For many, Easter and Passover are synonymous with the colorful and traditional symbol of new life, the egg.

Whether you’re decorating Easter eggs, enjoying a Passover Seder, or indulging in a beloved delicacy such as pickled eggs, it’s crucial to remember that eggs can carry salmonella, a common bacteria that can cause food poisoning. While some may be more susceptible to severe symptoms, anyone can become ill from salmonella, which can be present both inside and outside of eggs.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season, it’s important to follow safe handling and preparation guidelines.

Helpful tips:
Choose clean and fresh eggs and wash hands thoroughly before and after handling them.

If you’re planning on eating Easter eggs that have been dyed, make sure make sure to use safe, edible dyes Most store-bought Easter egg kits have food-safe dyes, so you can usually eat the eggs after they’ve dried. Just be sure to check the label to make sure the dye is safe to eat. One way to avoid this concern completely is to use natural dyes.

You can make natural dyes for Easter eggs by following these steps:

  • Choose foods with coloring properties, such as:
    • Chopped beets for pink or red hues
    • Purple or red cabbage for blue hues
    • Yellow onion skins for orange hues
    • Spinach for green and brown hues
    • Blueberries for a purple-silverish hue
  • Add a quart of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to a medium pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the chosen dye ingredients and let it boil before reducing the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Let the dye cool, then strain it.
  • Add the eggs to the dye mixture and allow them to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer they soak, the brighter the color they will have.
  • Use tongs to remove the eggs and pat them dry.

It’s also important to store eggs properly in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below, and to avoid cross-contamination with other foods. When cooking with eggs, they should be cooked until both the egg white and yolk are firm, and dishes containing eggs should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C).

If a recipe calls for lightly cooked eggs, pasteurized egg products can be used to reduce the risk of pathogenic contamination. It’s also important to refrigerate eggs or egg-containing dishes within 2 hours of cooking to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

These guidelines can also be helpful when preparing other spring holiday dishes, such as Easter ham. It’s important to cook it to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) before serving and let it rest for at least three minutes before carving.

Pickled eggs
When it comes to pickled eggs, it’s important to be aware of proper storage methods to prevent foodborne illness. Pickled eggs have a long and rich history and have become increasingly popular in recent years. To make pickled eggs, small to medium-sized eggs are boiled and peeled before being submerged in a boiling brine of vinegar, salt, and spices. The eggs are then left to sit in the brine in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks to take on the flavors before being consumed.

While commercially pickled eggs are safe to consume if refrigerated after opening and used within seven days, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) both advise against canning pickled eggs at home. The NCHFP warns that botulism has been associated with home-pickled eggs stored at room temperature.

For those interested in making their own pickled eggs, the NCHFP provides safe recipes on their website. It’s essential to follow the directions carefully to ensure safe storage and prevent foodborne illness.

By following these tips, you and your loved ones can safely enjoy all the festivities of the spring season, without the worry of foodborne illness.

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