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all natural

folk art eggs


learned to make onion skin dyed eggs from a friend whose

recipe came from her grandmother, who said she got it from her mother, who probably got it from hers. You get the picture. The European tradition of making onion skin dyed Easter eggs is very old, but it fits nicely into modern values that call for using all natural ingredients and eco-friendly cooking techniques. Organic foodstuffs used to be just what we ate, but today we need to beware of contaminants in our food. I love to relax and forget that worry when making folk art eggs using organic free-range eggs. Applying natural dyes not only feels refreshing and wholesome, but these eggs always look great and taste scrumptious. If you can bear to crack and peel one, you won’t taste onion, but you’ll notice the improved flavor. If you’d rather keep than eat these unusual eggs, I’ve added a foolproof method to blow out the egg shells before dyeing. Blown folk art eggs can last for years and look very pretty in gift baskets and homemade floral arrangements. Anyone can create folk art eggs. For the best experience, organize everything you’ll need and prepare your materials ahead of time. Once you get started tying and dyeing, you’ll like this easy process so much that you won’t stop until every egg is beautiful.

- Patti Restivo

get ready

1. First, gather your supplies and equipment. Basic Onion Skin Dyed Eggs

Uncooked free-range eggs at room temperature Lots and lots of onion skins Vegetable oil, butter, or cooking spray Dash of salt

Deeper Colored or Stenciled Eggs All of the ingredients above, plus organic cranberry juice, organic purple grape juice, organic beet water, and/or organic spinach water Small pieces of fresh herbs and leaves (large enough to use as stencils) Rice (in various shapes to make designs)

Basic Equipment Large pot of water and lid Large bowl of water 8 inch squares of cheesecloth or clean, recycled nylon hose Natural string or rubber bands Tongs Colander

Optional Blown Eggs Toothpick Syringe Large safety pin Meat tenderizer Clean bowl

Optional Assembly Materials Basket Filling (hays, grasses, stones, shells, live plants, anything you like)

Russian Variation 窶認or deeper color, add onion skins directly to the boiling water.

2. Add a pinch of salt to your pot of water and set it on the stove to boil.

get set up

3. Prepare your onion skins for wrapping. Soak your onion skins in clean water. Handle the skins carefully; the skins will tear easily and big pieces work best.

photo by Linda Dawkins

4. Prepare shells for blown eggs (optional). a. Allow eggs to rest out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes. b. Poke holes in both ends of the egg by gently tapping the safety pin into the shell with the meat tenderizer. Make the hole at the large end big enough for the the toothpick to penetrate; make a smaller hole at the opposite end. c. Insert the toothpick in the large hole, break the yolk, and swish the egg. d. Wash the egg before you put your mouth on it. e. Blow into the small end of the egg. f. Use the toothpick to swish and scramble the egg in between puffs. Hold the egg just firmly enough to keep it still. g. Catch the liquid egg in a clean bowl. h. Use the syringe to fill the egg shell with water to make it heavy enough to stay submerged while boiling. i. Handle the same as the eggs you plan to hard boil.

5. Wet eggs just before wrapping.


6. Wrap room temperature eggs. a. Cover the entire surface of wet egg with layers of large pieces of

onion skins. (For stencils, apply random shapes made from any organic material to the eggs first so that they lay flat underneath the onion skin layer.) b. Wrap onion skin-covered egg in cloth (tie with string) or recycled nylon sock and secure with rubber band. Russian Variation: Spread cloth on the surface of your table and arrange leaves, rice, and bits of any organic plant material into a design. Place a wet egg in center of cloth and pull sides up to wrap carefully. Secure with string. Boil in water full of onion skins for ten minutes.

7. Boil in lightly saled water for 7 to 10 minutes.

Color Variation—Experiment wth colors by boiling your eggs in beet or spinach water.


8. Remove pot from stove. a. Pour off boiling water and gently add cold water to cool the

eggs. b. Remove eggs from the pot and let rest in colander. c. Carefully remove strings and take the eggs out of the cloths. Peel away the onion skins. Be very careful handling the blown eggs at this stage. The water you pumped into the shell will probably still be hot. Make sure it is completely cool before blowing out the water or you’ll burn your mouth.

9. Pat eggs dry.

While warm, spray with cooking spray or rub with butter or vegetable oil.

10. Polish with a soft cloth until your eggs shine. Aren’t they beautiful? Clean up is really fast and easy, too. But, if you can, get someone else to do that while you continue playing. Loosen your imagination further and make gorgeous arrangements and presentations.


ecycling this good idea is a very good idea. My folk art eggs always hit the mark at picnics and birthday parties. Friends and family call me the folk art egg diva because I love making and serving this pure and healthy food. You will be amazed at how people react to your creations—as if you’ve invented something new and wonderful. And by adding your own touches, you have. Every single folk art egg ever made will always be different and unique. How cool is that?

Pace egging is an old English custom using traditional eggs boiled with onion skins in Easter Festivals. With blackened faces and wearing animal skin costumes and colorful streamers, paceeggers once paraded through the streets of Lancashire singing a traditional song. Here’s one, two, three, jolly boys, all in one mind. We have come a pace egging and I hope you’ll prove kind. And we hope you prove kind, with your eggs and strong beer. And we’ll come no more nigh you until the next year.

The pacers collected eggs and money and must have been persistent, because today the term “pace-egg” means that someone, usually a child, is being a pest.

Folk Art Eggs  

Process Booklet