Dye, hunt Easter eggs safely

Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2004

By Staff
Easter is just around the corner. Most "children" young and old alike are looking forward to the traditional Easter Egg Hunt.
You remember how that goes, don't you?
You dye all those eggs then hide them outside in the grass, bushes, behind trees and who knows where else.
You didn't even find all the eggs that were hidden last year. After the hunt is over, you then eat those eggs, right?
Handling eggs at Easter or at any time during the year provides many chances for eggs to become contaminated with bacteria. Keep the following tips in mind to assure your Easter will be a happy and safe one:
Keep fresh eggs refrigerated in the original carton until it's time to cook them. Eggs are a high protein food, in the same category as meat, poultry, fish and milk.
In other words, they are capable of supporting the rapid growth of disease causing bacteria Salmonella.
Never handle eggs excessively, and wash your hands thoroughly when you do handle them, whether in cooking, cooling or dyeing. The shell of an egg is very porous and will permit bacteria to penetrate.
Most commercial egg producers lightly coat their eggs with a thin spray coating of mineral oil to close the shell pores against contamination. Hard-cooking the eggs removes this protective barrier.
Never leave fresh eggs or hard-cooked eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, including preparation and serving.
Older eggs peel easier, so purchase your eggs for dyeing at least one week ahead.
Be sure that eggs are completely HARD-COOKED before dyeing or coloring.
When dyeing eggs, be sure to use only food grade dyes or food colorings.
GREAT TIP: Use the plastic eggs to hide for the egg hunt and let the kids exchange them for the colorful hard-cooked eggs, later.
Boiling the perfect Easter egg
Place eggs in a single layer in saucepan. Add just enough water to come at least 1-inchabove eggs.
Add one-tablespoon vinegar to allow for better dye coverage after cooking.
Cover pan and quickly bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and let stand in covered pan for 15 minutes. Immediately run cold water over eggs or place eggs in ice water for 15 minutes.
Boiling for a long period of time causes the yolks to have a greenish tint. Refrigerate immediatley.
Remember that hard-cooked eggs are only good for 10-12 days in the refrigerator if the shell is intact.
Pickled Eggs
Have you decided what to do with all those gaily-colored eggs that you have leftover?
Of course you can slip them into the kid's lunchboxes or keep them in the fridge for snacks.
But when the thought of eating another plain old hard-cooked egg is too boring to contemplate try one of these delicious pickle recipes for alternatives.
Crack the entire shell around the egg for easier peeling. Begin peeling the shell at the large end where the air cells is usually located. Peeling under running water can help remove all the thin, shell membranes
Pack one dozen or so medium-sized eggs loosely in a quart jar so the container will hold plenty of pickling solution. Any container that can be closed tightly is satisfactory.
In a saucepan heat your favorite choice of "recipe mixtures" from the list below to a near boil and simmer for five minutes. Pour mixture over the hard-cooked eggs.
Seal and immediately store in the refrigerator to season. It takes at least one week to season small eggs adequately, and from two to four weeks for normal and larger-sized eggs to season.
You can keep pickled eggs for several months in the pickling mixture at refrigerator temperatures. Drain before serving.
These pickled eggs are delicious with cold cuts, crusty bread and assorted cheeses. Enjoy!
Recipes for one quart of pickled eggs:
Red Beet Eggs
1 cup red beet juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
a few small canned red beets (can be whole or sliced beets)
Dilled Eggs
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dill seed
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon onion juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Sweet and Sour Eggs
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 package (about 12 ounces) red cinnamon candy
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Spicy Eggs
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
1 clove peeled garlic
1/2 sliced onion
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

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