Generations of kids have mixed up colorful dyes, carefully dipping their boiled eggs into red, green, and blue mixtures, often competing to see who can come up with the oddest color scheme. But University of Houston food science professor Dr. Jay Neal says when it comes time for the Easter egg hunt, it may be a good idea to leave the real eggs in the fridge.
“I highly recommend that you hide eggs in the yard with the little plastic ones with the candy and don’t use those for the yard. If you want to do that, be aware of where you’re putting it. Make sure you’re not putting the eggs in dirt. Make sure you’re not putting them where your pets have been.”
The problem says Neal, is that when you boil the egg, the protective layer on the outside disappears, so bacteria can get inside. Neal also cautions parents to be careful when dying eggs.
“If you look at a lot of the magazines right now. They’ll show you all these nice ways to do it. Not all of those dyes are food safe dyes. So you can make beautiful dyed eggs that are decorations and then there’s dyed eggs for consumption. So you may want to be careful with that.”
And Neal says if want to eat your eggs later, you need to keep them cold.
“Two hours. You don’t want the eggs out more than two hours. When you’re dying the eggs, you’ve got them out of refrigeration and then a lot of times, you’ll have a picnic or a family over to eat. You want to really watch the eggs that are out for a long time.”
And while you may hate to throw away your kids’ colorful Easter creations, Neal says you shouldn’t keep boiled eggs in the refrigerator for more than seven days.