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Eggs

How to Tell if Eggs are Good

Are my eggs still good? For a fresh food, eggs have a surprisingly long shelf life; the USDA considers them safe to eat for 45 days after processing. There's also a simple test to determine an egg's relative freshness.

Words by: Family Farm Team

Like all fresh foods, eggs don't last forever. But thanks to their shells, they're rather resilant. Even though the mandated USDA washing and processing of eggs actually reduces their oxygen barrier, and thus shortens their freshness cycle, they still come with a relatively robust time allowance: eggs can be consumed 45 days from the time of processing (which is usually just a few days after being laid).

The best way to know if an egg is still good is to go by the date code on the package that it came in.

However, if you have an egg and you're not sure about that date, another way to test it is to simply place it in a bowl or glass filled with cold water.

The water test for egg freshness

Fill a bowl or glass with about four inches of cold water and gently place your egg(s) inside.

Very fresh eggs will sink to the bottom and lay on their sides. If an egg stays at the bottom but stands on its small end, it's still fine to eat; just not quite as fresh. These "more mature" eggs are no less nutritious than a fresher egg, and most people are unlikely to notice a difference in taste. Two bonuses: 1. They'll peel without sticking to the white when hard boiled and 2. The egg whites are easier to whip into meringue when making desserts.

Any eggs that are too old to eat and should be discarded will simply float to the surface. Once enough oxygen has had time to permeate the shell, it forms an air pocket large enough to keep the egg afloat in water.

COMMENTS

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Ann T Collins

September 17, 2020

The date is covered on my recently purchased eggs. Can I tell the freshness date by another code on the carton? P172 233 B6. Thank you

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[email protected]

September 18, 2020

Hi Ann, so sorry to hear you're unable to read the best by date on your carton. Thank you for providing us with that information, it's extremely helpful! According to the other numbers printed, we were able to calculate the best by date as October 3, 2020. Please let us know if we can be of further help and we hope you enjoy those eggs!

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Lynn

April 13, 2020

I tried your tip and all the eggs stood up but remained on the bottom of the mixing bowl. I'm still wondering if they are safe to eat (including bake with). My refrigerator went out and it took the property manager 2 weeks to replace it. The thermometer that I put in there showed a consistent 58 degrees during those two weeks.

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Deneé@peteandgerrys

April 14, 2020

Hi Lynn, thanks for bringing up this important point! The water test is meant to test egg freshness in terms of age - if your eggs are still remaining on the bottom of the bowl during the water test, then they're "fresh" in age but not necessarily guaranteed safe from other factors like bacterial contamination. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend eating eggs that have been kept at 58° F. Eggs need to be kept at or below 45° F to limit the growth of any bacteria that could cause spoilage. We hope this helps clear things up for you, and please don't hesitate to send us an email at [email protected] if we can answer any other questions for you!

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