For most families, Easter means colorful, patterned eggs and Easter egg hunts.
However, Easter eggs require careful preparation and storage to practice these traditions safely. Julie Albrecht, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension food specialist, has three steps to handle the traditional Easter egg for a safe and healthy celebration.
When buying eggs for coloring, Albrecht said to inspect the eggs before purchasing.
"Inspect the eggs to make sure that none in the carton are cracked," she said.
Purchase eggs several days before preparing because fresh eggs that are hard-cooked are not easy to peel.
Once it's time to prepare the eggs, Albrecht recommends hard-cooking rather than hard-boiling. This will prevent the green ring around the yolk, which forms as a result of a chemical reaction between the egg yolk and egg white.
"Put your eggs in a pan with water about one inch above the eggs," Albrecht said. "Then bring the water just to a boil and let the eggs sit."
The suggested cooking times are nine minutes for medium eggs, 12 minutes for large eggs and 15 for extra large.
The coloring used for Easter eggs might be a concern for some parents, but Albrecht said it does not make the egg harmful to eat.
"The coloring used is food grade," she said. "Sometimes red coloring might bleed through and turn the white pink, but that's OK."
After the eggs are bright and colorful, refrigerate and do not leave them sitting at room temperature for more than two hours at a time and do not keep the eggs for more than four days.