Shoppers have seen egg prices spike lately, and with everyone looking to make the most of their hard-earned cash, there are a few simple rules and tricks you should know to prevent the staple from being prematurely discarded or wasted .
Most egg cartons sold in stores are stamped with a “best before” or “best before” date to allow stores to control and rotate inventory. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that the “expiry date” printed on them is there so consumers know how long eggs will last at their highest quality and best flavor if stored under ideal conditions.
Consumption data shows buyers how long they need to use the eggs before their overall quality begins to decline. According to the USDA, the use-by date “must not exceed 45 days including the day the eggs were packed in the carton.”
In many cases, however, eggs are still safe to eat after this date if they are not spoiled.
According to The American Egg Board, eggs can have a shelf life of up to five weeks after packaging if stored in proper refrigerator conditions.
Egg-cellent Tips on how to safely eat, cook and store eggs
Here are some Class A tips from the USDA to keep in mind when you need to know if you still have a good egg.
How to properly store store-bought eggs
Store-bought eggs should be brought straight home and immediately refrigerated at 40 degrees or colder, the USDA advises. “Keep them in their carton and put them in the coldest part of the fridge, not in the door.”
Typically, the coldest part of the refrigerator is on the lower shelves and toward the rear of the unit.
Due to the risk of bacterial growth and salmonella, do not leave store-bought eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Any bacteria present in an egg can multiply rapidly at room temperature, according to the USDA. When a cold egg sweats at room temperature, bacteria can enter the egg and spread more easily.
How long do eggs keep after breaking them?
Because bacteria can enter eggs through cracks in the shell, the USDA recommends never buying a cracked egg.
“If eggs break on the way home from the store, break them into a clean container, cover tightly, refrigerate and use within two days,” the agency explains. “If eggs crack during hard cooking, they’re safe. Remember, all eggs should be thoroughly cooked.”
How to use water to test if eggs are still fresh
Despite a “best before” or “packed by” date — or if you have a few extra eggs from the carton in the fridge and don’t remember when they got there — this sink or float test is a good basis for determining if a egg is still fresh.
First, fill a bowl with enough cold water to cover the egg and carefully lower the egg into it.
If it sinks to the bottom and stays on its side, the egg is very fresh, according to The Spruce Eats, which regularly reviews common kitchen and cooking tricks like this one.
An egg that sinks to the bottom but floats at an angle or upright is slightly older but still safe to eat.
Eggs that are fully floating should be discarded because they’re too old to safely consume, notes The Spruce Eats.
As eggs age, the shell becomes more porous, allowing more air to pass through and creating a larger air pocket between the egg membrane and the shell. This little air sac, once big enough, makes the egg levitate.
How long do you have to safely eat boiled eggs?
Boiled eggs and dishes containing eggs should be eaten immediately after cooking. They can also be stored in a shallow container for quick chilling and then refrigerated for later use within three to four days.
Regarding hard-boiled eggs, the USDA states that the protective coating of the shell, or “bloom,” produced by a hen when she lays an egg, is washed away, “exposing the pores in the shell for bacteria to enter.” can and contaminate.”
For this reason, the USDA recommends that hard-boiled eggs be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and used within a week.
How Long Do Farmers Market Eggs Stay Fresh?
Since farms and farmers are not bound by the same USDA washing requirements, these eggs are often sold unrefrigerated and protected by their bloom.
According to The Happy Chicken Coop — an online publication and “group of chicken lovers from around the world who have been raising chickens in their backyards for decades” — fresh farm eggs can be kept unrefrigerated for up to a month, but after that, refrigerating should be good stored where they will keep for up to six months.
Freeze raw eggs for later use
Yes, you can freeze eggs, just not in their shell because they will expand and break. So knowing you’re not going to use up an entire carton before the sell-by date is a great way to reduce food waste.
According to The American Egg Board, there’s an easy way to freeze eggs.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, beating gently until the whites and yolks have combined (not so much that air is introduced), and pour the eggs into an ice cube tray to freeze in individual batches. A cube is roughly half an egg. Once the cubes are frozen solid, remove from the tray and place in a freezer-friendly, airtight plastic bag.
Head chef Jürgen David, master confectioner R&D of the Institute of Culinary Education told Good Morning America that he suggests separating the whites from the yolks first, “because many pastry applications call for only the yolk or an unequal amount of the yolk and white.”
Gently beat the yolks until they form a liquid and freeze and store as directed in the first method. One cube equals two egg yolks.
For the whites, pour straight into an ice cube tray, then freeze and store appropriately.
Frozen eggs keep best for two to three months, but can last up to a year in the freezer.
If you plan to use the frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under cold running water and use as intended.