If you have kids who are into dyeing and decorating Easter eggs, you may have dozens in the fridge after the holiday. Lots of families cook the eggs and decorate them the day before, then store them until it’s time to hide them on Easter morning. But after the egg hunt, how long are they still safe to eat? It all comes down to timing.
According to the USDA, the safety of the eggs depends on where you hide them, how quickly they’re found and - this is an important part - how gently they’re handled.
- After hard boiling eggs, color them and get them back in the fridge within two hours. And be sure to use a food-safe coloring.
- The USDA doesn’t recommend eating hard cooked eggs that have been hidden on the ground because they can pick up bacteria, especially if the shells are cracked. They advise trying to hide eggs in places that are “protected from dirt, moisture, pets and other sources of bacteria.”
- The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should be less than two hours, then they need to go back in the fridge.
- The “found” eggs need to be re-washed, re-refrigerated and eaten within seven days of cooking.
- Toss any eggs that are cracked after the hunt, better safe than sorry when it comes to food.