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Practice safe eggnog
From eNews, December 16, 2005
Eggnog is an acquired taste. Some people salivate at the thought of this creamy, rich beverage. Others will gag and give you a look of utter disgust. However you may feel about this holiday tradition, it's become a permanent wintertime fixture in many homes.
Eggnog is a drink essentially made of eggs, milk, sugar, and flavoring. Spirits are often added and rich cream may replace all or part of the milk. Eggnog may be served hot or cold, but according to the American Egg Board, it should always be prepared as custard to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.
The following are some tips from Info-U to prepare safe eggnog.
- Eggnog made with raw eggs may not be safe because salmonella bacteria may be present even if the eggshell is clean and uncracked. Adding alcohol only inhibits bacterial growth; do not rely on it to kill bacteria. If you do take the chance on a raw eggs recipe, because of the risk of salmonella, do not serve to senior citizens, pregnant women, very young children, or people with weakened immune systems.
- You can also use pasteurized eggs, which can be found next to regular eggs at the store. Or you can use egg substitutes, which have already been pasteurized. Using a pasteurized product means that no further cooking is necessary. Eggnog sold in grocery stores has been prepared with pasteurized eggs.
- If you use raw or unpasteurized eggs, choose a recipe in which you must cook the egg and milk mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (use a thermometer). At this temperature the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon. Refrigerate it immediately. When making a large amount of cooked eggnog, divide it into several shallow containers when refrigerating; this will allow it to cool quickly.
Info-U is the University of Minnesota Extension Service's multilingual, prerecorded information service. To learn more about it, see www.extension.umn.edu/info-u.
Editor's note: You can get more tips on holiday food and safety by calling "Answer Line," a free service from the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; 1-800-854-1678.