Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Natural Red - Even Lucille Ball Would Be Jealous of These Eggs

Need to dye your eggs for Pascha but can't find the dyes in the grocery any longer?  Maybe you have an allergic reaction to synthetic dyes.  I did some research and found a few links and articles on naturally dyed eggs last month.  Here are the directions for naturally dyed red eggs.
STEP ONE - Collect Yellow Onion Skins.  Yes, YELLOW ONION SKINS.  Not red onions, yellow.  If I didn't do it myself I wouldn't believe it either. A large pot of yellow onion skins, when boiled for 30 minutes in 9 cups of water and 3/4 c of white vinegar make a red dye. 
making the dye
Cooking for my family of three, I didn't start early enough to save for this dye job, so one Sunday I asked for help from a local restaurant famous for their homemade onion rings.  The owner said they must go through a hundred pounds of onions a day!  I thought she was exaggerating, but by Tuesday afternoon she had two grocery bags stuffed and waiting for me. 

Before you prepare the dye, take the eggs out of the refrigerator so they can come to room temperature.  This will limit the cracking.   Also, I understand medium eggs dye better than large eggs. 
I crammed the one bag of skins into my large pot.  (I saved the other bag in case this didn't work.) As it turned out, one bag was more than enough. 
Poured 12 cups of water and 1 c of white vinegar over the skins and smooshed them down.  The original recipe called for 9 cups of water but I had so many skins and didn't think they would get wet enough, but they smoosh down very well.  There was more than enough dye.


As I did with the dolmathes, I inverted a plate and weighed it all down with my glass measuring cup before I boiled the skins.


It's Working!
 After 30 minutes of boiling the water...
Cook for 30 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Strain the skins in a colander, saving the dye in a clean pot.  It's a good idea to strain them again with a mesh strainer to remove little bits that can stick to the eggs when cooking or you can use coffee filters in the colander.   

 cooking the eggs
Place the room temperature eggs into the dye and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook, simmering eggs for 15 minutes.  (You can let the eggs sit in the dye water for 30 minutes before heating the water.)

Still had my doubts.


If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!

Hot out of the pot they looked very brown.  I was a bit disappointed.  But as they cooled they turned redder.  They camera took some liberties and makes them look redder than they were. 
When they are just cool enough to touch, dip a rag into a small bowl of olive oil, and coat the eggs. 




Our legal department says we are not liable for any spills or splatters
so be sure to wear an apron and use glass or stainless steel.

And although we can't endorse any particular company, (I love Yankee Candles)
we encourage you to light a sweetly scented candle. 
When you are working with onions, vinegar and boiled eggs, it can get a bit stinky. 


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Vikentios1287 said...

This looks awesome! Forgive my ignorance though as I am culinary challenged... did you hard boil the eggs in the dye or did you hard boil the eggs first and then put them in the dye?


Vassi said...

I'm glad you asked. I made the dye, then boiled the eggs in the dye for 15 minutes.

Vassi said...

Vikentios, I clarified the recipe. Thanks for your comment.

Vicki Toppses said...

Can you reuse the dye for more than one batch?

Liz said...

What a wonderful grouping. The prayer that takes us to repentance, encouragement to stay the course... whatever it may be, and an adventure in the kitchen while preparing for Pascha. Thank you so very much!

Vassi said...

Thank you.

Vassi said...

And yes, I saved the extra dye in a glass jar on the counter for 4 days and after I strained the dye, I colored the eggs beautifully!

Anonymous said...

About how many onions' worth of skins would you need in order to make the dye? Do I really need to save up an entire bag of them, or can I get the same results from, say, three or four onions? Thanks!

Vassi said...

I haven't tried making the dye with less than a pot full... but then I've been working on dying 200 eggs for the parish.

If you only need a few eggs, I say try it and see and let me know.