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Making Perfect Boiled Eggs Minus the Green Ring

Here are some important food safety rules to keep in mind as you plan your Easter celebration.

Nashville, Ark. – With Easter just days away, dozens of eggs will disappear from the grocery store shelves in anticipation of the egg hunt we all remember as a child. You may remember waiting with anticipation while the adults hid the eggs, hiding the eggs again and again. You may even remember eating them right from your Easter basket.

            This year, as you plan your Easter celebration, there are some important food safety rules to keep in mind. Be sure to use only food grade dye. For the hunt, avoid cracking the egg shells when you are cooking them or hiding them. If the shells crack, bacteria could enter and contaminate the egg inside. Also, hide eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other bacteria sources; and keep hard-cooked eggs chilled in the refrigerator until just before the hunt.

            Remember the two hour rule. Eggs, along with other foods you serve, should only be out of the refrigerator less than two hours. Be sure to refrigerate the “found” eggs right away until you are ready to eat them. Eggs found hours, or even days, later should be thrown out, not eaten!

            Making hard-boiled eggs for your Easter egg hunt seems easy enough, but what if the eggs end up with a green ring around the yolk when you crack it open? What did you do wrong? Are they safe to eat?

            Actually you may not have done anything wrong. The green ring is caused by a chemical reaction involving sulfur from the egg white and iron from the egg yolk, which naturally react to form ferrous sulfide at the surface of the yolk. The green ring is harmless and occurs when eggs have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature.

            The American Egg Board suggest that you cook eggs in hot, not boiling, water, and then cool immediately to minimize the green ring. Begin by arranging the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add cold water, not hot, to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Turn heat on high and heat just until almost boiling.

            Remove the pan from the burner and cover with a tight fitting lid. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the water, peel and serve warm. One trick to making them easier to peel is to run cold water over the just-cooked eggs or place them in ice water, not standing in water, until they are cool enough to handle. The fresher the eggs, the more difficult they will be to peel.

            Once peeled, refrigerate the eggs until you’re ready to use them. You can store hard cooked eggs in their shells for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Otherwise, plan to use them within a couple of days.

            However you enjoy your Easter eggs this year, be sure to thank the farmer who supplied them. Lucky you, if you have fresh eggs from your chicken coop. If you purchased them at the grocery store you are helping to keep farming a vital industry in Arkansas. Arkansas ranks 10th in the nation for layer hens, a bird used to produce eggs. If you consider that one hen lays an average of 325 eggs per year, and we have over 12 million layers, it’s easy to see how we rank so high in egg production.

            For more information on keeping your food safe to eat, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. Happy Easter!

Recipe of the Week

            Want a super moist pound cake to serve with your Easter meal? This recipe was shared by Conner Bagley, a 4-H Cloverbud member, during the recent Egg Preparation contest. It uses six eggs and is delicious. It’s easy to see how Conner won first place with this recipe.

Buttermilk Pound Cake

1 c. shortening

3 c. sugar

6 eggs, separated

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 c. buttermilk

3 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. almond extract

3 c. flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

            Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg yolks and beat to mix thoroughly. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and add vanilla and almond extract to mixture. Sift flour and baking powder. Add alternately with milk mixture. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into angel food cake pan or Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U 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


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