Buy Clean Eggs: At the store, choose Grade A or AA eggs with clean, whole (not cracked) shells. Make sure the eggs have been refrigerated in the store. Any bacteria present in an egg can multiply quickly at room temperature.
Refrigerate Eggs: Take eggs straight home and store them immediately in the refrigerator. Store eggs in the carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator (not the door). Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the fridge. Don't wash eggs.
Use Eggs Promptly: Use raw shell eggs within 3 to 5 weeks (check date on carton). Hard-cooked eggs will keep refrigerated one week. Use leftover yolks and whites within 4 days. If eggs crack on the way home from the store, break them into a clean container, cover tightly and keep refrigerated for use within 2 days.
Handle Eggs Safely: Wash hands, utensils, equipment and work areas with warm, soapy water before and after contact with eggs and egg-rich foods. Don't keep eggs, including Easter eggs, out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. Serve cooked eggs and egg-rich foods immediately after cooking, or place leftovers in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerate at once. Use within 3 to 4 days.
Cook Eggs: Hard cooked eggs should be safe for everyone to eat. Those with compromised immune systems, the elderly, children and pregnant women should avoid eating soft-cooked or 'runny' eggs. To tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked, spin it; if the egg spins easily, it is hard-cooked, but if it wobbles, it's raw.
Use Safe Egg Recipes: Egg mixtures are safe if they reach 160°F. Homemade ice cream and eggnog, for example, can be made safely from a cooked base. Heat the egg-milk mixture gently. Use a thermometer or be sure the mixture coats a metal spoon. Dry meringue shells, divinity candy, 7-minute frosting (made by combining hot sugar syrup and egg whites) are safe. Meringue topped pies should be safe if baked at 350°F for about 15 minutes. Chiffon pies and fruit whips made with raw, beaten eggs whites cannot be guaranteed safe. Substitute whipped cream or whipped topping. To make key lime pie safely, heat the lime (or lemon) juice with the raw egg yolks in a pan on the stove, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Then, combine it with the sweetened condensed milk and put into the baked pie crust. For meringue topping, bake as above. For egg dishes such as quiche and casseroles, insert a knife in the center. It should come out clean.
Don't Eat Raw Eggs: This includes 'health-food' milk shakes made with raw eggs, Caesar salad dressing, Hollandaise sauce and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream or eggnog made from recipes in which raw egg ingredients are not cooked.
Here are some interesting Egg Facts:
-An egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface; through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors; storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh.
-Some chickens lay blue, green or pink eggs.
-Generally, white shelled eggs are produced by hens with white ear lobes, and brown eggs are produced by hens with red ear lobes.
-Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen; natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance colors.
-Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolk eggs; it is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.
-A hen requires 24-26 hours to produce an egg; 30 minutes later, she starts over again.
-It takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch.
-Chickens molt (shed their feathers) once a year and grow new ones.
-Chickens do not lay eggs when they are molting.
-Roosters crow all day and night long, not just in the morning.
-About 240 million laying hens produce approximately 5.5 billion dozen eggs per year in the U.S.
-If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy cleanup.
-Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.