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Archive for Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hard-cooked eggs integral part of Easter

April 8, 2009

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Q: I’ve never boiled eggs for Easter. How do I do it?

A: Actually, I like to refer to them as hard-cooked eggs because you don’t want to boil them. If eggs are overcooked or are not cooled quickly, an iron and sulfur compound can form, causing a greenish ring around the yolk. Even though it is harmless, it doesn’t look very appetizing.

Here’s the correct way to hard-cook eggs:

• Place large, unshelled eggs in a saucepan (one layer only).

• Add cool water. Eggs should be covered by 1 inch of water.

• Cover pan, place on stove.

• Bring water to a boil.

• Turn off the heat. (You may need to remove the pan from the burner.)

• Let eggs stand 15 to 17 minutes. Keep eggs covered with a lid. For each size, larger or smaller, change the time by 3 minutes.

• Run cold water over the eggs until completely cool. Refrigerate.

If these hard-cooked eggs are going to be used for the Easter egg hunt, they must be prepared with care to prevent cracking the shells.

Cooking removes some of the protective oil coating that processors spray on shells. Then bacteria can enter the egg through the pores or cracks in shells. Eggs should be hidden in places that protect from dirt, pets and other sources of bacteria. The total hiding and hunting of eggs must not be more than two hours. Once found, eggs must be put back in the refrigerator until they are eaten.

Refrigerated hard-cooked eggs in the shell or peeled should be eaten within one week after cooking. Do not eat hard-cooked eggs used for table decorations.

Whenever possible, it’s best to use plastic eggs for decorations and for the egg hunt.

Q: Is there a way to dye Easter eggs using the food coloring that I have at home?

A: Yes! It’s easy to use food coloring to dye Easter eggs. Follow these directions:

• Bring 1/2 cup water to boiling.

• Add 1 teaspoon vinegar.

• Add 20 drops of desired color. For different colors, follow this guide:

Orange: Six red, 14 yellow drops

Chartreuse: 24 yellow, two green

Turquoise: 15 blue, five green

Purple: 10 red, four blue

Rose: 15 red, five blue

• Dip hard-cooked eggs until shade is obtained. After color dries it will not rub off. If you’d like, draw designs or you can also add stickers after your egg is dry. Use your egg carton to dry the eggs on. For hand-drawn designs or names, draw on the egg before you dip the egg into the food coloring using a white crayon. White is hard to see but works the best.

Q: What’s the best way to peel hard-cooked eggs?

A: Crack the egg gently all over. Roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Peel by starting at the large end. Dipping the egg in water may help to get the shell off.

Eggs which have been stored for a week to 10 days before cooking are usually easier to peel than fresh eggs. Cooling eggs quickly and thoroughly makes it easier to peel.

Q: Are brown eggs healthier?

A: No. Shell color is determined by the breed of hen and is not related to quality, nutrients, flavor or cooking characteristics. Since brown egg layers are slightly larger birds and require more food, brown eggs are usually more expensive than white.

— Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.

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