Cheryl St.John: Easter Traditions

cheryl-1954In my family, we followed traditional Easter traditions. On Easter Sunday, we donned our new bonnets and ruffled dresses and went to church. Afterward we had a dinner that most often centered on a ham, dark ham gravy and mashed potatoes. My mouth waters just thinking about my grandma’s ham gravy and mashed potatoes. Of course I learned how and that’s been the custom in my family for as long as my kids can remember.
But the highlight of Easter morning? The chocolate bunny! I’m still a sucker for a chocolate bunny.
We always dyed eggs prior to the big day. You know, the old stinky stuff that required hot water and vinegar. I don’t remember Easter egg hunts as a kid, but we always hid eggs for our children. And it’s now a tradition for the extended family to gather at our place for the hunt. One person stores the plastic eggs each year. We have way way too many. Everyone brings candy and coins and while the kids are otherwise occupied, a team fills the eggs. Another hides them. And then the kids look for them, of course.
Over the years I’ve probably taken hundreds of pictures of Easter egg hunts. And now…well we have more teenagers than not, so it’s not such a big deal anymore.
eggMy husband is German, and traditionally eggs are dyed differently in the old country, so in order to bring some of his culture into the holiday I learned how to dye eggs with onion skins. They’re so unique that I actually prefer them. They make beautiful baskets and trays, and the eggs don’t taste any different.
You can start saving onion skins ahead of the holiday – or, as I do, go to the grocery store and gather up a bag of onion skins that have fallen to the bottom of the bin.
onion-skin-eggsSoak several large ones in water and moisten raw eggs.
There are many techniques that work for patterns. You can wrap the wet skins around the egg.
Or you can gather little flowers and leaves out of doors, press those against the egg first, and then wrap the egg with a skin. Rubber band it on if you like. Or cut little squares of cotton fabric and tie the wrapped egg inside, then fasten with a twistie or a rubber band.
Or you don’t even have to wrap them at all. Boil the eggs right out of the carton. Do half and half.
Layer a large saucepan or heavy kettle with onion skins, place wrapped or plain eggs on top, cover with more onions skins and set to boiling.
The first time I heard of this and tried it, the directions called for hours of boiling, so I tried it. The eggs were even edible. later I learned you can boil them for a normal 8 minutes.
Rinse will cool water, dry and, if you prefer, rub a little vegetable oil on the shell to get a gloss.
The design possibilities and variation of color and darkness are limitless.
So whatever, your holiday tradition, whether you meet friends for dinner or have a crowd to your home, I wish you a lovely holiday.
Have a blessed Easter!  
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11 thoughts on “Cheryl St.John: Easter Traditions”

  1. Hi Cheryl! Happy Easter to you! The onion skin eggs are beautiful and so old fashioned. I’ve never seen anything like them.

    Our Easter traditions have changed over the years as the kids have grown and flew the coop, but I will always remember a particular Easter. I was about seven, so I had the dress, the hat, and a fabulous pair of baby blue patent leather shoes. Loved ’em!

  2. Happy Easter, Cheryl and all the fillies!

    I’d heard about the onions skin dying but those are the first I’ve actually seen. Very pretty! We did the traditional things in the past, big breakfast, egg hunt, and Ham diner, but this year all the kids and grandkids are scattered so we’re having dinner with friends at their house on the lake.

  3. Dear Cheryl, I had never heard of the onion skins for coloring eggs but will have to give it a try.

    As the family grows, things change. When the kids were little we hid the baskets and the candy all over the house. The kids had a ball searching, with the two older ones leaving anything below their waist to the younger.

    This year one of our daughters is joining us at the rest home to have lunch with my mother-in-law. Times have changed.

    Have a great day.

  4. That sounds like a wonderful and creative way of coloring the eggs… I think I will try that next year! Happy Easter All! 😀

  5. Hi Cheryl! I had never heard of this before but I will share it with my DH who does most…well ALL of our cooking! The pictures are wonderful and I love the flower designs. Thanks for sharing and have a BEAUTIFUL EASTER!

  6. I just wanted to tell I’m dying to read your next book, The Preacher’s Wife and will be ordering right away on May 1 from

    I have read several of your books but The Tenderfoot Bride is one of my most favorite historicals of all time.

  7. Hi Cheryl, I have never heard of onion skin colored eggs. When I was growing up we had the same traditions we would get up dress in our new Easter Frocks and bonnets yes that’s what we called them and went to Church. After Church we would go to my grandmothers house for dinner and to hunt eggs. My grandmother always had a huge Easter egg hunt.

  8. Cool new way (for me) anyway to dye eggs and they are so pretty!

    I had to smile at your picture, Cheryl! Throw a coat on and that was ME at Easter in New York. But where are your white gloves?

  9. Thanks for the wonderful directions for onion skin eggs. I’m coping them and may not wait until next Easter to try it.

    Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

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