Almost everyone has been faced with this conundrum — you reach into the fridge for an egg, but can’t remember how long they have been resting there.
When in uncertainty, there are numerous methods you can use to determine if your eggs are good or bad. Here are the top five.
Check the Expiration Date
One of the simplest ways to tell if your eggs are still fresh is to check the date on the package.
“The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.”
Conduct a Sniff Test
The sniff test is the most traditional, easiest and most dependable method of telling whether an egg has gone bad.
Eggs that have gone bad will give off an unmistakable smell, regardless of whether they are raw or cooked.
If you can’t already tell while the egg is in the shell, crack the egg onto a clean plate or dish and give it a sniff.
If anything stinks off, toss the egg and wash the bowl or plate with hot, soapy water before using again.
If things smell normal, meaning there is no odour at all, that’s a good sign that the egg is still safe to use.
“If you’ve broken the eggs, you should make the omelette.”
Complete a Visual Inspection
While the egg is still in its shell, check that the shell is not cracked, slimy or dusty.
Sliminess or cracks can indicate the presence of bacteria, while a dusty appearance on the shell may indicate mould.
If the shell appears dry and unharmed, break the egg into a clean, white bowl or plate before using. Look for any pink, blue, green or black discolouration in the yolk or whites, as this may mean bacterial growth
If you see any signs of discolouration, throw the egg out and wash the bowl with hot, soapy water before testing a new egg.
“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken”
Perform a Float Test
The float experiment is one of the most popular methods for verifying whether an egg is good or bad.
This is also a common method for determining the age of a fertilized egg that is developing into a chick.
It works just as well to judge whether an unfertilized table egg is fresh or not.
To do the float test, gently set your egg into a bowl or container of water. If the egg sinks, it is fresh. If it tilts upwards or even floats, it is old.
This is because as an egg age, the small air pocket inside it gets larger as water is released and replaced by air. If the air pocket becomes large enough, the egg may float.
While this method may tell you whether an egg is fresh or old, it doesn’t tell you whether an egg is good or bad.
An egg can sink and still be bad, while an egg that floats may still be fine to eat.
“A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg.”
Candle Your Eggs
Candling is a method used either to evaluate the quality of a table egg or to assess the development of the chick in a fertilized egg.
This is done industrially using specialized equipment to ensure the proper grading of table eggs before they are packaged.
But it can also be done on your eggs at home if you’re willing to learn.
Hold the light source up to the large end of the egg. Then, turn the egg and turn it quickly from left to right. If performed correctly, the contents of the egg should be illuminated.
This enables you to see whether the egg’s air cell is small or large. In a very fresh egg, the air cell should be slimmer than 1/8 inch, or 3.175 mm. As the egg ages, gasses replenish water lost through evaporation, and the air pocket will get larger.
“An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.”
The Bottom Line
A lack of knowledge about how to tell when an egg has gone bad leads some people to needlessly throw away good eggs. So don’t overlook that even if an egg passes these tests, it’s necessary to fully cook it to a safe temperature before you consume it.
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