Know how to tell if eggs are still fresh and avoid possible health risks, so you can also get your money's worth!
What You Should Know to Determine the Freshness of Eggs
Good to Know
Poultry and its products are a great and sustainable source of protein, which is essential for survival. Eggs, in particular, are a lifesaver with their many nutritional benefits and ease of production.
Yet, these poultry products pose health risks, and eventually survival. Did you know that many of the eggs you purchase by the dozen in your local grocery store are already weeks old by the time they hit the shelf?
It may seem odd to us in the U.S. but in most countries, you don’t get them from the refrigerated section of the store. Instead, they are on a shelf right next to the bread.
It is important to know if a box of eggs is still worth buying. Here is some information to help you with that:
1. Know a Poultry Product's lifespan
A poultry product freshly laid by the hen will last for several weeks without refrigeration due to a special coating on the outer shell.
Most of what we get from the stores keeps this coating, called “bloom,” until they are ready to be packaged.
2. Bloom Coating Prolongs Shelf Life
This bloom is removed for sanitary reasons as it can hold some fairly nasty bacteria, but the major downside is it cuts the shelf life of that egg into a fraction of what it could be.
The bloom acts as an oxygen inhibitor and keeps it from breathing. The slower the egg breathes, the longer its shelf life.
3. Farm Fresh Produce Last Longer
So if you are able to get farm fresh, unwashed eggs, you can store them outside the refrigerator for several days without reducing the quality.
Even your store-bought eggs may be safe well past their expiration dates.
4. The Freshness Test
There is even a simple test that will tell you just how fresh an egg is and all you need is a bowl of water. When you are ready to use your egg, fill a bowl of water with two teaspoons of salt and gently place the egg into the water.
If the egg…
- Sinks to the bottom and stays there, it is about three to six days old.
- Mostly sinks, but floats at an angle, it's more than a week old.
- Sinks, but then stands on end, it's about two weeks old.
- Floats, it's too old and should be discarded
5. Why the Egg Floats and Sinks
An egg reacts this way in water because of the air sac present in it. Their shell is a semi-permeable membrane, allowing oxygen to enter but not leave it.
As the egg ages, this air sac begins to increase in size. The larger the air sack the more buoyant the egg is.
Watch this video from BBC Good Food for a demonstration of an egg's freshness test:
The long list of egg nutritional benefits is enough to keep this a staple food in any home. On the other hand, even simple egg recipes can make you sick if your eggs are past their expiry date.
This simple egg test will help you find out if your store-bought eggs are fresh. So before you cook your scrambled eggs in the morning, make sure they're still fresh.
How do you know if an egg is still fresh? Do you have any other facts and trivia? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below!
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Editors Note: This post was originally published on May 18, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.