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Nashville, Ark. – One of the most enjoyable activities at Easter time is to dye and
decorate eggs to hide. I can remember as a child, Easter was a time when my extended
family (aunts, uncles, and cousins) got together to share a meal and later hide and
hunt Easter eggs. When I was a child, I guess plastic eggs were available, but we
didn’t have any. I loved to dye and decorate the eggs. Back then, I didn’t worry about
food safety. Mom probably took care to make sure our eggs were safe to eat. Today,
I still enjoy decorating eggs. While my children have outgrown the hiding and hunting
of eggs, I enjoy using them in centerpieces and usually make deviled eggs after Easter.
Here are some tips for ensuring that your Easter eggs will be safe to eat.
The risk of getting a food borne illness from eggs is low. However, the
nutrients that make eggs a high-quality food for humans are also a good growth medium
for bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere and in order for it to grow and multiply to a
dangerous food safety level it must have certain mediums; time, temperature and moisture.
Salmonella is the bacteria that may be found in eggs. You can reduce the risk of food
borne illness by proper handling of eggs when you are preparing and serving them.
Eggs are frequently handled at Easter time and each handling occasion
is one more chance that the eggs might come into contact with bacteria. To avoid bacterial
contamination, wash your hands thoroughly before you handle eggs at every step including
cooking, cooling and dyeing. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their cartons if you
won’t be coloring them right after cooking and cooling. Refrigerate them again right
after you dye them and after you display them.
Color only uncracked eggs. If you want to eat your dyed eggs later, use
food coloring or specially made food-grade egg dyes dissolved in water that is warmer
than the eggs. If any eggs crack during dyeing or while on display, discard them along
with any eggs that have been out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. If you keep
hard-cooked eggs out of refrigeration for many hours or several days for a decoration
or for hiding, cook extra eggs for eating. Either discard the eggs that have been
left out or use them only for display.
If you hide eggs, consider hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where
the eggs might come into contact with dirt, pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects
or lawn chemicals. Refrigerate the hidden eggs again after they have been found.
Many people will enjoy deviled eggs at potluck dinners at Easter time.
Deviled eggs should be handled in much the same way as your hardcooked Easter eggs.
Pack your deviled eggs in an ice chest with ice packed around them and put them in
the refrigerator as soon as possible. Leave eggs in the cooler or refrigerator until
ready to serve. Do not leave them out for longer than 2 hours. This time includes
preparation, transporting and serving. Any leftover deviled eggs should be discarded
if not eaten with 2 hours.
Easter is a time for celebrating rebirth and enjoying time with family
and friends. Don’t let a food borne illness ruin your celebration. For more information
on food safety issues, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517
or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You can also contact
the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 800-535-4555 or visit the web site www.fightbac.org to learn more about food safety.
Are you expecting a crowd for Easter dinner? If so, here is a great recipe
to prepare. This recipe is easy to make, uses fresh fruit and is delicious!
3 (9-inch) bananas or 3 cups sliced
2 (14-ounce) cans pineapple chunks in own juice
4 cups seedless grapes (1 ¼ pounds), sliced in half
Fresh mint and/or kiwi fruit, sliced (optional)
Makes 22 servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 58; Sodium: 1 milligram; Carbohydrate: 15 grams;
Dietary Fiber: 2 grams; Protein: ½ gram; Fat: 0 grams
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.