Egg Safety Tips, Recipes, and Eggcetera
Everything you need to know about cooking and serving eggs -- just in time for the Easter bunny
What's not to love about the Easter Bunny season: baskets, flowers,
chocolate, and eggs -- lots of them! Around this time of year, many of us are
either dyeing eggs or making favorite egg dishes.
In either case, there are a few things you need to know.
8 Egg-cellent Egg-Safety Tips
1. Avoid the "S" word: salmonella. Fresh eggs may
contain the bacteria Salmonella enteritidis. Although S.
enteritidis affects a very small number of eggs, it's still wise to refrain
from eating raw or undercooked eggs. The salmonella tends to be found in the
yolk of the egg, according to researchers. But it's possible for it to be in
raw egg whites, so it's best to avoid both.
Just so you know what you're getting into, foods that may have been made
with raw eggs include:
- Homemade mayonnaise
- Milkshakes and smoothies
- Caesar salad dressing
- Hollandaise sauce
- Homemade ice cream
- Homemade eggnog
2. Pick pasteurized. If you want to make a recipe that calls for raw
beaten eggs or egg whites, fear not! You have a few options here. Egg
substitutes are pasteurized, which means they're rapidly heated at a certain
temperature for a certain amount of time to destroy any salmonella. Dried egg
whites are pasteurized by being heat-treated in their dried form. Pasteurized
whole eggs are also available at some supermarkets.
3. Keep 'em cool. Salmonella bacteria multiply quickly at room
temperature. So make sure the eggs you buy are well refrigerated at the store.
Then put them in your refrigerator as soon as you get home.
4. Don't store them in the door. I know some refrigerator doors are
designed with a special place to keep your eggs. But guess what? According to
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the best way to store your eggs is to leave
them in the carton they came in and keep them in the coldest part of your
refrigerator (which is not the door!), set at 40 degrees or slightly below.
5. You've got three to five weeks. It's tempting to stock up on eggs
when your market has a two-for-one sale on those 18-egg cartons. But unless
you're making egg salad for a potluck or planning an egg-dyeing marathon, you
might want to stick to the 12-egg option. According to government guidelines,
it's best to use raw eggs in three to five weeks (check the purchase-by date on
the carton for more precise information).
If you're making an angel-food cake or hollandaise sauce and have a bowl
full of egg yolks or whites sitting in your fridge, keep in mind that leftover
raw yolks or whites should be used within four days.
6. "Hard boiled" doesn't mean "hard to spoil." As
soon as you hard boil an egg and let it cool, you need to refrigerate it and
use it within a week. In Easter egg terms, this means that if you want to
display your colorful works of egg-art in your kitchen or on your dining table,
you shouldn't actually eat those eggs. If your family likes to hide
Easter eggs, try to hide them in a well-shaded area, and don't keep them out of
the refrigerator for more than two hours total.
7. Serve egg dishes safely. Keep hot egg dishes hot and cold egg
dishes cold. Set your cold egg dish in a larger dish containing ice cubes to
keep it cool while it sits out on the buffet table or at a party.
8. Safeguard the leftovers. Refrigerate leftover cooked egg dishes
and use within three days. To speed the cooling process in the refrigerator,
divide a large portion of food among several shallow containers.