The American Egg Board has a few tips to make your Easter a safe and happy one:
• Use only clean grade A or AA eggs with clean, unbroken shells that have been stored at or below 41 degrees.
• Discard any eggs that are unclean, cracked, broken or leaking after cooking.
• Wash all utensils, equipment, and work areas that come in contact with raw eggs in hot soapy water.
• Boil eggs at 160 degrees for 15 minutes. While salmonella is destroyed when hard-cooked eggs are properly prepared, these eggs can spoil more quickly than raw eggs. After cooking, cool hard-cooked eggs quickly under running cold water or in ice water and refrigerate immediately.
• If you keep the eggs for later consumption, keep them refrigerated until you eat them. But do not keep them for over a week.
• Never place an egg to be eaten on display for more than two hours.
• Hide Easter eggs that are to be eaten in locations that are free of pesticides, herbicides, animal wastes, and other garbage.
If you intend to eat the eggs, make sure to use approved food dyes only. Other inks, paints, and metallic dyes are fine for eggs as long as they are not consumed.
It is important to remember that any dye used on eggs to be eaten should be warmer than the egg itself.
“Otherwise, the food coloring permeates the shell through osmosis,” warns Linda Braun, AEB’s consumer services director. “And bacteria can be carried along as well. That’s especially important when little hands that have a tendency to touch everything and every place come in contact with the egg or the coloring.”
While approved food colorings are dandy for edible eggs, creating your own colors from natural sources can be an educational experience for children. It allows them to see how pigments and colorings are produced from natural sources.
For any of the following natural color sources, put tap water at least an inch above the color source. Use about a cup of water for each handful of the material, bring the water to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes to an hour – until you see the color you like. Turn off the heat and sieve the color through cheesecloth. Add 2-3 teaspoons of white vinegar to each cup of color.