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 your eggs from the refrigerated section of the store. Instead, they are on a shelf right next to the bread. More than chicken egg facts about how many calories are in a boiled egg, you should first and foremost know if an egg is still good. Learn how to know if your eggs are still fresh!
How to Tell if Eggs are Still Fresh
Freshly Laid Eggs Life Span
A chicken egg freshly laid by the hen will last for several weeks without refrigeration due to a special coating on the outer shell. Most eggs that we get from the stores keep this coating, called “bloom,” until they are ready to be packaged.
Bloom Coating Prolongs Eggs Shelf Life
This bloom is removed for sanitary reasons as it can hold some fairly nasty bacteria, but the major downside is that 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.
Farm Fresh Eggs Last Longer
So if you are able to get farm fresh, unwashed eggs, you should be able to store them outside the refrigerator for several days without reducing the quality of the eggs. Even your store-bought eggs may be safe well past their expiration dates.
Eggs 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 eggs, 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
Why the Egg Floats and Sinks
Eggs react this way in water because of the air sac present in all eggs. The shell of an egg is a semi-permeable membrane that allows oxygen to enter the shell 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.
Watch this video from BBC Good Food for a demonstration of this eggs freshness test!
The long list of egg nutritional benefits is enough to keep this a staple food in any home. On the other hand, any simple egg recipe 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 your eggs are still fresh.
How do you know if your eggs are still fresh? Do you have any egg fact and trivia? Share your thoughts and experience with us in the comments section below!
Editors Note – This post was originally published on November 5, 2012 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.