Caution urged when handling cooked eggs

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By Staff
Hunting Easter eggs again? Do it the safe way.
Many &#8220children” young and old alike are looking forward to the traditional Easter egg hunt this weekend. 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 Easter egg hunt is over you can eat those eggs, right? No. Wrong. No way. Na-Da. Nope. Don't do it. Please don't eat the real eggs you hide!
Instead follow this great tip: Hide plastic eggs for the egg hunt and then let the children exchange them for the colorful hard-cooked eggs, after the hunt. Putting little candies or toys inside the plastic eggs will also add to the fun.
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, and 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 remove 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.
Boiling the perfect Easter egg: Place eggs in a single layer in saucepan. Add just enough water to come at least 1-inch above 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 immediately.
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 and where the air cells are 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 &#8220recipe 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.
Recipes for one quart of Pickled Eggs
Red Beet Eggs
1 cup red beet juice
One-half cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
a few small canned red beets (can be whole or slicked beets)
Dilled Eggs
1 and one-half cups white vinegar
1 cup water
One-fourth teaspoon dill seed
One-fourth teaspoon white pepper
3 teaspoons salt
One-fourth teaspoon mustard seed
One-half teaspoon onion juice
One-half teaspoon minced garlic
Sweet and Sour Eggs
1 and one-half cups apple cider
One-half 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 and one-half cups apple cider
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. mixed pickling spice
1 clove peeled garlic
One-half sliced onion
One-half teaspoon mustard seed.

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