Preparing for an Easter egg hunt is so much fun. This is one of the very few times of the year when you can put your creativity and imagination in full blast. Seeing kids become little Dora the Explorer in your backyard further adds to the excitement of creating these fantastic egg-y works of art. But then there’s the question, what are you going to do with all those decorated and dyed Easter eggs when the revelry is over? Is it possible to consume these colorful hard-boiled eggs?
Is it Safe to Eat Dyed Easter Eggs?
Yes and no. If you observe certain precautions in the preparation of the hard-boiled eggs prior to Easter, then it is possible to consume them without any incident afterwards. However, there are still some issues that you have to contend with before you crack the colorful eggs and remove the shell.
First and foremost is the relative level of contamination of the egg. This is true for Easter egg hunts performed outdoors or in public places. It is quite impossible to ascertain the cleanliness of the area where you’re going to hide the eggs.
Some individuals think that the hard shell of the egg will protect it against harmful substances and microorganisms. Keep in mind, though, that egg shells are porous by nature. As such, it is still possible that pesticides, chemicals, insects, and other objects and living things may contaminate the eggs.
Second is the amount of time the Easter egg has been exposed to the environment. While indoor egg hunts are safer than outdoor versions, the egg may not be consumable if it’s placed in a warm area. Eggs that are exposed to room temperature can start to spoil within 2 hours.
Third, there is also the question of the dye used in coloring the Easter eggs. If the pigments used are anything but vegetable-based or food-grade dyes, then don’t de-shell the eggs and eat it. There are egg-coloring kits and paste colors that are often used for cake decorating. You can use these instead.
How to Make Sure Your Easter Eggs Will Be Safe to Consume
Given that there are certain factors that can affect the edibility of Easter eggs, you can observe some pre-Easter activities to ensure you can eat these eggs after the hunt.
First, use only fresh eggs. Perform the float test. Drop the eggs one by one in a pot of water. If the egg sinks to the bottom, then it’s fresh and perfect for cooking. If it floats, discard the egg.
Second, boil the eggs the correct way before dyeing. This will make sure that you’ll have perfectly-hard-boiled eggs to dye. It also helps eliminate the presence of Salmonella and other bacteria from the egg. There are many ways you can make hard-boiled eggs. The easiest so far is to put them in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. Let it sit there for 12 minutes untouched. After 12 minutes, drain the water, and immerse the eggs in an ice bath.
Third, make sure you use only the right kind of dye for the eggs. It is imperative that it is okay to eat. Food-grade dyes like vegetable-based pigments and cake dyes are perfect.
Fourth, as soon as you finish dyeing your eggs, put them in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. As mentioned above, if you leave these eggs at room temperature for more than 2 hours, it’s as good as waste.
The same is true during the hunt. If it takes you more than 2 hours to set up the hunting grounds and then having kids look for these eggs, you can forget about ever feasting on them afterwards. But, if you can be certain that the entire Easter egg hunt can be finished within 1.5 hours, then you still have a 30-minute window to put the eggs straight into the refrigerator.
Fifth, hard-boiled eggs are safe to eat for up to a week if refrigerated. It is best to consume dyed Easter eggs within a few days of the hunt. If not, you can tag the container where you put the eggs with a 1-week expiration label.
It is safe to eat dyed Easter eggs provided you adhere to these very simple tips. Otherwise, it is not worth risking your health and that of your family for a few pieces of contaminated Easter eggs.