the eggs at 30 minutes.
- The Leftover Onions: Not sure what to do with all the onions? Simply chop them up and put them in Ziploc freezer bags. They’ll be prepped and ready for the next time you make a soup/stew or have a recipe that calls for onions.