Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

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  • 12 yellow onions (not red onions, which produce a grayish-purple dye)
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 white-shelled raw eggs
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rubber bands
  • Various small sprigs of herbs, flower blossoms or foliage


Peel onions and place all skins in a pot. Keep peeled onions for another use. (My family loves this time of year, because of the huge pot of Caramelized French Onion Soup that comes out of this!)

Pour water over skins and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, or until you reach your desired color, stirring occasionally. The liquid in the pan will turn from pale tea color to a deep, gorgeous, brick red. This is your egg dye.

Strain the dye into a smaller saucepan, pressing down on the skins. At this point you may either color your eggs by simmering them in the dye bath for 12 to 15 minutes or you may do a little further decoration.

To decorate

This method will create a relief design on the surface of the egg. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 8 inches square. Place a small herb sprig, flower blossom or foliage on the cheesecloth and set the egg on top of the foliage. Bring the edges of the cheesecloth up around the egg and twist in the back, making sure the decoration is pressed tightly against the front surface of the egg. (This will keep the dye from seeping under the surface of the foliage.) Secure with a rubber band and trim off any excess cheesecloth. Repeat with as many eggs as you would like to decorate.

Place eggs carefully in the dye bath (you may have to do this in batches) and bring the dye bath to a simmer. Cook the eggs gently for 12 to 15 minutes or until the color is deep and rich.

Remove eggs and allow to cool. Cut the rubber band off with kitchen shears and peel off the cheesecloth and foliage, revealing your design. Once the eggs have cooled completely, rub them with a little oil to make them shiny. These eggs are edible (although slightly hard cooked), and will need to be stored in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them.

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