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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.

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