Easter egg safety during the holidays
The egg hunt is on! However, if you want to eat those Easter eggs after the Easter hunt, you need to be thinking about Easter egg food safety. Families all over the country will buy, dye, and hunt for eggs in the next few days. If you handle the eggs properly, those colored eggs will be safe to eat in the upcoming week. Add the leftover eggs to a salad, eat as a snack, or a even a quick breakfast.
Nutrients in an egg
A hard boiled egg has only about 80 calories, but is rich in many nutrients such as protein, phytochemicals, and B-complex vitamins. Eggs are also a source of vitamins D, A, 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 2019, 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!
Purchasing and refrigerating your eggs
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.
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.
After purchasing, refrigerate eggs immediately at 40° or less. Avoid putting eggs in the refrigerator door, as temperatures will be inconsistent and may not meet temperature guidelines.
- 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.
Prepping eggs for cooking, coloring, eating
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.
Cook the eggs thoroughly. Place your eggs in a pan of water and bring to a boil. Just as water boils, remove from the burner and cover with a lid. Let eggs remain in the hot water for 9 minutes for medium eggs and 15 minutes for extra large.
After cooked, refrigerate the eggs within a 2-hour period. You can safely eat your leftover Easter eggs for up to 7 days.
Use a food safe dye so you can plan on eating your Easter eggs!
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.
- If you are hiding real Easter eggs, pick clean areas to hide them inside your home. Bacteria lurks there as well.
Take away for Easter egg safety
Check your egg carton for “sell by date” to assure freshness. And, always check the eggs for intact and clean shells. Refrigerate the eggs at the proper temperature before coloring and within a 2-hour period after properly cooking. Hide them in a safe clean location and be sure to eat within 7 days. Enjoy as a breakfast, snack, or salad ingredient.
Do you do anything special with leftover eggs?