How Long Do Eggs Last in the Fridge?
The Shelf Life of Fresh Eggs in the Fridge
Eggs are a staple ingredient in many households and can be used in a wide range of dishes. However, it’s important to know how long they can be safely stored in the fridge before they spoil. In general, fresh eggs can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 weeks from the day they were laid.
To ensure maximum freshness and longevity, it’s important to store eggs properly. Keep them in their original carton or a covered container to prevent moisture loss and protect them from absorbing unwanted odors from other foods in the fridge. Avoid storing eggs in the door of the fridge, as this area is subject to temperature fluctuations due to frequent opening and closing.
It’s worth noting that the shelf life of eggs can vary depending on factors such as their age, quality, and how they were stored before reaching the grocery store. For example, eggs that are pasteurized or treated with a special coating to extend their shelf life may last longer than regular eggs.
To be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to check the expiration date on the carton and do a quick freshness test before using any eggs. If an egg looks or smells off, or if the yolk breaks easily when cracked open, it’s best to discard it. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your eggs stay fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.
Tips for Storing Eggs to Extend their Lifespan
Proper storage is key to extending the shelf life of eggs in the fridge. Here are some tips to help keep your eggs fresh for longer:
Keep eggs in their original carton or transfer them to a covered container. This will help prevent moisture loss and protect them from absorbing unwanted odors from other foods in the fridge.
Store eggs in the main body of the fridge, rather than the door. The door is subject to temperature fluctuations due to frequent opening and closing, which can shorten the shelf life of eggs.
Don’t wash eggs before storing them. The natural coating on the shell helps protect against bacteria and other contaminants. If you must wash eggs, do so just before using them.
Use older eggs for hard-boiling or baking. As eggs age, the air pocket inside the shell grows larger, making them easier to peel when boiled. Older eggs are also better for baking, as they tend to be less runny and produce more stable meringues.
Freeze extra eggs. If you have more eggs than you can use before they expire, consider freezing them. To freeze raw eggs, crack them into a freezer-safe container and beat lightly. Label the container with the date and number of eggs, then freeze for up to six months. To freeze cooked eggs, simply scramble or hard-boil them first, then freeze in an airtight container for up to six months.
By following these tips, you can help extend the lifespan of your eggs and reduce food waste.
How to Tell If Your Eggs Are Still Fresh
It’s important to check the freshness of eggs before using them, as consuming spoiled eggs can be dangerous to your health. Here are some ways to tell if your eggs are still fresh:
Check the expiration date on the carton. Most egg cartons have a “sell by” or “use by” date printed on them. If the date has passed, it’s best to discard the eggs.
Do a visual inspection. Crack the egg into a clean, white bowl and examine the yolk and white. A fresh egg will have a firm, rounded yolk and a thick white that doesn’t spread out much. If the yolk is flat and the white is thin and runny, the egg is past its prime.
Smell the egg. A fresh egg will have little to no odor, while a spoiled egg will have a strong, sulfurous smell.
Do a float test. Fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the egg in it. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lays flat on its side, it’s fresh. If it stands upright or floats to the top, it’s old and should be discarded.
By following these simple tests, you can easily determine if your eggs are still fresh and safe to eat. If you have any doubts about an egg’s freshness, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and discard it.
Can You Still Use Expired Eggs?
While it’s best to use eggs before their expiration date, it’s possible to still use them safely if they are only slightly past their prime. Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether or not to use expired eggs:
Do a visual and smell check. Follow the steps outlined in the previous section to check the freshness of the egg. If it passes these tests and doesn’t have an off odor, it’s likely still safe to use.
Use older eggs for baking. As mentioned earlier, older eggs are better for baking as they tend to produce more stable meringues and are less runny than fresh eggs.
Cook the egg thoroughly. If you’re unsure about the freshness of the egg, it’s best to cook it thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be present.
Consider the risk. If you or anyone in your household has a weakened immune system, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard the expired egg.
It’s important to note that eating spoiled eggs can cause food poisoning, which can be serious. If you have any doubts about the freshness of an egg, it’s best to discard it and buy fresh ones.
Other Factors That Affect Egg Shelf Life
While proper storage and handling are the primary factors that affect the shelf life of eggs, there are other factors to consider as well. These include:
Quality of the egg. The quality of the egg can affect its shelf life. Eggs with thick, firm whites and high, round yolks will generally last longer than eggs with thin whites and flat yolks.
How the egg was produced. Eggs from pasture-raised chickens may have a shorter shelf life than those from chickens raised in commercial facilities, as they are more likely to have been exposed to bacteria and other contaminants.
Temperature fluctuations. Eggs that are subjected to frequent temperature changes, such as those left out on the counter or stored in a fridge that is too warm, may spoil more quickly.
Transportation and storage before reaching the grocery store. Eggs that are mishandled during transportation or storage before reaching the grocery store may have a shorter shelf life than those that are properly handled.
By taking these factors into account, you can help ensure that your eggs stay fresh for as long as possible. It’s always a good idea to buy eggs from a reputable source and handle them with care to reduce the risk of spoilage.