Making a safe holiday tradition

Make eggnog safe for family and friends to enjoy.

With the holidays come many traditional dishes to eat or drink. One of those traditions is eggnog, a drink made with eggs, cream and sugar topped with nutmeg. This is a tradition in many families and Michigan State University Extension reminds you that it can hold a potential danger of a foodborne illness if not properly made. There are many ways to make Eggnog safely including using pasteurized eggs or egg substitute, or even finding a recipe that does not use eggs.

Pasteurized eggs are eggs in a shell that have been heat treated to kill salmonella if it is present. These eggs may cost a bit more but the flavor and texture are generally the same as regular unpasteurized eggs. You may wonder why we are so concerned about salmonella and using pasteurized eggs. Salmonella is bacteria often found in eggs and is the source of some foodborne illness. We are all at risk but older adults, young children and immune deficient individuals are at a higher risk. So it is best to take some preventative measures to make foods safe.

If you are a traditional type person, preparing the recipe used by your grandmother can be done by making a couple safe changes so the tradition can continue.

First, add the eggs and half the milk that the recipe requires. You may choose to add the sugar at this time and any other ingredients. Next, slowly heat the mixture to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir constantly; this will help the mixture cook evenly. At this point the mixture should firmly coat a spoon when dipped into the mixture. When the mixture has reached the internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to cool it down before the final amount of ingredients are added. Chill the mixture then add the rest of the milk the recipe calls for and place the eggnog mixture in the refrigerator to keep cold while you and family and friends enjoy a safe tradition.

It is important to note that alcohol does not kill bacteria if the eggs used are contaminated and if the eggs used are unpasteurized. By cooking the eggnog mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit salmonella, if present will be destroyed.

Enjoy a holiday tradition of eggnog by following these cooking directions and other food safety techniques.

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