5 Ways to Tell if an Egg is Fresh or Rotten

Have you ever found yourself questioning the freshness of an egg when adding it to your recipe? Eggs can be tricky to determine the freshness of, as their opaque shells hide the condition of the white and yolk. But don’t worry, there are a few easy ways to tell if an egg is fresh and there are plenty of things you can do to prevent your eggs from going bad in the first place.

In this article, we will go over some helpful tips that will let you know if an egg is still good to eat or if it has expired. We’ll also share some insights on food waste related to eggs.

Check Expiration Dates

The eggs you purchase from supermarkets always have a recommended use-by date on the packaging. French regulations even require the sale of eggs to stop 7 days before the minimum durability date (Ddm) stated on the package. If you buy eggs directly from a henhouse, the recommended use-by date is not indicated. However, you should know that the use-by date (Dlc) is a maximum of 28 days after the day of laying. If the shells are not cracked or broken, you can store eggs in the refrigerator for one month past the recommended use-by date, which is 58 days after the day they were laid. Proper storage helps maintain freshness, prevent mold, and fight against food waste. Remember to maintain the cold chain to avoid health risks.

Smell the Egg

Just like other fresh products, eggs can develop a suspicious smell if they have expired. If you notice that an egg is past the expiration date and you want to keep it for later consumption, start by smelling it. Expired food often has an unpleasant odor and should not be eaten, as it may have lost its vitamins and have an altered taste. If the smell seems normal to you, you can quickly consume the egg by preparing an omelette, for example.

Check the Appearance of the Shell

Your eyes can also help you identify whether an egg is expired or still edible. Visually inspect the shell to avoid any risks. If the shell appears powdery, viscous, cracked, or in any questionable condition, it may reveal the presence of mold. Additionally, if you crack the egg into a bowl and notice any suspicious discoloration such as blue, pink, black, or green colors in the egg white or yolk, it may indicate the growth of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Be cautious if the egg yolk or white is leaking, as this may indicate that the egg is aged but has not reached its usage limit.

Dip the Egg in Water

Another technique to determine the freshness of an egg is to dip it in water. Fill a saucepan or salad bowl with water and gently immerse the egg. If it sinks to the bottom and lies flat, it is still good for consumption. If it remains upright, it needs to be eaten quickly. And if it floats to the surface, it is expired. The older the egg gets, the more moisture evaporates through microscopic pores, causing the air pocket to expand. This is why older eggs tend to float. However, it’s important to note that if you plan to consume eggs immediately, you should not repeat this experiment as it can remove the protective cuticle on the shell, making the egg more susceptible to bacterial contamination.

Use the Mirage Technique

Candling is a technique used in the industry to assess egg quality or chick development in fertilized eggs. While it is typically carried out using specialized equipment, you can also do it at home. Find a cool place with minimal light and have a light source such as a candle or a small flashlight. Hold the light source towards the end of the egg and tilt and rotate it from left to right. This will allow you to see the contents of the egg. By examining the size of the air bubble, you can gauge the age of the egg. As the egg ages, water evaporates and gases replace it, resulting in a larger air pocket.

Can We Eat Food After the Expiration Date?

There are some foods that can be consumed after the expiration date stated on the package, such as real honey, salt, sugar, vinegar, cans, rice, pasta, cornstarch, flour, cereals, dried vegetables, mustard, ketchup, pickles, and spices. However, their taste may change over time. Dairy products like crème fraîche, cheese, milk, and yogurt can also be consumed within one to two weeks after the date mentioned on the packaging, as long as they are unopened and have been stored properly. For frozen products, as long as the cold chain has been respected, they can be consumed even after the mentioned expiration date.

However, there are certain foods that should not be consumed after the expiration date. These include vacuum-packed raw meats, eggs, fish, cold meats, fresh fruit juices, and raw milk cheeses. These foods are more likely to harbor bacteria and can pose a health risk if consumed past their expiration date. Always trust the expiration dates mentioned on these products to protect your health and avoid potential food infections.

In conclusion, by following these simple tips, you can ensure that the eggs you consume are fresh and avoid any unpleasant surprises. Remember to check the expiration dates, smell the eggs, inspect the shell’s appearance, dip the egg in water, and use the mirage technique. And always remember to practice proper food safety and avoid consuming foods that may pose a health risk after the expiration date.