Spring is here along with those outdoor activities and celebrations like Easter, soccer, graduation, and picnics. When decorating, cooking, or hiding Easter eggs, extra care is needed to enjoy them without the risk of getting sick reports Nebraska Extension Educator Brenda Aufdenkamp. Be sure to “spring” into following safe food safety practices.
- Inspect eggs before purchasing them and make sure they are not dirty or cracked. Dangerous bacteria may enter a cracked egg.
- Store eggs in their original carton in the refrigerator rather than the refrigerator door.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before handling eggs when cooking, cooling, dyeing, and hiding them.
- Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs until just before you are ready for the hunt.
- If you are having an Easter egg hunt, consider hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects, lawn chemicals, or other potential sources of bacteria.
- After the hunt, find all the eggs you have hidden. Discard cracked or dirty eggs and eggs left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Rinse uncracked eggs and put them in the refrigerator until it's time to eat them. DO NOT EAT hard-boiled eggs used for an egg hunt or as decorations if they have been at temperatures above 40ºF for more than two hours; discard them.
- Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their shells and use them within 1 week.
Eggs are a great choice for individuals of all ages across the lifespan. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) specifically recommend eggs as an important first food for infants and toddlers, as well as for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Eggs are an excellent source of choline, a critical nutrient for fetal brain development, and are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline in the American diet. Choline is not found in high quantities in many foods typically consumed by Americans, but just one large egg provides the daily choline needs for babies and toddlers, and two large eggs provide more than half of daily choline needs for pregnant women. The DGAs highlight the importance of choline and recommend eggs as a first food for babies to reduce risk for an egg allergy.
For more information, contact your local Nebraska Extension Office or on the web at: food.unl.edu Nebraska Extension In Our Grit, Our Glory.