Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

March 31, 2010

Are Easter Eggs Safe?

I love everything about Easter. The religious/spiritual meaning behind it. The beginning of spring. The Easter Bunny. Coloring Easter eggs. The beautiful weather and green grass. New signs of life. We'll be coloring our Easter eggs within the next few days. Always a good time to remind myself of egg eating safety. Sometimes eggs are decorated, used as decorations, and hunted at Easter. Here are some safety tips for Easter eggs. Dyeing eggs: After hard cooking eggs, dye them and return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours. If eggs are to be eaten, use a food-safe coloring. As with all foods, persons dyeing the eggs should wash their hands before handling the eggs. Decorations: An Easter bread recipe that is decorated with dyed, cooked eggs in the braided bread, after baking, should be served within 2 hours or refrigerate and use within 3 to 4 days. Blowing out eggshells: Because some raw eggs may contain Salmonella, you must use caution when blowing out the contents to hollow out the shell for decorating, such as for Ukrainian Easter eggs. Use only eggs that have been kept refrigerated and are uncracked. To destroy bacteria that may be present on the surface of the egg, wash the egg in hot water and then rinse in a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid chlorine bleach per half cup of water. After blowing out the egg, refrigerate the contents and use within 2 to 4 days. Hunting Eggs: Hard-cooked eggs for an egg hunt must be prepared with care to prevent cracking the shells. If the shells crack, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Eggs should be hidden in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other sources of bacteria. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. The "found" eggs must be re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking. Unfortuneately, I can not use my EggGenie to hard cook my Easter eggs because with the EggGenie, a pinpoint hole must be poked into the end of each egg (the dye would bleed into the shell). Well I guess once a year I can boil eggs the traditional way.

This is how I'll do it.........
1. PLACE eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. HEAT over high heat just to boiling.
2. REMOVE fromburner. COVER pan. LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs; 18 minutes for extra large). 3. DRAIN immediately and serve. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.
    Tips
  • Hard-cooked, not hard-boiled. Although the cooking water must come to a full boil in this method, the pan is immediately removed from the heat so that the eggs cook gently in the hot water. This produces tender, not rubbery, eggs and minimizes cracking.
  • Banish the greenish ring. This harmless but unsightly discoloration that sometimes forms around hard-cooked yolks results from a reaction between sulfur in the egg white and iron in the yolk. It occurs when eggs have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature. Our method – cooking eggs in hot, not boiling, water, then cooling immediately – minimizes this.
What Makes Hard-Cooked Eggs Hard to Peel? The fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel after hard cooking. That's because the air cell, found at the large end of the shell between the shell membranes, increases in size the longer the raw egg is stored. As the contents of the egg contracts and the air cell enlarges, the shell becomes easier to peel. For this reason, older eggs make better candidates for hard cooking. Is a Rooster needed for chickens to lay eggs? No. Roosters are only needed if you want fertilized eggs. Most eggs sold today are infertile; roosters are not housed with the laying hens. Let me introduce you to my sister's family chickens~ Snowball, Rosa, Diamond & Stripey waiting at the front door for their daily a.m. treat.... My sister, Lisa, my brother in law, Joe and my niece and nephew, Morgan & Jack thought it would be a fun idea to raise a few laying hens to have access to their own fresh eggs. Joe's brother raises free range chickens and offered Morgan & Jack a chance to come over and pick out their own baby chicks. They picked them from here....... The chickens are now about 5 months old. They thought they had chosen four chickens but one turned out to be a rooster.... Meet Stripey......
This is Rosa. She's a bit nervous...... This is Diamond. She will let anyone pick her up. She's very friendly and curious...... And Snowball. Lucky, lucky Snowball.
When Snowball was a mere few weeks old, she was out in the yard pecking away at the ground with her other chick friends and Joe, who also happened to be out there. Out of nowhere, a hawk swoops down and lands right next to Snowball. Not Good. Joe runs for Snowball while at the same time yelling at the hawk. The hawk then proceeds to pick Snowball up and fly into the sky. Joe continues to yell at the hawk, takes his slipper off in the process and hurls it at the hawk. The big bird is too far away for the slipper to reach. The hawk, who by this time, is so close to tasting the 'snack' he's caught, drops Snowball to the ground. Phew!! Snowball was a little dazed, but survived.
Snowball is healthy and doing just fine today. Joe says he couldn't havc asked for a more fitting name for Snowball......because "she didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of surviving" if it weren't for him.
Joe and Snowball share a special bond.
The three laying hens are about 6 months old now, and are about ready to begin laying eggs any day now.
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