CHOCOLATE eggs of all sizes fill the shop shelves at the moment - but don't forget that you can celebrate Easter with hens' eggs too.

The Easter symbolism encapsulated in a newly-laid egg includes those early Christian beliefs which hailed eggs as a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged to the new life of His Resurrection.

Since early times, Easter eggs have been painted in bright colours and given to friends as Easter gifts.

In the past, some people had reservations about the number of eggs they ate, due to their cholesterol content. Today's findings suggest that eggs are relatively low in saturated fat and can be eaten and enjoyed, as they are packed with a range of nutrients. Also, vitamins A, D, E, and the all-important B vitamins A medium egg only contains about 80 calories More than eight million eggs are produced in the UK every year, but only 32 per cent of these eggs are free range Although hens in the UK producing eggs stamped with the Lion quality mark are vaccinated against salmonella, the Food Standards Agency recommends that vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, very young, sick and pregnant women, should only eat eggs that are thoroughly cooked Eggs are best stored in the fridge Freshly laid eggs are difficult to peel - for best results when you wish to serve hard-boiled eggs with a smooth surface, cook eggs that are at least a week old To avoid the dark ring which can form around the yolk of hard-boiled eggs, remove the eggs from the water the moment they are fully boiled and immerse in cold water before removing the shell You will find a code stamped on eggs now. The first number refers to the farming method - O for organic, 1 for free range, 2 for barn-reared, 3 for battery-caged birds.

This is followed by country of origin and then the farm identification, which is a specific code denoting the farm where the eggs were produced. You can find the location of the farm if it is a Lion egg by visiting