Eggs are a staple food in many households, but it can be difficult to determine when they have gone bad.
It is important to regularly check your eggs for freshness and discard any that are no longer safe to eat. By doing so, you can avoid food poisoning and ensure that you are consuming fresh, safe eggs.
How to Check if Eggs are Off
- The float test
- The appearance test
- The smell test
- The shell test
The Float Test
Fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg in the water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lays flat, it is fresh. If the egg stands upright or floats on the surface, it is no longer fresh and you should discard it. Read more about the float test over at The Happy Chicken Coop.
The Appearance Test
A fresh egg will have a thick, clear egg white and a round, high yolk. As eggs age, the whites will become thin and watery and the yolks will become flatter, which can be a sign of spoilage. If the egg has a gray or green tint, discard it.
The Smell Test
Crack the egg open and give it a sniff. If it has a sour or rotten smell, it has gone bad and you should discard it.
The Shell Test
Examine the eggshell for any cracks or discoloration. If the eggshell appears dirty or has a bad smell, it is no longer fresh and you should discard it.
What do I do if my eggs are off?
Discard any expired eggs immediately. If you're out off eggs, consider using an egg substitute.
Should I Store Eggs in the Refrigerator?
Eggs are typically stored in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella.
In the United States, commercial eggs are washed and sanitized before being packaged, which removes the natural protective coating on the eggshell, making them more susceptible to spoilage.
Storing eggs out of the refrigerator is common in other countries where eggs are not washed before packaging, thus keeping the natural protective coating on the eggshell which helps to keep the eggs fresh for longer.
How to Store Eggs
When storing eggs in the fridge, it is important to keep them in their original carton and place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the back of the bottom shelf. This will help to prevent the temperature fluctuations that can cause spoilage.
If storing eggs out of the fridge, it is important to keep them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. A pantry or a cupboard in the kitchen are good places to store eggs.
It's also important to keep them in their original carton and avoid exposing them to strong odors, as the eggs can absorb odors from other foods.
How long do eggs last?
How long do eggs last in the fridge?
You can store eggs in the refrigerator for about 4-5 weeks from the date of purchase. However, for best quality, use eggs within 3 weeks of the purchase date.
How long do eggs last out of the fridge?
If storing eggs out of the fridge, use within 3 weeks. When you are not sure how old the eggs are, it is best to use the "float test" to check if they have gone bad. If the eggs are not fresh, discard them.
Can Eggs be Frozen?
Eggs can be frozen for longer storage, but the process requires some preparation to ensure that the eggs maintain their quality and texture after thawing.
How To Freeze Eggs
- Crack the eggs into a bowl or container.
- Whisk the eggs together if you are freezing them whole, or separate the whites and yolks if you plan to use them differently later. Alternatively, you can portion whole eggs out by cracking one egg into each hole of an ice cube tray.
- Pour the eggs into a freezer-safe container, leaving some headspace at the top to allow for expansion.
- Seal the container tightly and label it with the date and the number of eggs.
- Place the container in the coldest part of the freezer.
- Frozen eggs can be stored for up to a year in the freezer.
How to Thaw Frozen Eggs
When you are ready to use the frozen eggs, it's important to thaw them properly. The best way to thaw frozen eggs is to transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw overnight. You can also thaw them in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. Avoid thawing eggs at room temperature as it may cause bacterial growth.
When Not to Use Frozen Eggs
Do not use frozen eggs in dishes that are not cooked, such as raw eggs in a salad dressing or homemade mayonnaise, as freezing can affect the texture and consistency of the egg whites and yolks.