Routt County CSU Extension: Eggs are a healthy choice

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I love hard-boiled eggs, but the only time I think of making them is around Easter time. A bowl of hard-cooked eggs can be an easy and healthy part of any meal.

If you have a lot of eggs, there is nothing like a plate of delicious deviled eggs to bring back memories of spring days and family gatherings. A good egg salad sandwich is hard to beat when you are thinking of ways to use up those dozens of colorful eggs that the family enjoyed dyeing.

Eggs that once were vilified for their cholesterol content now are recognized for their nutrient density.

One egg contains about 70 calories, not much fat and a whole host of nutrients including high-quality protein and antioxidants. At less than 25 cents per egg, they can provide one of the best nutritional values on your shopping list.

Don’t think that you need to skip the yolk. Half of the protein and the majority of the nutrients are found in the yolk.

There always is a food safety concern with eggs, so handle them properly. When eggs sit at room temperature, their quality quickly drops and the potential for bacteria growth goes up.

Salmonella is the primary bacteria associated with undercooked eggs. To prevent illness from bacteria, cook eggs until the yolks are firm, and thoroughly cook foods containing eggs to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Never eat uncooked eggs.

Consider these additional tips when preparing hard-boiled eggs:

■ If stored properly, eggs can have a safe shelf life of more than three weeks. Date the carton to keep track of how long it has been in your refrigerator.

■ Fresh farm eggs should be washed in warm water or a mild dishwashing liquid that is free of scents and dyes. Dry eggs thoroughly before storing them in a carton and refrigerating.

■ Fresh eggs can be difficult to peel when they are hard-cooked. If you buy farm-fresh eggs, let them age in your refrigerator for seven to 10 days before boiling. As they age, air enters the shell and makes space between the shell and the membrane. That “cushion” of air makes eggs easier to peel after boiling.

■ Follow our high-altitude hard-boiled egg instructions for successfully cooking eggs when you live above 5,000 feet.

■ Keep your hard-cooked eggs refrigerated until you are ready to color them or hide them. Limit their time away from refrigeration to less than two hours to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

■ How did the egg get up a mountain? It scrambled up…of course!

Karen Massey is a registered dietitian nutritionist and family and consumer science Extension agent with Colorado State University Extension in Routt County. Questions call 879-0825 or email karen.massey@colostate.edu.

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