Nothing welcomes spring more than the annual egg hunt. Whether it’s a community, neighborhood or family hunt, food safety is of utmost importance. Follow these food safety guidelines to ensure your egg hunt is fun AND food safe.
Before the hunt . . .
• Wash your hands thoroughly before handling eggs at every step of preparation, including cooking, dyeing and hiding.
• 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 for large, 12 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. Be careful not to crack the eggs, as bacteria can enter through those cracks into the egg itself.
• Keep hard-cooked Easter eggs refrigerated until just before the hunt. Keep them on a shelf inside the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door.
• Consider buying one set of eggs for decorating and another set just for eating.
During the hunt . . .
• Hide the eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other potential sources of bacteria.
• To prevent bacterial growth, don’t let eggs sit in hiding places for more than two hours.
After the hunt . . .
• Discard any eggs that were cracked, dirty or that children didn’t find within two hours.
• Place the eggs back in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat them.
Food Safety Notebook, The Ohio State University Extension.
Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA
Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA
Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA
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