The Safe Way to Eat Leftover Easter Eggs

Find out whether you should eat or toss those leftover Easter eggs

Unlike chocolate bunnies and Peeps, you might think twice about digging into Easter's other bounty: leftover hard-boiled eggs. Around Easter time, you've probably got several dozen on hand, but are they safe to eat?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, yes -- with some restrictions. Hard-boiled eggs spoil faster than uncooked eggs because their protective coating is washed away, which exposes the shells to bacteria. Because of this, the USDA recommends that the total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed two hours.

If you're a fan of Easter egg salad, it's best to hide eggs indoors, away from dirt and moisture. The USDA says to avoid eating hard-cooked eggs that have been lying on the ground because they can pick up bacteria, especially if the shells are cracked.

More tips on eating Easter eggs:

  • After hard-boiling eggs, dye them and refrigerate within two hours.
  • If you're planning on eating the eggs, use food-safe dyes.
  • Refrigerate "found" eggs right away until you eat them.
  • If an egg's shell is cracked, discard it.
  • If you are making Easter bread that contains cooked eggs, serve or refrigerate the bread within two hours and eat it within three to four days.
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