Q: How do you blow an egg so we can decorate it?
A: Years ago, families would literally blow eggs out like we would blow up a balloon by poking holes in both ends of the raw egg, pricking the yolk with a sharp instrument and "blowing" until the egg came out the other end.
Because of the many food safety concerns related to raw eggs today, please do not put your mouth up to a raw egg to blow it out. Today, we refer to the process as "emptying an eggshell" so there's no confusion. Here's how to empty an eggshell: Wash the egg using water warmer than the egg. Dry the egg. With a sterilized long needle or small, sharp skewer, prick a small hole in the small end of the egg. Prick a large hole in the large end.
Carefully chip away bits of shell around the large hole until it's big enough to fit the tip of a kitchen baster. Stick the needle or skewer into the yolk to break it.
Shake the egg large-end down over a cup or bowl until the insides come out. Or use a baster to push out the contents. Press the bulb of the baster to push air into the egg. Let the contents fall into the cup. If the insides don't come out easily, stick the needle in again. Move it around to be sure both the shell membranes and the yolk are broken. Rinse the empty shell under cool running water. Stand the shell on end in a drainer to dry.
Be careful when decorating an empty shell. It's easy to break it.
Before decorating the egg, you can cover the holes in the ends with melted wax or with tissue paper and glue like papier mÃ¢chÃ. Then, make a stand for it out of a small bottle cap, an empty film canister or a section of a cardboard tube. Or, you can run a loop of ribbon, yarn, string or wire through the holes. Tie the end to make a hanger for your decorated egg.
For a lot of fun and different ways to decorate eggs, go to the American Egg Board's Web site at: www.aeb.org/ KidsAndFamily/eastereggs/ decorating.htm.
Q: What's the best way to hard-boil eggs?
A: Actually, it's better not to boil eggs. Boiling makes eggs tough and rubbery. If you cook eggs too long or use heat that's too high, they also can turn green. In hard-boiled eggs, this makes a green ring around the yolk.
This is OK to eat, but it doesn't look very nice. You can make tender eggs with no green ring by cooking more gently. And you can save energy if you don't leave the heat on for a long time to boil.
Follow these instructions:
1. To make hard-cooked eggs, use eggs that are at least a week old - they will peel easier.
Put the eggs in one layer on the bottom of the pan. Put the pan in the sink. Run water into the pan until the water is 1 inch over the eggs. Put the pan on a burner. Turn it to medium-high heat.
2. Let the water come to a boil. Put the lid on the pan when the water is boiling. Move the pan onto a cold burner. Set the timer for 15 minutes for large-sized eggs (or for 12 minutes for medium-sized eggs or for 18 minutes for extra large-sized eggs).
3. Put the pan in the sink when the time is over. Run cold water into the pan until the eggs are cool. Put the eggs into the refrigerator if you're going to use them later or peel them if you're going to use them right away. Be sure to use all the cooked eggs up before a week is over.
Q: How do you peel hard-cooked eggs?
A: Gently tap a cooled egg on the countertop or table until it has cracks in it. Roll the egg between your hands until the cracks turn into small crackles all over the egg. Use your fingers to start peeling off the shell at the large end of the egg. If you need to, you can hold the egg under running cold water or dip it in a bowl of water to make peeling easier. Throw out the pieces of eggshell when the egg is all peeled. You can eat the egg or use it in a recipe when it's peeled.
For Easter fun, hereÂ's instructions for "Bunny-Faced Stuffed Eggs" to enjoy.
Bunny-faced stuffed eggs
3 cups dark-green lettuce torn into small pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
6 hard-cooked eggs*
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon snipped fresh parsley or chives OR 1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 medium whole carrot
18 raisins or currants
Put 1/2 cup of the lettuce on each plate. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the carrots over the lettuce. On the cutting board, with the knife, cut the eggs in half long-ways. Gently scoop out the egg yolks with the spoon. Put the yolks in the plastic bag. Set the egg whites aside. Add the mayonnaise, parsley and mustard to the bag. Push out most of the air. Seal the bag closed. Press and squeeze the bag until the yolks are mashed and blended with the mayonnaise, parsley and mustard and you can't seeany streaks any more. Push the yolk mixture to one of the bottom corners of the bag. Cut off a little bit of the corner with the shears. Hold the cut corner over an empty egg white half. Gently squeeze the bag from the top until the egg white is filled with the yolk mixture and has a small mound on top. One by one, fill the rest of the egg white halves with the rest of the yolk mixture. Carefully press 2 filled egg white halves together. Put 1 stuffed egg on top of the shredded carrots on meach plate. 4. On the cutting board, with the knife, cut the whole carrot on a diagonal into 12 long, thin slices. Stick 2 carrot slices into each egg to look like bunny ears. Dip a raisin into the yolk mixture (from inside an egg) until the raisin has yolk on it. Press the raisin onto the egg to look like a nose. Dip 2 more raisins in the yolk and press them on to look like eyes. Keep dipping and pressing the raisins on until all the eggs have eyes and noses.