NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Extra Care for Eggs

Extra Care for Eggs

 

          The calendar tells us it is spring, but the weather has obviously not received the message.  Despite the lingering cool temperatures, it is time to celebrate special occasions like Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day and graduation. While eggs are a great choice nutrition -wise anytime of the year, they are often involved in many spring and summertime activities.

Like meat, poultry, seafood and produce, eggs are perishable and need to be handled properly to prevent foodborne illness. Occasionally, eggs with clean, uncracked shells can be contaminated with bacteria, specifically Salmonella.

Following are several points to keep in mind when eggs are part of your celebration.

Clean Up, Clean Up...

  • Clean hands are key! Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after food handling.
  • Beware of cross-contamination. Foodborne illness can occur when kitchen equipment is not thoroughly washed between uses. Always wash food contact surfaces and cooking equipment, including blenders, in hot water and soap.
  • Cook and Keep Cool...

  • Bacteria love to grow in moist, protein-rich foods.  Refrigeration slows bacterial growth, so it's important to refrigerate eggs and egg-containing foods. Your refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below. Use a thermometer to double-check.
  • Remember the 2-Hour Rule: Don't leave perishables out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Whether you like your breakfast eggs scrambled or fried, always cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.
  • Tasting is tempting, but licking a spoon or tasting raw cookie dough from a mixing bowl can be risky. Bacteria could be lurking in the raw eggs.
  • Cook cheesecakes, lasagna, baked pasta and egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160 ºF. Use a food thermometer to double-check that
  • Easter Egg Hunt Know-How

  • Only use eggs that have been refrigerated, and discard eggs that are cracked or dirty.
  • When cooking, place a single layer of eggs in a saucepan. Add water to at least one inch above the eggs. Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, and carefully remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs stand (18 minutes for extra-large eggs, 15 minutes for large, 12 minutes for medium). Immediately run cold water over the eggs. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, place them in an uncovered container in the refrigerator where they can air-dry.
  • When decorating, be sure to use food-grade dyes. It is safe to use commercial egg dyes, liquid food coloring, and fruit-drink powders. When handling eggs, be careful not to crack them. Otherwise, bacteria could enter the egg through the cracks in the shell.
  • Keep hard-cooked Easter eggs chilled on a shelf inside the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door. Hard-cooked eggs are actually more perishavel than raw eggs.
  • Hide the eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets and other potential sources of bacteria.
  • Remember the two-hour rule, and make sure the “found” eggs are back in the refrigerator or consumed within two hours.  Or better yet, make two sets of eggs – one for hiding and one for eating!
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