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Red Easter Eggs and the Magic of Onion Skins

by Sava

As we get ready for our Greek Orthodox Easter, a week after everyone else’s Easter, I was preparing to dye our eggs the traditional red/scarlet. Typically I have used Rit dye which is for fabrics, not food, because I never could find natural or food grade dye in our local markets. However, as I read one of my favorite food blogs, Kalofagas-Greek Food and Beyond by Chef Peter Minakis, I noticed he had written an article in one of his local newspapers in Toronto, CA, on the traditional foods of Orthodox Easter. Included in that article was a recipe for dying eggs red by using yellow onion skins. WHAT? How is that possible?? I decided to give it a try since I would always prefer to use a natural dye that would be safe and have no warnings connected to it. So here is the recipe:

 all the dry, flaky onion skins from 10 yellow onions
5 cups of water
2 T white vinegar
12 eggs at room temperature

Mix the water and vinegar and pour over the onion skins in a pot large enough for the onion skins. I used a small plate on top of the skins to keep them immersed. Boil this for 30 minutes then remove from heat, pour through a colander into another pot large enough to accomodate a dozen eggs in a single layer and let the dye cool. Once it is cool, carefully place the eggs in the water. Bring this to a slow boil and let the eggs boil for 15 minutes. Leave them in the dye overnight in the fridge. In the morning rinse them off and dry. You can put a little oil on a cloth and rub all over each egg to make them shine.

I am thrilled with the outcome. They are the perfect color red. Don’t you agree?

See you next time!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan April 10, 2015 at 9:30 pm

It works! I thought it would be the skins of the red onion but no, evidently they turn eggs blue but the yellow skins do turn them red. Bravo!


Sava April 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Hi Dan, Amazing, I must say! It is purple cabbage that turns eggs blue. I’m not sure what red onions do to eggs! Maybe I will have to experiment. I think I better start saving my dry,yellow onion skins for next year. It will be here before we know it!!


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