Free Range Eggs

How to Tell if Eggs are Still Good

Are my eggs still good? For a fresh food, eggs have a surprisingly long shelf life; the USDA considers them safe to eat for 45 days after processing. There's also a simple test to determine an egg's relative freshness.

By Nellie's Kindness Crew

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Like all fresh foods, eggs don't last forever. But thanks to their shells, they're rather resilant. Even though the mandated USDA washing and processing of eggs actually reduces their oxygen barrier, and thus shortens their freshness cycle, they still come with a relatively robust time allowance: eggs can be consumed 45 days from the time of processing (which is usually just a few days after being laid).

The best way to know if an egg is still good is to go by the date code on the package that it came in.

However, if you have an egg and you're not sure about that date, another way to test it is to simply place it in a bowl or glass filled with cold water.

The water test for egg freshness

Fill a bowl or glass with about four inches of cold water and gently place your egg(s) inside.

Very fresh eggs will sink to the bottom and lay on their sides. If an egg stays at the bottom but stands on its small end, it's still fine to eat; just not quite as fresh. These "more mature" eggs are no less nutritious than a fresher egg, and most people are unlikely to notice a difference in taste. Two bonuses: 1. They'll peel without sticking to the white when hard boiled and 2. The egg whites are easier to whip into meringue when making desserts.

Any eggs that are too old to eat and should be discarded will simply float to the surface. Once enough oxygen has had time to permeate the shell, it forms an air pocket large enough to keep the egg afloat in water.

Comments

Arlene September 23, 2021

Best description I’ve seen yet! Thx.

Nellie's

We're glad to be of help, Arlene! Thanks for choosing free range in the egg aisle!

John September 17, 2021

Thank you, I'm sixty eight and learned something new

Nellie's

You're welcome, John! We're glad to have helped!

Debby PackSeptember 15, 2021

Thank you so much for this info. A friend from church shares their fresh free range eggs with our congregation. I don't eat them that often, but I when I do I prefer the brown free range eggs.

Nellie's

It sounds like you've got a great standard for your eggs, Debby! Thanks for choosing free range!

Terry BurnetteSeptember 02, 2021

Thank you! I always buy your eggs.

Nellie's

That's great to hear, Terry! Thanks for choosing free range!

Liz SchiavittiAugust 24, 2021

Thank you for this information. Eggs are my favorite food hands down.

Nellie's

You're welcome, Liz! They are ours, too!

John MartineauAugust 18, 2021

Very frustrating. Because you do not give the processing date on the packaging where you talk about counting 45 days from. You only provide a sell by date.

Nellie's

Hey there John, we're sorry to hear you're having trouble with the use by date on your carton. The Julian date (when the eggs were processed) is a 3-digit number near the use by date. We recommend you eat the eggs within 45 days of that date.

Alexis KeterAugust 16, 2021

Thank you! Very useful!

Nellie's

You're very welcome, Alexis!

Lurlyn TuckerAugust 12, 2021

If my eggs stand on end and I boil them, how long will the boiled eggs be edible?

Nellie's

Hi Lurlyn. In general, when an egg is standing on end but not floating, it is still okay to eat but reaching the end of it's freshness. Hard boiled eggs have about a week of use after boiling before they go bad. To err on the side of caution, we recommend that you eat those eggs within a few days.

Rose B KleinAugust 06, 2021

I have eggs that were delivered and left outside my apartment for one hour and twenty minutes. - without a refrigerator. Are they safe to eat?

Nellie's

According to the USDA, eggs should not be left out for more than 2 hours. While you should be all set, we recommend using the cold water test to be sure!

Judy August 01, 2021

This was so helpful 😀 Thank you!! I was blessed with fresh laid 🥚 from my granddaughters layers.

Nellie's

You're welcome! Enjoy those fresh eggs, Judy!

Taz2009 July 27, 2021

We have over 100 layers that we have raised. We utilize and pass on this simple trick to our customers.

Nellie's

It really is a great tip to share with the community!

BeatsJuly 13, 2021

I used two eggs 34 days beyond the date code on the package. They stood on their small end for the test for egg freshness. We ate them.

Nellie's

We're so glad to hear you were able to enjoy our eggs past the date, Beatrice. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Carla CurryMay 15, 2021

Thanks for the freshness test.

Nellie's

You're welcome, glad we could help!

VickieApril 21, 2021

Did not know that about meringue! I make cream pies all the time with meringue topping. Thank you fir that bonus information!

Nellie's

We're happy to help!

PATRiCIA StanekApril 12, 2021

Thank you for the information!

Nellie's

We're so glad that you found this information helpful, Patricia!

Johanna KnickerbockerOctober 03, 2020

I just did your eggg in the water trick and my eggs were fresh. I Love it. I have already shared it with family and they all got a kick out it.

Nellie's

So great to hear this trick is coming in handy for you! Thanks for sharing.

DorisAugust 25, 2020

I was given 11 dozen washed farm raised eggs on July 4th. I put them in a small refrigerator (about 30 inches tall) in my garage. I had checked at about 3 days to see if they had frozen and they were ok, but when I went to pack them to take to my other home they were frozen. They thawed for about 2 hours until I put them in the frig there. I have tried to fry them but they are a bit rubbery (the whites). Must I throw them out. I am so disgusted. Could I refreeze just the yolks?

Nellie's

Hey Doris, We would recommend throwing those eggs out just to err on the side of caution. As always you are welcome to contact us at 1-877-476-6384 if you have any additional comments or concerns.

John NeviusMay 20, 2020

My wife came home from a 12 hour night shift and fried 3 eggs for breakfast about 9am this morning. about 2:30pm she woke up very sick to her stomach, diarrhea, sweating badly, and then threw up. All she had was the eggs and water. I could not see a sell by date or any date stamp on them ? I was in the grocery business for years and was surprised as this is needed for rotating the stock and to warn consumers !

Nellie's

Hi John, we are so sorry to hear this and would like to address this right away. Please give us a call at (877)476-6384 or send an email to [email protected] at your earliest convenience with as many details as you have regarding the eggs as well as any signs and symptoms your wife experience. Thank you for your cooperation. We will look out for this email.

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