By KATHY SMITH
Eggs have been used to celebrate spring festivals for centuries. Immigrant settlers brought symbolic Easter rabbits and colored eggs to America. Since then, Easter egg hunts have been beloved by children everywhere.
You can make sure your Easter egg hunts are fun and safe for all by following these simple guidelines:
• Before buying eggs, inspect them to make sure they are not dirty or cracked. Bacteria that can be harmful can enter cracked eggs.
• Store the eggs in their original carton in the refrigerator until they are ready to be cooked.
• For best results with and cooked eggs, buy the eggs one week in advance and refrigerate them. Eggs can be “too fresh” to peel easily.
For the perfect hard cooked eggs:
• Place the eggs in ta single layer in a saucepan; add enough cool tap water to cover at least 1 inch above eggs.
• Cover the pan and quickly bring the water just to boiling. Turn off the heat and, if needed, prevent further boiling by removing the pan from the burner.
• Let covered eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes for large eggs. Adjust the time by about 3 minutes up or down for each size larger or smaller.
• Immediately run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water until they are completely cooled.
• Dry and refrigerate the eggs, or decorate them immediately.
• Do not decorate cracked eggs. Instead, refrigerate and use them as ingredients in other recipes.
Decorating Easter eggs
Decorate Easter eggs with food coloring or by following the directions on Easter egg-dyeing kits. For the dye bath, use water that is 10-15 degrees warmer than the eggs.
Write names or holiday messages on the eggs with a wax crayon before coloring them. To create designs, mark out patterns during repeated coloring.