Whenever I bake or cook something with eggs, I make sure they are still fresh before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. I did not always use to do this, but I learned the hard way (by adding a bad egg to a bowl, filled with amazing ingredients) that it is better to be safe than sorry.
Aside from trying to avoid wasting food, which I think is very important, it is necessary to make sure the food you are eating is safe to consume and will not make you sick. Luckily there are a few tests you can do to check how fresh an egg is.
The easiest way to check if your raw egg is still good, is by filling a bowl with water and placing the egg in the water.
When the egg is very fresh, it will sink to the bottom and sit there on its side.
When the egg sinks to the bottom and ”stands up”, it is still okay but a bit older.
When your egg floats, it hasn’t necessarily gone bad, but you should carefully check it, using the tests below, to make sure if it is safe to eat.
Like with the Water-And-Bowl-Test, you are checking for gas inside the egg. The more gas there is in the egg, the older it is. When there is a fair amount of gas in the egg, the white and yolk will have space to move around and move upon shaking. You can hear the inside slosh around in an old egg, while it is challenging to perceive the same phenomenon in a fresh egg.
A bad egg will smell BAD. The sulphur-smell coming at you will let you know that you are dealing with a bad egg. Even when you boil an egg, and only crack it once the inside sets, the bad smell will be present.
When you crack open an egg, there are a lot of things you can observe. The smell, the yolk and the white have a colour, how hard the shell is etc. Several things to keep an eye out for when you want to determine whether your egg is still fresh.
- The whole egg: Check if there are no cracks or other types of damage visible from the outside. A damaged egg will spoil fast.
- The colour: Make sure the egg white is clear to cloudy and colourless. There should be no decolourations in either the yolk or the white.
- The smell: A fresh egg is odourless.
- The consistency: While there is a difference in consistency between eggs (Grade AA eggs are firmer than grade A or B eggs.), a fresh egg will be more consistent and lose this consistency over time. So if you crack an egg and the egg white is runny, and the yolk breaks easily, you are dealing with an older egg.
So in short, when your egg floats, smells bad, has decolourations in the white or yolk, is very runny or is damaged, proceed with caution. If you are having doubts, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Tips & Good to Know
Always keep your eggs in a cold environment when transporting them from the store to your refrigerator. When kept at room temperature, your eggs will spoil about four times faster than when cooled. Put them in the refrigerator and keep them there until you are ready to use them. Ideally, you should put your eggs on a shelf and not in the door. Moving eggs around will thin the egg white which will lead to the degradation of the eggs.McGee, Harold. On Food And Cooking. New York: Scribner, 2011. Print.Afoakwa, Emmanuel Ohene. Chocolate Science And Technology. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.Hui, Y. H. (2006). Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
Egg farmers have made precautions to limit the chances of salmonella-infected eggs ending up in your kitchen, but as a consumer, you should still be aware that there is a small risk of exposure. To limit the risk, make sure always to buy eggs that are kept in a refrigerating unit. Once bought, keep the eggs cooled and heat them properly before consuming. Heat the eggs for 5 minutes at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) or 1 minute at 70 (160 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important that the entire inside of the egg stays at this temperature for the set amount of time. While working with eggs, make sure you do not let raw eggs come into contact with dishes, cutlery or uncooked food. To prevent cross-contamination, thoroughly clean your workspace and wash your hand before touching anything else. If you like to know more about salmonella, visit the FDA’s web page on the subject.https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm077342.htmMcGee, Harold. On Food And Cooking. New York: Scribner, 2011. Print.Afoakwa, Emmanuel Ohene. Chocolate Science And Technology. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.Hui, Y. H. (2006). Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
Depending on how old the eggs are when you pick them up at the store, your eggs will stay fresh for several weeks when stored correctly. When you crack open an egg, its shelf life decreases significantly. For this reason, try only to crack it right before you are about to use it.
- Did you cook an egg and did you forget which is the cooked and which is the uncooked egg? Spin it on its side! A cooked egg will spin fast while an uncooked egg will spin wobbly.
- Always check what size egg you need for a recipe. It can make a big difference in how your food will look and taste.
- Have a look at the date on the egg or the packaging material to find out when your egg was packaged. When you have that information, it is easier to determine its shelf-life.
- Use older eggs for recipes that require peeled eggs. When peeling an old egg, it is much easier to remove the peel, without damaging the egg.
If you want to know more about eggs, check out the [Fun Food Facts] on eggs and learn about the science behind eggs. Did you enjoy this article? Please share it or leave a comment and follow Truthful Food on social media so that you won’t miss out on anything new!
|↑1, ↑5||McGee, Harold. On Food And Cooking. New York: Scribner, 2011. Print.|
|↑2, ↑6||Afoakwa, Emmanuel Ohene. Chocolate Science And Technology. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.|
|↑3, ↑7||Hui, Y. H. (2006). Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.|