How many times have you cracked an egg into a separate bowl of other ingredients, only to wonder if the egg was spoiled? Unfortunately, because the protective opaque shell conceals the condition of the white and yolk, eggs are not the easiest ingredient to determine the freshness of. However, there are a few simple ways to tell if an egg is bad or fresh, and there are numerous things you can do to keep your eggs from spoiling in the first place.
How to tell if eggs are bad?
All egg cartons and trays sold must bear a best before date; this is the simplest and most reliable way to determine whether eggs are safe to eat. The best before date denotes the end of the period during which eggs are safe to consume and is calculated as six weeks from the day the egg is packed into the carton. But what if you didn’t keep your eggs in their original carton? In a nutshell, you should always keep eggs in the carton they came in, in the fridge. Egg shells are porous, and the carton protects the eggs from contamination.
If you don’t have the best before date, it’s sometimes possible to identify a bad egg through a variety of methods. Because consuming a contaminated egg can result in food poisoning, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before you throw out the entire expired carton, here are four quick and easy ways to tell if an egg is bad.
Eggs float or sink test
The best kept secret for determining the freshness of an egg is to see if it sinks in water. To perform the egg water test, simply submerge the eggs in a glass or bowl of cold water. The eggs are still fresh if they sink to the bottom and lay flat on their side. If they sink but remain on one end at the bottom of the glass or bowl, they are no longer as fresh but still edible. Of course, if any eggs float to the surface, they should not be consumed. The science behind this is based on the fact that eggshells are semipermeable, allowing air to pass through. As a result, as the egg ages, more air can penetrate its shell, causing it to float.
Egg shaking test
Shaking eggs is another way to tell if they are bad. However, it is not as dependable as the float trick. You must shake an egg while holding it up to your ear. If you hear liquid swishing around inside, it’s a sign that it’s gone bad. No sound, on the other hand, equals good news. The sloshing sound is usually indicative of an old, watery yolk.
Sniff test for eggs
If the egg fails the smell test, it should be discarded. When cracked, eggs should have a neutral odor rather than a distinct odor like sulphuric, gassy, or sour notes.
Candling is a technique used by egg producers to check the quality of their eggs. It entails using a bright light to inspect eggs for cracking and interior defects. To check large numbers of eggs quickly and efficiently, egg producers typically use automated conveyor belts and mechanical sensors. Candling can, however, be done at home by holding an egg up to a bright light, such as a powerful torch or lamp, in a darkened room. Candling, like the float test, only determines the freshness of the egg. It will not tell you if the egg is still safe to eat. A person should be able to see the air cell inside the egg when they hold it up to the light. The air cell is a small sac or bubble found in the larger end of the egg. The egg is still fresh if the cell is less than one-eighth of an inch deep. The larger the air sac, the older the egg.
Egg whites test
Egg whites test is one of the easiest way to tell if an egg is bad, before its use. Before you make that cheesy scramble, look at the yolk and egg white after they’ve been cracked onto a flat surface. Fresh eggs will have a bright yellow or orange yolk with a slightly stiff egg white that sits up around the yolk. The white of a stale egg will be flatter and more spread out.
What happens if you eat a bad egg?
If you consume a contaminated egg, you are more likely to be exposed to bacteria that can cause food poisoning, such as Salmonella and E. coli. Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting are some of the symptoms of food poisoning. Symptoms typically appear 6 to 48 hours after eating a contaminated egg and can last four to seven days. Most of the time, the symptoms go away on their own.
How to preserve eggs from spoiling?
There are numerous things you can do to keep your eggs as fresh as possible. The following are just a few of the best ways to avoid consuming a bad egg:
- Before purchasing eggs, inspect them inside the carton and avoid eggs with cracks or dirt.
- Keep your eggs refrigerated in the carton they came in to avoid breakage, odor absorption, and water loss.
- Store eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually a middle or lower shelf, rather than in the door, where the temperature fluctuates more.
- Refrigerated eggs can be kept for up to six weeks, but always check the best before date on the carton.
- If your eggs are about to expire, a tasty way to use them is to hard-boil them and stuff them in a jar with brine to make pickled eggs.
- Get the eggs home as soon as possible and avoid leaving them in a hot car.
- Refrigerated eggs should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. The eggs will sweat, creating an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth.
Why do we refrigerate eggs?
If you’ve traveled to other countries, you’ll notice that not all of them keep eggs in the refrigerator — so why should we? The location of where you store your eggs is determined by where they are produced. There was concern about food spoilage and foodborne illness in the early 1970s. As a result, egg producers in the United States began washing and refrigerating their eggs. Other countries, such as Canada, Japan, and Scandinavia, began to follow suit. The European Union, on the other hand, does not wash or refrigerate their eggs. As a result, both at home and in stores, they are kept at room temperature.
When eggs are washed, a thin, protective membrane that prevents Salmonella and other bacteria from penetrating the shell is removed. The argument is that washing the eggs removes the cuticle, necessitating refrigeration to prevent foodborne illness. It is not recommended to wash your eggs before storing or using them at home. The wash water can seep into the egg and contaminate it through the pores in the shell.
When eggs spoil, they begin to stink and the yolk and egg white may become discolored. Cracked or slimy eggshells can also indicate bacterial contamination. Checking the expiration date, visually inspecting the eggshell, and cracking the egg open to smell the inside are all simple ways to determine the freshness of an egg. If a person is unsure to tell if an egg is bad, they should discard it. Salmonella infection, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, is the most serious risk of eating bad eggs. Salmonella can be reduced by keeping eggs refrigerated, discarding eggs with cracked shells, and thoroughly cooking eggs before eating them.