Play it Safe with Easter Eggs

March 27, 2013

Easter is just days away and many of us are busy buying up all the eggs for the yearly Easter egg hunt - here are SupermarketGuru's tips for a healthy and safe Easter

Easter is just days away and many of us are busy buying up all the eggs for the yearly Easter egg hunt and egg decorating tradition. Last year in the US, more than 160 million eggs were purchased for Easter celebrations! This year, all you egg lovers have more reason to celebrate because USDA data shows that one large egg is now 14 percent lower in cholesterol (now approximately 185 mg), and over 60 percent higher in vitamin D than previously recorded. SupermarketGuru wants to remind you not to forget your basic food safety rules when celebrating with family and friends, so here are some tips on how to handle eggs safely at Easter and of course all year round.

Keep fresh eggs refrigerated until it's time to cook them. Store eggs inside the carton, securely fastened. Also, though it may sound counterintuitive, don't keep your eggs in the special egg unit in the door of your refrigerator. Though it may be handy, it actually prevents proper airflow to your eggs and the door’s temperature is not as constant as the inside of the refrigerator.

Wash your hands! Take care when cooking, cooling, dying or hiding eggs. Shells are very porous and thus bacteria can penetrate. Most commercial eggs are lightly coated with a thin spray of mineral oil to close the pores. When eggs are boiled, the mineral oil barrier is removed and hard-boiled eggs are again prone to contamination. Remember to handle them properly; make sure your hands and cooking surfaces are clean!

How to boil a perfect Easter egg? Here are 3 easy steps:

1. Place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat, just to boiling.

2. Remove from burner. Cover pan. Let eggs stand in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium; 18 for extra large).

3. Cool completely under cold running water or in a bowl of ice water. Peel and eat, or store unpeeled in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Remember, when hiding Easter eggs, they may come into contact with pets, birds, insects, lawn chemicals, etc. If you plan to eat decorated eggs after the hunt, make sure the shell is removed with great care - you may also want to rinse the egg before consuming.

The FDA recommends cooking eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm, not runny. This ensures that any harmful bacteria that may be in the eggs, will be destroyed.

For more information on Easter, spring holidays and more cooking tips visit The American Egg Board.