Easter eggs

To make Easter eggs, make sure you use only food-grade dyes for coloring. It’s safe to use liquid food coloring, commercial egg dyes and fruit drink powders.

Easter is coming up and many of us may be planning to color eggs for a stay-at-home egg hunt this year.

Decorating eggs is a fun activity for the whole family, and many families want to be able to eat the eggs after the hunt. There are tips to follow to ensure the family fun does not turn in to family stress brought on by foodborne illness.

•Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw eggs or cooked eggs that will be eaten.

•Make sure you use only food-grade dyes for coloring. It’s safe to use liquid food coloring, commercial egg dyes and fruit drink powders. But if you plan to eat the eggs, don’t use paint, nail polish or shaving cream to decorate.

•When buying eggs, look for eggs that are clean, free of cracks, and stored in a refrigerated case. Remember to look at the “sell by” date and purchase eggs before this date.

•Keep eggs refrigerated until use. Don’t let them sit out on the counter. Eggs should not be out of the refrigerator when coloring or hunting for longer than two hours.

•When hiding eggs, choose hiding places that are protected from dirt, moisture, pets, chemicals and other possible sources of contamination.

•Eat properly handled hard-boiled eggs within one week of cooking.

Have you ever tried dying eggs with natural dyes? It can be fun and educational. Ohio State University Extension says to make your natural dye, place a small amount of your natural material in a pot of 2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil, and simmer for up to 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove materials and cool in the refrigerator. Once dye is cool — add hard cooked egg and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Soak to desired color.

But what natural materials produce what colors?

•Blue or purple — grape juice, red grapes, blue or blackberries or red cabbage.

•Brown — coffee grounds, black tea or walnut shells.

•Orange — ground cumin.

•Yellow — orange or lemon peels, curry powder or dandelions.

•Pink — red beets.

•Green — fresh cranberries.

•Yellowish green — spinach.

•Dark yellow/brown/rust — onion skins.

If you want a marbled effect to the dye, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the water before adding your egg in the dying process.

Wishing you all safe and happy eggs hunts this year!

Colorful Classic Deviled Eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

¼ — ½ cup creamy salad dressing or mayo

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup sweet pickle relish (more or less depending on your taste)

mustard to taste (optional)

Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to a quart plastic food-storage bag. Add salad dressing and seasonings of choice to the bag. Press out air and seal bag. Refrigerate to blend flavors.

Coloring Egg Whites:

Get enough glasses or mugs for the number of colors you want to use. Fill the mugs or glasses 2/3 of the way full with cold water. Add 3 drops of desired food coloring along with 1 tsp vinegar to each mug or cup. Place egg whites in the mugs and allow them to remain in the food coloring until desired color is reached. Remove whites from dye and drain.

Filling the Egg Whites:

Push filling toward bottom corner of bag. Snip off about ½ inch of corner. Squeeze yolk mixture from bag into egg whites. Deviled eggs can be made up to 12 hours ahead. Refrigerate, covered.

Editor’s note: The source of this article is Annhall Norris, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension specialist for Safety and Food Preservation and Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension Service. The recipe comes from an article written by Martha Murphy, Kansas State University Extension Service.

Reach Cecelia Hostilo, Trigg County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, at P. O. Box 271 (2657 Old Hopkinsville Road), Cadiz, KY 42211, by phone at 270-522-3269, fax at 270-522-9192 or email cecelia.hostilo@uky.edu.

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