As a dual citizen of both Latvia & The United States, and having been the first generation born in the USA by Latvian parents, I grew up enjoying many of the wonderful traditions of the Latvian culture.  One of them is the special way in which Easter Eggs are naturally-dyed using botanical ingredients & onion skins.

Judging by the amount of pins on Pinterest I’ve seen about using natural pigments & organic materials to color Easter eggs, the traditional Latvian method of using botanicals & onion skins should really be in style this year.  This traditional method involves not only dying the eggs with onion skins, but by using simple wraps to hold leaves, herbs and other botanicals against the egg, producing beautiful designs.

The last week of Lent (Holy Week) for Latvians is called klusā nedēļa, or ‘quiet week.’ The Latvian Easter tradition of dying Easter Eggs together as a family is quite easy for all ages.  Each year, just before Easter, at my grandparent’s home, we would gather our materials, including all the onion skins saved throughout the year for this purpose, small pieces of cheese cloth, some parsley, dill, and other interestingly shaped greenery.  Sitting around the kitchen table, with a small square of cloth and an egg in front of each of us, we would begin reaching for the onion skins heaped in the center of the table, and some interesting greenery to enhance the design, and, begin preparing the eggs for the dying process.

The process is as follows:

Once you have gathered your onion skins, the next step is to collect some leaves, herbs and little flowers that will leave designs on the eggs when colored. Ferns, clover and spruce leaves make interesting designs, as well as flowers. Dandelion leaves can leave a yellowish tinge, and some flowers will leave other colors. First, use water to dampen these botanicals so that they will adhere to the egg.

To complete the wrapping process you need to tie everything up into a little package. Many people use cheesecloth, others use clean nylon pantyhose, this year we used pieces of gauze. 


Next, boil a big pot of water with all of your onion skins. Place all your little egg botanical packages into the pot, ensuring they are covered with water. You might have to add some water but do not overdo it as the color is darker if there is less water.  Add a little vinegar to help the eggs absorb the color.  Bring to a boil once more, remove from heat, let cool and then store overnight in the fridge.

The next part is the most fun, I feel like a kid opening Christmas presents when carefully unwrapping the eggs. I always try to notice what left the most interesting designs, or unique colors, filing away this information for the following year. I wash off any specs of the onion skins with cold water, but carefully, as even a dishcloth can scratch the beautiful brown color. Finally, you can glaze the eggs with a little organic cooking oil which makes the brown color deeper and adds some luster.

Priecīgas Lieldienas "Happy Easter" and may you have a wonderful spring!



  • 1 dozen white, organic eggs
  • Skins from approx. 10 onions 
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • Approx. 2 quarts water
  • String 
  • Clean cheese cloth, gauze or nylon stockings cut into 4” pieces
  • Herbs, leaves, flowers and other botanicals to decorate


  1. Place onion skins in large stockpot.
  2. Make sure eggs are clean. Dampen eggs slightly and apply leaves, flowers and botanicals to decorate. Place inside of piece of nylon stocking and tie both ends. Make sure the egg is wrapped tightly so that the botanical decoration stays in place.
  3. Place prepared eggs into the pot with the onion skins.
  4. Cover with water so that it is 1” above eggs. Add the vinegar and place the pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Check eggs for desired color.
  7. Remove from heat, let cool and store in fridge overnight.
  8. When ready, carefully remove eggs from the fridge. Next, remove the stockings and design pieces. Dry off and oil if desired for shine.

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March 14, 2024 — True Nature Homestead