How to tell if your eggs are *still* edible

You come home late from work, you haven’t planned dinner and the fridge is dark: two apples, a piece of cheddar cheese, half a bottle of white wine and a carton of eggs that you forgot on the shelf of the low.

A cheese omelet sounds good, but are those eggs still good? How do you know if eggs are safe to eat, especially if you can’t remember when you bought them or clearly read the expiration date on the box? Do not worry. Today we’ll show you how to tell if eggs are good, how to store them properly, and more.

How long do eggs last?

First of all: the fresher the egg, the better it will taste. The flavor is best in the first week. That said, according to the FDA, whole shell eggs can be refrigerated (40°F or lower) for up to three weeks after purchase. Ideally, choose organic, heirloom, or free-range eggs from hens and hens raised in a happy environment; producers like Happy Egg Co. pride themselves on their high-end free-range standards, which results in a brighter, creamier yolk and better egg flavor.

But, according to “How to Cook Everything,” eggs can be refrigerated “up to four to five weeks after the date of packing” on the carton (check before you buy and try to snag a carton with the earliest date). recent). If you’re nearing the end of that range, try using eggs for baked goods instead of scrambled, fried, poached, etc., where you’d notice the dull flavor more. Also, by cooking or cooking the egg thoroughly, you will eliminate any bad bacteria that may have started to grow during this time.

Wait, what is a pack date?

Glad you asked. It’s not the same as other dates you might see on egg cartons, like Sell ​​by Where better by. The pack date, also known as the Julian date, is a three-digit number – ranging from 001 (January 1) to 365 (December 31) – that corresponds to a day of the year. Here is a handy chart for reference. It refers to the specific day the eggs were packed in the carton, without avoiding any confusion as to when the eggs should be consumed.

Do eggs go bad if do not refrigerated?

It depends on where in the world you are. For example: In the United States, yes. In the UK, no. Why? Not because of refrigerators, but because eggs are treated differently. It all comes down to the cuticlea thin layer on the eggs after they have been laid.

In the United States, commercial eggs are washed in warm water and detergent to remove the cuticle and any potential shell contamination (the biggest concern is salmonella). In the UK, hens are vaccinated to prevent the transmission of salmonella and the cuticle is left in place as a natural barrier. But that said, there is a case for refrigerating eggs wherever you go. According to “The New Food Lover’s Companion”, eggs at room temperature “lose more quality in a day than a week in the refrigerator”. In our view, prevention is better than cure.

How to store eggs?

If you are in the United States, you must store eggs in the refrigerator. Your fridge door probably has a nice little shelf, which fits an egg carton perfectly, but don’t use it.

Here’s why: 1) The door is warmer than the rest of the refrigerator (and the warmer the environment, the faster the egg quality degrades). 2) The door moves every time you open it, and the more an egg moves, the thinner its white becomes. In addition, it will be constantly exposed to hot air when you open the door every 20 minutes to get a snack.

Additionally, eggs are very susceptible to absorbing odors from other foods, which is why you should either store them in the container they came in or transfer them to an airtight container; avoid open-format containers where they would be exposed to the air circulating in the refrigerator. Whether you keep them in their original container or otherwise, keep them on the bottom shelf toward the back of the refrigerator. This way they will be in the coldest section of the fridge while still being away from other foods. If you break an egg, it will create less of a mess on multiple shelves if it is on the lowest rack.

How do you know if eggs are good or bad?

After opening an egg, there are several signs of freshness:

  • Thick whites that do not spread significantly
  • A slight odor (“an old egg will smell like damp grass or straw,” according to “The Joy of Cooking”
  • A large yolk in the shape of a dome
  • Noticeable chalazae (those opaque white cords that help anchor the yolk)

If you don’t want to break the egg, you can always try the famous float test. Which brings us to our next question. . .

Is the egg float test a myth?

Nope! It’s a simple, reliable method that’s been around for hundreds of years (English cookbook author Hannah Glasse wrote about it in 1750!). Here’s the bottom line: if the egg sinks, it’s good, and if it floats, it’s bad. But why?

“The egg as a whole loses moisture through its porous shell, so that the contents of the egg shrink and the air cell at the wide end expands,” writes Harold McGee in “On Food and Cooking”. “As an egg ages and its air chamber expands, it gradually becomes less dense.” Which means that if an egg is able to float in water, it’s dead old and you should throw it in the trash (or recycle those shells!).

Scrambled eggs with brown butter

Fried eggs in olive oil with yoghurt and lemon from Julia Turshen

There’s blood in my egg! It’s bad, right?

It’s actually good (scary but good). A spot of blood on an egg yolk isn’t a sign of spoilage, and it’s not dangerous to eat – it’s just a burst vein. The older an egg gets, the less noticeable the stain will be, so if it’s very noticeable, that’s another way to ensure the egg is fresh. Of course, if the bloodstain bothers you, you can try removing it with a paring knife or chopstick. Remember that the yolk could break. This isn’t a problem if you’re making scrambled eggs, but you might want to adopt this method if you’re making fried or poached eggs.

How do you know if a hard-boiled egg is bad?

Boiling a bunch of hard-boiled eggs and storing them in the fridge is an A+ way to get meal prep going (go for it!). But like raw eggs, they won’t stay good forever. Once hard-boiled, eggs will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Store in an airtight container, so they don’t absorb other odors. The same goes for boiled or soft-boiled eggs, but be aware that they are more delicate and more susceptible to the growth of foodborne bacteria, so remember to keep them at the back of the refrigerator (don’t forget them!).