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Naturally Dyed Eggs : A Fun Activity For Children of All Ages, Anytime
Using a Natural Dye and Color to Decorate Easter Eggs
A Learning Experience For Children
Decorating eggs can be a fun project for both children and family alike, and you don't even have to wait for Easter.
Using a natural dye (onion skins in this article) is eco-friendly in that the skins aren't discarded into the trash and end up in land fills. After use, they can be composted in your yard.
The onion skins make for the loveliest color of a robin's reddish-orange breast. And to answer your question, no, there isn't any onion taste in the egg.
Oh my, did this chick hatch from the red eggs?
Included in this photo is a Pysanky egg, Ukranian in origin. Designs are drawn on an emptied egg and beeswax is used to protect the white color of the eggshell.
As for the pattern: pine needles (symbolizing health) and flowers are used on this fine example.
(Hot water and a knife are used in this recipe for dying eggs, so please use caution with small children.)
Uncooked Chicken Eggs
Emptying and Preparing the Eggs
The eggs for my naturally dyed eggs weren't emptied, so they must be eaten in a few days to prevent possible spoilage and illness.
You might prefer emptying the eggs so the shells will be lasting and their beauty can be appreciated longer.
To empty the egg, poke a small hole into the top of the shell (at room temperature) with a small knife. On the bottom of the shell, make a larger (but not too large) hole. Poke a toothpick into both holes to loosen the whites and break the yolk.
Cover both holes with your fingers and shake gently to loosen the egg. Now blow into the smaller hole and let the contents of the egg flow through the larger hole.
Clean the shell more thoroughly by washing in a soapy warm water bath with a small amount of vinegar. Rinse with cool water and let dry. You can reuse the egg carton to dry your egg shells.
Using Natural Onion Skins
Assembling the Main Ingredient
I am using yellow globe onion skins, which has been a tradition in my Italian family since my childhood.
The dried skins can be accumulated all year long. Children might find it fun to place them in a plastic bag where they can dry out. They won't smell unless there is some of the onion flesh included.
I have also heard that you can ask the produce department at your local supermarket. The skins are usually at the bottom of the barrel when they prepare onions as some usually slough off on their own. Don't be afraid to ask.
Dry the Eggs in Reusable Egg Carton
Dying and Cooking Easter Eggs
In order to make these naturally dyed eggs, let's assemble the ingredients.
You will achieve a rich color with this water/onion skins ratio. To obtain a lighter color, use more water or less onion skins.
This is a recipe for boiled eggs. If you prefer to empty the eggs before dying, follow the same directions, but leave in the water for ten minutes only.
4 white eggs (not brown eggs)
6 cups water in large saucepan with cover (if using more eggs, be sure the water level covers the eggs)
6 cups dried onion skins
Reusable egg carton
Add onion skins to the water. Heat on high until boiling point. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat to medium-low and leave on for 10-15 minutes for a hard boiled egg.
For a soft boiled egg, removed the pan when the water comes to a boil and leave in the water for 2-4 minutes.
Remove the eggs (gently) with a slotted spoon and place in the egg carton.
Maybe this spring chicken laid the red eggs?
Serving the Cooked Egg
Yes, you can have your eggs dyed and eat it too!
How lovely this will look on your breakfast/brunch table anytime of the year.
A soft boiled egg that has been dyed with onion skin is served in an antique egg cup.
Decorated Eggs Used For Tree Ornaments
An emptied, naturally dyed egg can certainly be used for decorating trees for Easter or Christmas.
The tree ornament (in photo) may very well have its origin in Europe.
The emptied egg was painted with bright colorful flowers.
The holes in either end are covered with a small circle of paper or fabric and a cord is attached for hanging on a tree.
This could be a tradition that your family may want to begin and continue for years to come.
All photos in this article were taken by the author, Camille Gizzarelli.
Share with our Hubpages community what eggs you may have decorated (recently or when you were a child).
Introduce the Idea
The truth is, children today spend more time on an electronic device than perhaps we did watching TV when we were young.
Introduce the idea of a fun activity such as coloring eggs. You can even share your childhood experiences with coloring eggs. I bet they'll listen.