Easter is right around the corner and people are starting to dye their eggs across the country. As you get your eggs out to decorate, cook, or hide this year, keep in mind a few safety tips:
- Be sure to inspect the eggs before purchasing them. Dangerous bacteria may enter a cracked egg.
- Always purchase eggs before the “Sell-By” or “EXP'” date on the carton. For best quality, use eggs within 3 to 5 weeks of the date you purchase them. The ‘sell-by’ date will usually expire during that length of time, but the eggs are perfectly safe to use.
- Eggs should be stored in their original containers and not in the convenient egg compartment in your refrigerator. The door is the warmest part of your refrigerator and not the best place for eggs.
- Once eggs are hard-cooked, they should be refrigerated (in their shells) within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week. Refrigerate them in a clean container, not their original egg carton.
- If you are lucky enough to be the person who hides the eggs, consider your hiding places carefully. Whether your eggs are real or plastic, avoid areas where pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects, or lawn chemicals could contaminate them.
- As long as the eggs are not out of refrigeration over two hours, they will be safe to eat. Do not eat eggs that have been out of refrigeration more than two hours. If you are planning to use colored eggs as decorations, where the eggs will be out of refrigeration for many hours or several days, discard them after they have served their decorative purpose.
- The test of freshness that involves seeing if an egg floats in a glass of salt-water is not a reliable test. While eggs do take in air as they age, the size of the air cell varies from egg to egg when they are laid. Therefore, a freshly laid egg and an older egg might react very similarly.
- When unsure about the safety of your eggs, as with all foods, when in doubt, throw them out.
Enjoy dying your eggs, but don’t forget to eat them too! It’s good to get some protein along with the Easter candy you eat. Eggs have 6 grams of protein per serving, no sugar, contain all nine essential amino acids, and are loaded with choline, an essential nutrient responsible for the transportation of nutrients throughout the body and one that is needed for brain, heart, and liver health. Not to mention, eggs cost an average of 15 cents per serving, making them the least expensive source of high-quality protein.
Many people avoid eggs in an effort to lower their cholesterol. I share with them that the nutritional benefits of eggs far outweigh the little bit of cholesterol you get too. Check with your doctor or dietitian to determine how many eggs per week are right for you.
You might also want to celebrate Egg Salad Week next week. It’s a great way to be sure you use your hard-boiled eggs within a week. Here’s to a healthier you!
For more information please call Stephanie at the Purdue Extension Kosciusko County office at (574) 372-2340, or email at [email protected].