Easter and the Egg

By Vicki A. Brady

 

Easter Sunday is one of the highest of all holy days in the Christian faith when believers in Jesus Christ celebrate His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. The most recognizable symbols of this holiday are a cross and an empty tomb with a stone conspicuously rolled away.  However, one more symbol that has become synonymous with Easter is the colored egg.  Many Christians view it as a symbol of the Trinity and new life.   While historians disagree on the origin of the egg’s connection to the resurrection, it has become a permanent fixture in American Easter celebrations.  This week, billions of eggs will undergo a huge transformation as families everywhere create Easter Eggs!

 

Egg-stra-ordinary

Chicken eggs are amazing!  They are one of the most versatile proteins available to man.  Folks who are fortunate to have access to farm-fresh eggs notice some interesting differences.  The yolk on a farm egg is usually darker in color, depending upon what the chicken eats.  The darker the color can indicate a better diet.  The white spot on the top of the yolk is called the germinal disc, and it functions like an umbilical cord for a fertilized egg.  The stringy substance at the end of the yoke is called chalaza, which act like a bungee cord to keep the yoke in place.  Once an egg is refrigerated, the chalaza begins to disappear.  Very fresh eggs will have cloudier whites due to excess carbon dioxide in the air cell.  They are also much more difficult to peel.  As the egg ages, the carbon dioxide escapes and is replaced with oxygen and the white becomes clearer.  There are some simple tests to help you determine how old an egg it and whether or not it can still be eaten.  When placed in a bowl of water, a very fresh egg will sink to the bottom and probably lie on its side.  A week old will still lie on the bottom but it tends to bob slightly.  If the egg stands on the bottom of the bowl and balances on its smallest tip, it is about three weeks old and still edible.  But if the egg floats to the top, it needs to be thrown away.   Eggs can be fried, poached, whipped, hardboiled, soft-boiled, baked, deviled, or scrambled.  But before any of that happens, eggs can be colored, dyed, glitterized, bejeweled, painted, or waxed!

A Thing of Beauty

Decorating eggs is considered an art form in many countries.  The most famous decorated eggs were created by Peter Fabergè in the late 1800s for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II, to be given as Easter gifts.  Constructed with gold, silver, and precious jewels, today these eggs are priceless, held in museums and art galleries.  The eggs have been showcased in many mystery movies and programs; usually as the object of an imminent theft.

Traditionally, eggs in the Middle East and in Greece were painted bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ, German eggs were painted green, and eggs painted in Poland and the Ukraine were silver and gold.

 

Recipe For Fun

This week millions of families will color, decorate, hide, and eat Easter eggs.  But before they do that, the eggs must be boiled and cooled.  The Internet is full of recipes for boiling eggs, but one recipe seems to stand out above the rest.

 

Hard Boiled Eggs

Place the eggs in a large pan of cool water, enough to cover all the eggs by an inch.  Slowly heat the water; and, once it begins to boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.  Cool the eggs in ice water for 10 minutes.  Cooling the eggs quickly keeps them from forming that ugly green line around the yolk.

 

Once your eggs are cool and dry, you can decorate them to your heart’s content.  Eggs should not remain unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

 

Happy Easter!

 

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