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Kristen Olsen
Ross Olsen dyes eggs with his family in 2005. Clockwise from left: Ross Olsen, Merika Olsen, Lyric Olsen, Renn Olsen, Victoria Olsen, Cord Olsen and Victor Roylance.

As a child in the 1940s Ross Olsen remembers going to the cellar to gather onionskins to color eggs at Easter.

At the bottom of the burlap sack he would find the thin skins used to make the eggs turn the color of marble. These days, he collects skins from the local grocery store.

“The store clerk looks at me a little funny,” Olsen said. “I go to the checkout line with a bag full of onion skins that don’t weigh a thing.”

Yes, it is that time of year again. Time for a tradition of coloring eggs the old fashioned way.

Olsen learned the art of dyeing eggs with onionskins from his mother Mary S. Olsen.

“Cousins, aunts, uncles, my sister, mother and father would all gather to color Easter eggs,” he said. “It was a family tradition. Today it is still a tradition for my wife, kids and grand kids.”

Onion Skin Easter Eggs

Step 1: Collect a small bag of brown and red onionskins. Often the local grocery store will save the skins if asked.

Step 2: Soak the skins in warm water. This method of dyeing eggs works best if the skin pieces are large.

Step 3: Cut small squares of cloth big enough to cover the egg completely. Soak the cloths.

Step 4: Place the soaked onion skins around the egg.

Step 5: Wrap the soaked cloth around the egg and tie a string or elastic tightly at the top.

Step 6: Cook the eggs slowly.

According to www.incredibleegg.org, you should gently cook your eggs, but not boil them. Below are its instructions for cooking eggs in a shell.

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add enough water to come at least one inch above the eggs. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Turn off heat. If necessary, remove the pan from the burner to prevent further boiling. Let the eggs stand, covered, in the hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (about 12 minutes for medium, about 18 for extra-large).

Step 7: After cooking, immediately remove the cloth and skins and rinse the egg in cold water. Dry the egg, and then use a small amount of olive oil and rub the egg until it shines.

Eggs need to be eaten right away or put in the refrigerator soon after cooking. The FDA recommends using hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within one week after cooking.

Remarkably, these dyed eggs taste nothing like onion. The end result is an egg that looks hand painted and good enough to display at any Easter feast.

Amy Wilde is a writer living in Brigham City, Utah. You can read her blog at http://amywildeatmosphere.blogspot.com/, follow her on twitter at wildeatmosphere or email her at wilde.amy@gmail.com.