Keep eggs safe for hunts at Easter time

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This is Easter egg hunt season. And although the hunts are a great favorite for children, for adults it means taking special precautions to keep the eggs from spoilage. After a long egg hunt under the warm sun, eggs may have been sitting out unrefrigerated for a number of hours. Eggs are perishable foods and like all perishable foods they should be cooked, cared for and stored properly. Young children, pregnant women and the elderly are at high risk for foodborne illness. Ensure a happy holiday by following the food-safety guidelines provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension in Auburn. Proper cooking of hardboiled eggs includes boiling them in water until the yolks and whites are firm inside the shell, about 10-15 minutes. Store the eggs in a refrigerator that is kept at 40 degrees. Plan in advance — Have a plan to make sure that hardboiled eggs are not left out of the refrigerator longer than two hours. Before the hunt — When transporting the eggs, keep them cold in an insulated bag with an ice pack until they are ready to be hidden for the egg hunt. After the egg hunt — Have your child choose his favorite egg to eat and then put the rest back into the insulated bag or the refrigerator for later. Discard any eggs that are cracked or dirty after the hunt. Bacteria can find their way inside the shell and make them unsafe to eat. Consider only dying one set of eggs and leave another set for just eating. For more nutrition information, visit the University of California Cooperative Extension Web site or call (530) 889-7350. ~ Staff report