With Easter this weekend this is a excellent time to ask this question if you plan to color real eggs for Easter and then eat them afterwords. Sometimes eggs are decorated, used as decorations, and hunted at Easter. Here are some safety tips for Easter eggs from the USDA.
- 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. You can use plant based food dyes also if you do not want to use commercial dyes. As with all foods, persons dyeing the eggs should wash their hands before handling the eggs.
- Decorations: One Easter bread recipe is decorated with dyed, cooked eggs in the braided bread. After baking, serve 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: We do not recommend using hard cooked eggs that have been lying on the ground, because they can pick up bacteria, especially if the shells are cracked. If the shells crack, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Eggs should be hidden in places that are protected from dirt, moisture, pets, and other sources of bacteria. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. The “found” eggs must be washed, re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking.
- Washing Eggs: The reason for using hot water is to keep a vacuum from forming in the egg and pulling bacteria in through the pores of the egg shell.