The egg has been a symbol of spring since ancient times, signifying new life as the earth renewed itself after long, cold winters.
The association of eggs with rebirth was part of many of the earliest beliefs including those of Egyptians, Hindus and Finns. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Persians actually dyed eggs for spring festivals celebrating the vernal equinox.
Think of it: Romans and Persians of antiquity were decorating eggs for use in springtime rituals and celebrations just as we do today. According to some sources, decorating eggs specifically for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century.
While egg coloring has come down to us through the millennia, new traditions are born every day and the American Egg Board has just the thing to help begin a new one. Taking egg decorating up a notch, the creation of Animal Egg Buddies (AEBs) is a fun project offering the perfect way for one person or even an entire family to showcase springtime creativity.
AEBs begin with an old standby of egg crafts: removal of the egg contents by using two small, carefully punched holes. A child participating in this for the first time will be amazed.
AEB creators can complete each type of animal in five basic steps or access their own untapped quirkiness. Who says farm animals are not allowed to wear top hats? Whether renewing old egg decorating traditions or starting new ones, AEBs offer a fun way to connect with anyone’s inner child. After all, there is always room in life for more smiles.
If all this talk about traditions is creating nostalgia for old favorites, it may be a good time to talk about food safety when decorating hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg hunts and rolls. Before you begin to decorate the eggs, decide whether or not you plan to eat them later. If the eggs will be eaten, follow these rules:
• Wash hands between each step of cooking, cooling an decorating.
• Be sure all decorating materials are food safe.
• Keep eggs refrigerated as much as possible, returning them to refrigeration when they’re not being worked on.
• Dye eggs in water that’s warmer than the eggs themselves so the dye water won’t be absorbed.
• If hiding decorated eggs, avoid places where pets, other animals or lawn chemicals may contact them.
After using the eggs for rolling or hunting, throw out any ones that are cracked or have been out at room temperature for more than two hours. Always eat the uncracked and refrigerated hard-boiled eggs within one week of cooking them.
For more quick-and-easy egg recipes and tips to incorporate eggs into your family’s traditions, visit www.NCegg.org or www.facebook.com/northcarolinaeggassociation.
What you need: whole white eggs (contents removed), bleach water, pink craft paint, craft paint brushes, mini marshmallows, craft glue, small buttons, small plastic eyes, pink craft pipe cleaners, scissors and pink felt.
* Wash whole eggs, one for each pig, with bleach water. Let dry completely.
* Paint each egg shell and four mini marshallows with pink paint. Let dry completely.
* Holding the egg horizontally, glue button on the front of one end of the egg. Glue eyes a little further back on the egg from the nose. Glue mini marshmallows onto underside of the egg for feet.
* Twist pipe cleaner around a pencil for tail. Glue into hole at the opposite end of the egg from the face.
* Cut two small ears from the pink felt. Form pieces into a slight “U” shape and glue onto the top of the face.
To remove contents of an uncooked egg, poke a small hole in each end of the egg. Gently blow into one hole to remove contents of egg through the second hole. Use egg contents for recipes where egg is thoroughly cooked. Keep egg contents refrigerated until ready to use.
Bleach water can be made by combining 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon bleach. Place in a labeled container. This will keep indefinitely.