Easter holds many great childhood memories for me. Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, family time filled with plenty of milk chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts. Oh, and the dreaded 5 a.m. Easter Sunday morning church service!
It wouldn't be Easter without Coloring Easter Eggs. Mum always dyed Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, making a deep golden rusty egg colour. I was envious of the kids at school that had colorful store bought dye colored eggs. As a kid, I didn't appreciate our family traditions using the onion peels to dye eggs at Easter. It's amazing how time gives you perspective, plus the added benefit of healthier, chemical free, dyed eggs.
How to Dye Eggs with Onion Skins
Dyeing Russian Easter Eggs with onion skins is a popular way to dye eggs in Russia, former Soviet states and Orthodox countries. The color is meant to come out red, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, and the hard shell symbolizes the tomb. When dyeing eggs with onion skins, the colors usually range from dark orange, to brown to a red brown. They are similar to Greek Orthodox Easter Eggs.
It's a great chemical free way to celebrate Easter. The other way we naturally dye eggs is using red cabbage. The eggs turn out an amazing blue color, check out the recipe here. With all natural dyes, the longer the eggs sit in the natural dye, the deeper and darker the colors will be, regardless if you use white or brown eggs.
Russian Easter Egg Traditions
Traditionally we take these dyed Russian Easter Eggs and take turns trying to crack each others eggs. One person holds the egg and the other taps the top of their egg, hoping not to break their own, but their opponents. The winner is the person who successfully cracks their opponents egg. The cracked egg symbolizes Christ's resurrection from the tomb. As we celebrate Easter, we greet each other with Христос воскрес (Christ is Risen) to which we reply Воистину воскрес (He is Truly Risen).
Eating Dyed Easter Eggs
These Easter Eggs aren't just for decoration, you eat them of course! I usually just eat the eggs with salt, but with so many eggs, I also make Olivye - Russian Potato Salad and Shuba Herring Salad, or Mimosa Salad; essentials at a Russian celebration table. Remember to keep the dyed eggs refrigerated until serving. It seems wasteful to make Easter Eggs and not to eat them!
Why Do Russians Dye Eggs with Onion Skins?
This is a tasty tradition in Russian, Slavic and Eastern European countries at Easter. These naturally dyed deep brown-red (onion brown) Easter eggs represent the blood of Christ, and the hard shell represents the tomb. Our tradition is to tap the top of the cooked Easter eggs with each other until one breaks. The cracked eggs symbolize Christ's resurrection from the dead.
We all take turns in the family. One person holds the egg and the other taps the top of their egg, hoping not to break their own, but their opponents. The winner is the person who successfully cracks their opponents egg. Then we peel the eggs and eat them with salt. We still practise this tradition with my kids.
How to Dye Eggs with Onion Skins
The hardest part of this recipe is collecting the onion skins! I usually buy a big bag and start saving early. It's easy to peel the onion skins, and you only need them from about 10 onions. It's a super easy egg recipe. Just place the onion skins, eggs and water in a saucepan. The water should fully cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil for about 20 minutes. If you like the colors darker, leave them in the mix while they cool. Remember to place in the fridge until you are ready to crack them and eat them! Don't waste the eggs! Eat them!
Who knew that onion skins were a natural dye? An easy natural dye that was available to the farmers and peasants of Russia, steeped in Orthodox tradition. You can use brown or white eggs for different color variations. Plus if you place a few drops of vegetable oil on the dyed egg and rub with a paper towel, you get a nice shine.
It's easy dyeing eggs with onion skins. Plus you get the benefit of naturally dyeing your Easter Eggs without harsh chemicals and dyes. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Russian Easter Eggs with Onion Skins (Video)
- onion peels from 10-12 onions
- water to cover the onion peels and eggs
- 1 dozen uncooked eggs at room temperature
- Place the onion peels and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil for about 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool to around room temperature. Place the eggs inside the saucepan with the onion peels. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes. If you are unsatisfied wiht the color, allow the eggs to cool in the onion mixture for a deeper color. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to dry.
- Optional: Gently rub the eggs with a bit of cooking oil for a nice shine. Keep the eggs refrigerated until you are ready to eat them on Easter morning.