Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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April 5, 2014

Cracking egg myths in time for Easter

Easter eggs are a centerpiece of many family traditions come Easter Sunday. Easter eggs symbolize fertility and rebirth to some, but many people associate Easter eggs with youngsters scouring the yard in search of treasure.

Whether Easter eggs are associated with secular or religious beliefs, these colorful staples of Easter Sunday are an integral part of springtime holiday decor and celebrations. Certain misconceptions about Easter eggs have developed over time, and the following are some of the more common myths about Easter eggs that have made the rounds.

Myth: Easter eggs are safe to eat after your egg hunt is over.

Fact: Hard-boiled eggs generally remain safe to eat at room temperature for about two hours. If the temperature outside or indoors is very warm, the eggs should be eaten within one hour. People risk food-borne illnesses if they consume Easter eggs that have been left out for several hours or overnight. It is better to dispose of colored eggs after the annual egg hunt or at least keep hard-boiled eggs refrigerated until the hunt begins.

Myth: It is unsafe to eat all dyed Easter eggs.

Fact: Whether dyed eggs are safe or not depends on the type of dye used. Many kits use vegetable-based dyes that are food-safe. These same pigments are used in traditional food coloring. Even if the dye has penetrated beneath the shell, it should still be safe for consumption. Kits for blown-out eggs may use dyes that are not food-safe. Also, people who are allergic to certain food dyes might want to avoid eating dyed eggs.

Myth: Pastel-colored eggs have long-rooted religious significance.

Fact: An Easter egg hunt is a tradition that originated with pagan spring festivals. But like many pagan practices, Easter egg hunting was eventually adopted by Christians and assigned religious significance. In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ shed on the cross. The hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ for many. In A.D. 1610 under Pope Paul V, the Christian Church officially adopted the Easter egg custom that the eggs symbolize the resurrection.

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