Red Onion Treasure

I love caramelised onion. Particularly caramelised RED onions. They make great tart fillings with goats cheese or blue cheese, served as entrees at a dinner party or as the main lunch option, especially if you might have vegetarians in the mix.. They are also terrific on a plate of cold meats, cheeses and pickles.

PLUS, anytime you use red onions to make yummy food, you are also creating the possibility of a fabric dyeing bonanza.

Recently I was at a Thermomix demo that included red onion chutney. I went to view another product entirely but came home to the thought: “you’ve got everything in the pantry that you need so why not make it?”

Below: 500g of red onions being peeled and sliced. Note the skins as a product.

Cook in olive oil

Above: Add other ingredients

Above: Red onion chutney with mushroom, feta, blue cheese and thyme to fill tart cases.

Above: Some filled tarts

But, wait, there’s more. I now had the saved red onion skins from 500g of red onions dried and aching to yield their colour….So I bagged them and lowered them into a pot full of water over high heat.

Above: while the water and dried red onion skins were warming, I pulled out a 25g mini skein of cream sock yarn (75% merino wool; 25% nylon) and a ball of No. 20 mercerised crochet cotton in white.

Above: As the water started to simmer I put in the sock yarn and the cotton.

Above: After 30 minutes the wool and nylon yarn is a satisfyingly deep shade of red. The cotton, as expected from a cellulose fibre, is not as dark but is a pleasant dusky pink. Because I added the wool/nylon skein in its still twisted form to the bath, I’ve managed to get a subtle variation in shading but have thankfully avoided any white bits.

Above: A close up of the two yarns given 30 minutes in a bath of red onion skins left over from making red onion chutney. No mordant required.

Conclusion: Never let a cooking binge go by without looking at your scraps for potential colour!!

This entry was posted in dyeing with red onion, Natural dyeing, woollen yarn dyeing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Red Onion Treasure

  1. Stephanie Knudsen says:

    Harvested carrots and there were more leaves than carrot unfortunately, but ended up with soft yellow cotton threads from the leaves

    • Margaret Ford says:

      I’m very familiar with that particular gardening outcome Stephanie! You’ve reminded me that I have a bag of carrot leaves in the freezer. Thanks for that!

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