When I was young we called them Dunkle Brownies and I don’t remember an Easter without them. They started out as just a deep brown egg and have evolved into the beautiful eggs we now enjoy as a family today. I love seeing all the different designs family members come up with from their area. Someday I want to try using crayon to make designs on the eggs then dying them in the same onion skin water these are done in. When you use crayon or wax on the egg the dye won’t dye the part of the egg with the wax or crayon on it.
You will need
1 dozen white eggs
Old t-shirt rag
5 quart stock pot
Large amount of onion skins
Small green leaves, flowers and pretty plants you can find this early in the year
Colored crayon if you want to put someone’s name on the egg.
Coconut or some other kind of oil
Old dish towel you don’t mind getting stains on.
Take a t-shirt rag and cut off the seams.
Then make a cut 1 to 1 ½ inches wide so that you can tear the shirt horizontally. Grab both sides of the cut and rip through to the other end. Repeat this 12 times making 12 strips of fabric to wrap your eggs.
When done take each strip and make a small cut half of the width of the strip and pull both sides of this to tear the strip around three to four inches. (This will be to secure the t-shirt material after wrapping the egg)
Fill a five quart stock pot with onion skins (yellow or red onion skins work best). I usually just raid the onion racks in the root cellar. My mom saves the skins from the onions she uses throughout the year.
If you wish to put names on your eggs write them on with a colored crayon so you can see where you have written. You want to be careful not to put your pretty plants over where you have written the name or it will distort the name so you cannot read it.
While the onions are simmering get your egg wet. It will help the leaves and flowers cling to the egg. I also like to keep my pretty plants wet. It helps them stick to the egg while you wrap it. Place your first leaf or flower on the egg. Then lay the uncut end of your t-shirt strip over the piece of plant. Hold your thumb and finger over this and continue to place plant pieces on the egg while rolling the material stretching it a bit as you roll and flattening the plants out on the egg as you go. Your goal is to cover the entire egg except where you wrote the name with plants and then cover the plants with t-shirt material. When you get to the end of your strip separate the two ends where you cut the strip in half. Pull these ends to the opposite sides of the egg being careful to hold the t-shirt material tight to the egg. Tie off on the opposite side as pictured below. One tie is sufficient. If you make a knot they can be difficult to untie later in the process and you may have to cut your strip to get it off. Set your wrapped eggs aside until you get all of them wrapped with your pretty plants on them.
Gently put your eggs in the simmering onion skin pot and boil for 5 minutes gently pushing the eggs down in the pot so they are under the liquid. Turn off the burner at 5 minutes and let them stand in the water for a couple hours. The longer they stand the darker they get.
Gently remove the wrapped eggs from the water and set them in the sink. Slowly run cold water over them as you unwrap them, washing the plants off as you go (be careful not to drop the egg and crack it. Set the eggs on a dish towel you don’t mind getting stained to dry. When you have all your eggs unwrapped and the plants cleaned off gently dry the eggs and then coat them in oil by dipping a small piece of fabric in oil and rubbing it over the entire surface of the egg. This is not necessary if you prefer the more buff appearance of the eggs however I like the deeper color and shinier appearance of the oiled egg.
If you like you can hard boil more eggs then crack the shells. Put them down in the left over onion skins and water with their cracked shells on overnight. The next day take them out and peal them. They will take on the brown color where cracked giving them the appearance of a marbled egg. These pealed eggs make pretty deviled eggs or served just as hard boiled eggs.
You can then throw your egg peals and onion skins in your compost or drain them and put them in the trash. If you are really adventurous you can experiment with natural dying some fabrics and fibers before discarding the rich dark dye.