We spent Saturday dying Easter eggs at the, Valley Crest Farm and Preserve using an organic approach to decorating them. The host of the workshop, Marija Aksena, a Lithuanian-born artist and farmer, taught us the old-world European dying technique using nature’s hues and prints derived from vegetables, leaves, fresh flowers, plants and more.
Each participant created six unique eggs using onion skins.
- 12 eggs
- onion skins (pieces as large as possible)
- old stockings cut to the thigh
- a pot of boiling water
- thread or wire-twist tops
- vegetable oil (optional)
- clothes pin
Note: You should start saving onion skins for a month or two before Easter and ask your friends to save them too. If you don’t have enough onion skins saved up by Easter, ask the produce manager at your local grocery store if you can take some loose onion skins.
- Place onion skins into a medium sauce pan along with about 4.5 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Cover the pot and simmered on medium low for about 30 minutes. The water will turn a vibrant dark reddish brown from the onion skins. (Note: You can let the onion skins simmer while you prepare the eggs.)
- Tear onion skins into different-sized pieces and put in a small bowl or tray.
- Dip the eggs in the water; it helps the onion skins cling to them better.
- Roll the wet eggs in the onion skins around each egg so it’s covered. (Note: Just like you’d be dipping chicken in breadcrumbs.) 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 will help the skins cling to the eggs.
- Now place an onion skin wrapped egg in the toe of the stocking. Twist the stocking so it’s wrapped snugly around the egg so the onion skin presses tightly against it. Securely tie the top of the stocking with a wire-twist top or secure tightly with thread wrapping around several times and tying with a knot. The trick is to get as tightly to the top of the egg so the egg is tightly wrapped.
- Continue covering eggs with the onion skins and putting them in the stocking tube until you reach the top, like the picture below.
- When finished, tie the top of the stocking into a knot and clasp with a clothespin.
- Carefully add each bundled-up egg stocking to a pot of boiling water and let the clothespin hang over the top of the pot for easy removal.
- Boil them for about seven minutes or until they are hard boiled. (Note: If you crack one of the eggs when adding them to the pot; add some salt to the water to keep the whites from leaking out of the crack.)
- Once your eggs have boiled long enough, carefully pour off the boiling water and run some cold water into the pot to cool them.
- Carefully remove the eggs from the stocking. Peel off the onion skins to see the beautiful patterns you’ve created using just onion skins.
- Wipe the eggs dry and rub some vegetable oil onto the eggs with a cloth or paper towel to add a nice shine and seal them.
That’s it, folks. We are planning on placing ours in a nice wicker basket and using them as a table decoration for Easter. Our instructor said they last forever. She showed up some from previous years and the yolks hardened and sounded like a rattle when she shook them. She warned us that if they broke – they would smell suspiciously like rotten eggs.
Email us some of your pictures. We’d love to see them.