How To Tell if Eggs Are Bad

Eggs are a staple in many kitchens, but some people may not know how to tell if they’re bad. Eggs can be kept for up to six weeks from the date of purchase, provided that they are stored properly and aren’t cracked or damaged.

To help you determine whether your eggs are still good or if it’s time to throw them out, here are simple ways to tell if they are bad.

Sniff the Eggs

If you’re not sure if your eggs are bad, you can sniff them. The smell of an egg can tell you a lot about whether it’s good or not. If there’s no odor at all, then it’s probably still good. But if there is a sulfuric smell or an unpleasant odor, then the egg is rotten, and you should toss it out.

Give the Eggs a Shake

Another way to tell if an egg is bad is by using the shake test. Hold your egg up to your ear and give it a good shake. If you hear a sloshing sound, it’s not good. This means that air has filled up some of the space inside the shell, and there’s no more room for any more liquid. If you don’t hear anything, the egg is safe to eat.

Float Test the Eggs

One of the most common ways to tell if an egg is bad is by using the egg float test. This test is especially effective for determining whether raw eggs are good for boiling.

To do this, place an egg in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and sits horizontally, it’s fresh. If the egg floats on its side or stands up vertically on one end, it’s still old but still good to eat.

However, if your egg floats completely upright at the top of the bowl, it is spoiled and should be discarded immediately.

This method works because fresh eggs have more water in them than older ones. As an egg ages, this water evaporates and is replaced with air, making it lighter.

However, keep in mind that just because an egg floats, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Sometimes the air pocket can be so large that the egg will float even when it’s still fresh.

So just to be sure that the egg is good for eating, you can do the shake test.

Check the Expiration Date

If you’re not sure if your eggs are bad, you should check the expiration date. The sell-by date is usually stamped on the side of the egg carton or printed on a sticker near it.

The sell-by date can be two to three weeks after the pack date. It’s important to note that this is the last day that the eggs should be sold for best quality, not safety. You can still eat them after this date if they’re fresh and properly stored, but they may not be as tasty or nutritious as when fresh.

Examine the Color of the Yolk and White

You can tell if an egg is good or bad by examining the color of the yolk and white. A fresh egg will have a bright yellow or orange yolk. If it has a greenish tinge, that means it’s spoiled and should be discarded. A brownish or grayish color around the yolk also indicates spoilage.

The egg white of a fresh egg is thick, clear, and shiny. If it’s thin and cloudy, that means the egg has gone bad. Also, both the yolk and white should be firm and not watery.

Hold It to the Light

You can also tell if an egg is still good by holding it up to the light. If you notice cracks in the eggshell, or if you can see a clear space between the yolk and white, it’s probably spoiled.

How To Keep Eggs Fresh for Longer

As it is, eggs have a pretty long shelf-life as compared to other foods. However, there are a few ways to keep them fresh for longer, and here is how:

Refrigerate the Eggs

At room temperature, fresh eggs can be stored for up to four weeks. However, if you keep them in the fridge, they will last much longer.

Refrigerated eggs can last up to 5 weeks from the date of purchase. And that is if you have bought the eggs from a supermarket. However, if they are fresh farm eggs, they can be stored for up to three months.

To store your eggs in the fridge, make sure you place them in an egg carton or container. This will ensure that they do not get damaged. Also, remember to keep your eggs away from other foods that produce an odor, such as meat and fish. This is because the odor can penetrate through the shell and into the egg itself.

If you need your eggs to last up to a year, you can store them in a freezer. However, as with any other food, you must be careful when storing your eggs in the freezer. You can do this by separating the yolk from the white and putting them in a container or bag. Make sure that there are no air bubbles inside the container or bag, as they will cause a freezer burn on your eggs.

Alternatively, you can whisk the eggs, place them in an ice tray and freeze them. It’s important to note that egg yolks don’t freeze too well. They tend to become gelatinous when they’re put in the freezer. To avoid this from happening, you can add a small amount of salt or sugar to the egg yolk before freezing it.

Dehydrate the Eggs

The beauty of dehydrating eggs is that you can use them in just about any recipe that calls for powdered eggs. You can use dehydrated eggs to make omelets, scrambled eggs, and sauces. It’s also a great way to add protein to soups and stews.

To dehydrate eggs, you will need a dehydrator. If you don’t have one, you can use an oven. First, whisk your eggs thoroughly to ensure that the whites and yolks are well-mixed. You can also opt to use a blender which is faster.

