Today I dyed eggs for Pascha. I had the pleasure of onion skinning with my husband at Sprouts and then later at Albertson's with a young man from the produce department. It was such a crazy thing to first request onion skins and then to peel onions in public. Over 30 minutes we handled nearly every onion in the display until we had collected several inches worth in a large box. At Albertson's, the poor kid from produce turned out to be a Russian Orthodox boy who had left the church and obviously felt bad about it. What a weird and wonderful thing peeling onions turned out to be! He was really struck by it too because his name is the patron of our church. We talked about how traditions like this egg dying tied you to a particular place and gave you a context. He asked me when Pascha was. He told me about his mother who writes icons. He told me how he and his brothers never wanted to go to Church with her. He said when he was ready to settle down he would go back. He seemed a bit home sick, forlorn.
When I got home I promptly dropped and smashed my jar of sauce. Mr. Flavius has been in the best mood lately! Instead of being irritated and injured (I dropped it on his toe), he shooed me out the door to get more sauce rather than try to make do with something from the pantry. I had already dyed a dozen eggs, so I grabbed one on my way out the door. When I got back to the store he was stocking strawberries looking a bit lost in his thoughts. I handed him an egg and wished him a blessed Holy Week and a fruitful Pascha. He turned it over and over in his hands, examining it. "It is just like the ones my mother made when I was little." Pray for him, won't you? His name is Maximus.
Dying eggs with onion skins is not hard. It is a simple thing to do. All you need are:
- the skins of 15 or so large yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
- 4 cups of water
- 1 dozen eggs
- vegetable oil
To make the dye:
Place onion skins, vinegar, and water in a pot over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. Toss the skins.
To make the eggs:
Place the eggs in a pot in a single layer. Pour enough dye to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil, cover and turn off the the heat. Let the eggs steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon to a plate with paper towels. Let dry. Gently rub with vegetable oil. Take to church.