The Easter Egg Hunt: Keeping Safe at the Plate

kids with eggs dyingThe egg hunt is on! Families all over the country will buy, dye, and hunt for eggs in the next few hours.  It is a fun tradition, and the eggs can easily be eaten as a snack, breakfast, or added to salad if they are handled properly pre and post coloring.

A hard boiled egg has only but 80 calories, but is rich in many nutrients, including protein, phytochemicals, many B-complex vitamins, and vitamins A, D, and E. If eggs are from chickens fed an omega-3 rich feed, the hatched eggs will also contain omega-3 fatty acids which we need more of in the American diet.  Another nutritional perk of eggs hatched in 2016, is they are significantly lower in cholesterol.  Today’s eggs have an average of only 180 mg. of cholesterol, down from about 220 mg. cholesterol in years past!

Here are ten tips to keep those eggs safe to eat after Easter.

  1. When purchasing your eggs, make sure there are no broken or dirty eggs The shell keeps the inside of the eggs free of bacteria and a broken shell can allow for bacterial contamination.
  2. Be sure to check the date stamped on the carton.  Avoid purchasing eggs which are stamped with a “sell by” date close to the purchase date.
  3. After purchasing, eggs should be refrigerated immediately at 40° or less.  Avoid putting eggs in the refrigerator door, as temperatures will be inconsistent and may not meet temperature guidelines.
  4. For eggs already in your refrigerator, you may safely use them for both coloring and eating even if the sell-by date has already passed.  In fact, they can be safely eaten 2-4 weeks past that stamped “sell by” date.  If your eggs are typically stored in another container in the refrigerator, and you have no idea how long they have been there, it is best to pitch them and start with fresh eggs for coloring if you plan on eating them.
  5. Consumers should not wash egg shells prior to hard boiling.  When the chicken lays an egg it has a protective film coating to protect the inside of the egg.  Washing the shell can actually remove that protective film, and hasten the likelihood of bacteria moving into the egg.
  6. Cook the eggs thoroughly.  For directions on how to cook a hard boiled egg, visit:  http://www.incredibleegg.org/recipes/recipe/easy-hard-boiled-eggs
  7. After cooked, the eggs may be dyed but must be refrigerated within 2 hours.
  8. Be sure to use a food safe dye if you plan on eating your Easter eggs.
  9. Do not plan on eating Easter eggs which have been placed on the ground.  This becomes a perfect recipe for making you ill as the bacteria from the ground can enter the cooked egg.  Stick with the plastic version for egg hunting in the yard.
  10.  If you are hiding real Easter eggs, pick clean areas to hide them inside your home.  Eggs can only safely be left unrefrigerated for 2 hours, so keep your egg hunt to no more than 2 hours.  Leftover Easter eggs should be eaten within 7 days as long as they have been properly handled and refrigerated.

kids with eggs

Does your family do anything special with leftover Easter eggs?

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