An easy test to make sure that your eggs are fresh and safe to eat.
Eggs are a staple – fried or poached for breakfast, boiled for salads, brilliant as an omelet for a late supper or as an important ingredient in all sorts of recipes. You really don’t want to run out of them.
As we all know, eggs won’t last forever, even in a good refrigerator. Pay attention to those “sell by” dates and rotate eggs (as you would milk) making sure that you use the oldest stock first. But, does that mean you have to be a “date hound” for those expiration or “use by” dates? Short answer is “no.” A friend of mine complained a few days ago that his wife literally pounces on any eggs that remain in a carton after the expiration date – bam, into the trash. Completely unnecessary and overly cautious.
The fact is, assuming they are in constant refrigeration, raw eggs are usually safe for about three weeks after the “sell by” date has passed.
Look it up on Google, and you’ll see that this is a pretty common factoid.
But you still need to be careful – a bad egg is a terrible thing to crack open in your kitchen (it’s a smell that you never forget).
The first test is a visual inspection of the egg. Look for cracks or discoloration of the shell. The egg may even start to give off a certain odor – stronger than normal egg-smell. These are all nature’s signs that you really need to part with that egg.
Still not sure? Here’s a method I learned from my mom. Get a tall pitcher or other container and fill it half-way with cold water. Carefully place each egg into the water. If the egg drops to the bottom of the container – it’s good to eat. If it lays on its side it’s even more fresh than if it stands on one end on the bottom but either way – they’re both good to eat.
If it floats – the egg is well past its prime. This is the clearest sign that you have a problem. Why does it float? Newly laid eggs have either no air cell or a very small one. As they begin to cool (just laid eggs are about 105 degrees F!) the contents of the egg contract more than the shell so the inner membrane separates from the hard shell and forms the air cell. As the egg ages moisture escapes through the shell and air replaces it so the air cell becomes larger. The bigger the air cell, the more it floats. So, if your egg is floating on the surface the air cell is big enough to make it buoyant. Throw the egg away, you definitely don’t want to eat it.
Cool little trick, isn’t it?