5 Ways to Tell if an Egg is Fresh or Rotten

Have you ever been unsure about the freshness of eggs when adding them to your recipes? Eggs can be tricky to judge because their shells hide the condition of the white and yolk. But don’t worry, we have some easy ways for you to determine if an egg is fresh and we’ll also share some insights on reducing food waste related to eggs.

When you buy eggs from the supermarket, they always have a recommended use-by date on the packaging. Did you know that in France, eggs cannot be sold 7 days before the minimum durability date stated on the package? If you buy eggs directly from a henhouse, the use-by date is not indicated, but you should know that it is a maximum of 28 days after the day of laying.

Don’t worry if the shells are not cracked or broken, you can store eggs in the refrigerator for up to one month past the recommended use-by date, which is 58 days after they were laid. Proper storage helps maintain freshness, prevents mold, and helps fight against food waste. Remember to keep your eggs refrigerated to avoid health risks.

Just like any other fresh product, eggs can develop a strange smell if they have expired. If you notice that an egg is past its expiration date and you want to keep it for later consumption, start by giving it a sniff. Expired eggs often have an unpleasant odor and should not be eaten as they may have lost their vitamins and have an altered taste. If the smell seems normal to you, go ahead and quickly consume the egg by making an omelette, for example.

Your eyes can also help you identify whether an egg is expired or still edible. Take a good look at the shell to avoid any risks. If the shell appears powdery, sticky, cracked, or in any questionable condition, it may indicate the presence of mold. Additionally, if you crack the egg into a bowl and notice any strange 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 old but has not reached its usage limit.

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 place the egg in it. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lies flat, it is still good to eat. If it remains upright, it needs to be consumed quickly. And if it floats to the surface, it is expired. As an egg ages, moisture evaporates through microscopic pores, causing the air pocket inside to expand. That’s why older eggs tend to float. However, it’s important to note that if you plan to eat the 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.

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.

There are some foods that can be consumed after the expiration date stated on the package, such as real honey, salt, sugar, vinegar, canned foods, 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, use your sense of smell, inspect the shell’s appearance, test the eggs with water, and use the mirage technique. And always practice proper food safety and avoid consuming foods that may pose a health risk after the expiration date.