Don’t let safety rules fly the coop this Easter.
University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health specialist Janet Hackert offers eggs-cellent tips to prevent foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella.
First, pay attention to the packing date on the egg carton. The last three digits of the first number indicate the pack date under the Julian dating system, in which Jan. 1 is 001 and Dec. 31 is 365, or 366 in leap years.
The American Egg Board says fresh eggs can be stored in cartons in the refrigerator for up to five weeks after the packing date. Some manufacturers label eggs with a “sell by” date. To carry a USDA grade mark, this date must be no more than 30 days after the packing date.
Hackert offers these tips:
• Refrigerate eggs to prolong their safe use.
• If you use real eggs for Easter festivities, color them and keep them refrigerated.
• Leave hard-boiled eggs unrefrigerated no more than two hours.
• If your egg hunt was held outside, wash eggs well. They may have been exposed to pesticides, animal waste and other contaminants.
• Hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated safely up to seven days after cooking.
To avoid overcooked, rubbery eggs with yolks that turn green on the outside, the American Egg Board recommends this method of cooking eggs:
Place eggs in a single layer in a pot with enough tap water to cover the eggs with at least an inch to spare.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. For electric stoves, you may need to remove the pot from the heat to prevent continued boiling.
Let large eggs stand for 15 minutes. Medium eggs should stand 12 minutes and extra-large eggs stand for 18 minutes.
Cool immediately by putting eggs under cold running water or place them in ice water. This stops the cooking process and makes the eggs easier to peel. Older eggs peel easier than fresher eggs.
Store cooked eggs in their carton because the porous eggs absorb smells in the refrigerator.
EGG SALAD SANDWICH
• 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
• 1 tablespoon diced celery
• 2 tablespoons red pepper, diced
• 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt or light mayonnaise
• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• dash of paprika
• 2 slices wheat bread
Nutrition information per sandwich: 446 calories; 21 g total fat; 822 mg sodium; 47 g carbohydrates; 6 g fiber; 20 g protein.