If you are using an oven to dehydrate the eggs, place them on a flat baking sheet and put them in an oven set to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. If your oven can reach lower temperatures, set it to that temp.

Dehydrate the eggs for around 12 hours or until they are completely dried out. You can check this by crumbling a piece of egg. If it’s brittle and crumbly, it’s ready.

If you are using a dehydrator, place your eggs on the racks and set the dehydrator to a high temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrate them for around 10 to 12 hours or until they are completely dried out. It’s important to mention that dehydrating raw eggs in a dehydrator takes less time than dehydrating cooked eggs.

Once you have your dehydrated eggs, grind them in a food processor or blender into a fine powder. Once they’re ground up, put them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge, cupboard, or freezer.

The good thing about powdered eggs is that they can last for months, if not years. They’re a great way to add protein and fat to your diet when you don’t have access to fresh eggs.

Cure the Eggs

Curing is one of the oldest methods of preserving foods. It’s a process that’s been used for years to preserve meat, fish, and vegetables. Curing involves adding salt and other ingredients to food in order to remove moisture from it. This helps prevent spoiling and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

You can use this method on raw eggs as well. To do so, make a brine by mixing 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Place the eggs in the brine and let them sit for about a week. This will remove moisture from your eggs, which helps prevent spoilage.

After you’ve cured your eggs, dry them off with a towel or paper towels, so they’re no longer wet. Then wrap them individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before storing them in an airtight container or baggie.

Water Glass the Eggs

You can store eggs in a solution of pickling lime and water. Pickling lime is a food-grade product that’s used in the canning industry. You can purchase it from a local grocery store or online.

To make the solution, add one ounce of pickling lime to a quarter gallon of water. Place the eggs in the solution and make sure they’re completely covered with the liquid.

It’s important that you store them this way in a jar or bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Also, this method only works for fresh farm eggs and not store-bought ones.

The reason is that store-bought eggs have been washed, which removes the natural protection that the shell provides against bacterial growth. This is why it’s also important not to wash the eggs before storing them in the solution.

Another point to note is that you should be careful when placing the eggs in the jar or bucket. If an egg breaks, it will mess up the solution, and you’ll have to start over again.

Pickle the Eggs

The process of pickling eggs is fairly easy. You’ll need to hard boil the eggs first, then remove the shells. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to place the eggs in a jar with white vinegar, herbs, or spices for two weeks.

The herbs and spices you can use include coriander, black peppercorns, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and garlic, just to name a few. You can also add caster sugar and salt to sweeten and flavor the eggs.

After two weeks, your pickled eggs will be ready to eat. You can then store them in the fridge for up to four months. If you want to make them last longer, you can freeze them.

Final Thoughts

Eggs are just one of those foods that are super versatile and, quite frankly, one of the most useful ingredients you can have in your kitchen. They’re nutritious and easy to cook, which makes them a great staple food to keep around.

Besides that, eggs can last for a really long time if they are properly preserved and stored. So next time you have eggs on hand, try some of the things we’ve covered in this article. You’ll find yourself with a lot more options for preserving them than you might have thought.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when eggs are bad?

When eggs go bad, there are a few indicators you can look for. Check the expiration date on the carton, and if the eggs are past the date or have an unpleasant smell, those are clear signs they’re not suitable for consumption. You can also crack an egg onto a plate and look for any off-colors or a slimy texture in the whites or yolk.

Is the egg float test accurate?

The egg float test can be a helpful method to check if eggs are bad. Fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg in it. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom, while a bad egg will usually float. This test is not foolproof, but it is an additional tool you can use to determine egg freshness.

Can you eat floating eggs?

If an egg floats during the float test, it’s generally a sign that the egg is no longer fresh and might be going bad. It’s best to avoid eating floating eggs to prevent any food-borne illnesses or unpleasant taste.

What happens if you eat a bad egg cooked?

Eating a bad egg, even if it is cooked, can cause food poisoning. Symptoms typically include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It is essential to make sure your eggs are fresh and safe to eat before consuming them.

How long to boil eggs?

To hard-boil eggs, place them in a pot of cold water and bring it to a rolling boil. Then, reduce the heat and let them simmer for 9-12 minutes. For soft-boiled eggs, follow the same process, but only let them simmer for 4-6 minutes. Once the eggs are done, transfer them to cold water to stop the cooking process and make them easier to peel.

Can you eat stale eggs?

While stale eggs are not ideal for consumption, they are not necessarily harmful if they have not gone bad. If you’re unsure if an egg is stale, using the float test and examining the egg for signs of spoilage should help guide your decision.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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