How to See if the Eggs You're Buying Are Fresh

Eggs can be part of a healthy diet. However, they are perishable just like raw meat, poultry, and fish. To be safe, they must be properly refrigerated and cooked.

Steps

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    Look at the side or the end of the carton to find the stamped date and buy the latest date. Check the eggs by opening the carton. If some are broken, do not buy the carton.
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    Take eggs straight home and store them immediately in the refrigerator set at 40 °F (4 °C) or slightly below. Store them in the grocery carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator and not in the door.
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    Watch for eggs that cracked on the way home from the store. Break them into a clean container, cover tightly, and keep refrigerated for use within 2 days.
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    Use raw shell eggs within 3 to 5 weeks. Hard-cooked eggs will keep refrigerated for 1 week. Use leftover yolks and whites within 4 days. Don't keep eggs, including Easter eggs out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours.
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    Egg mixtures are safe if they reach 160 °F (71 °C), so homemade ice cream and eggnog can be made safely from a cooked base. Heat the egg-milk mixture gently. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature or use a metal spoon (the mixture should coat the spoon). If in-shell pasteurized eggs are available, they can be used safely in recipes that won’t be cooked.
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    Choose Grade A or AA eggs with clean, uncracked shells. AA eggs have a higher quality and longer shelf life. Make sure they've been refrigerated in the store. Any bacteria present in an egg can multiply quickly at room temperature.
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    Serve cooked eggs and dishes containing eggs immediately after cooking, or place in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerate at once for later use. Use within 3 to 4 days. Cook egg dishes such as quiche and casseroles to 160 °F (71 °C) as measured with a food thermometer.
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    To check for freshness of raw eggs at home, place the questionable egg in a pot of cold water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lays down, it is fresh. If it sinks and stands up on the bottom of the pan, it is not very fresh, but still safe to eat. If the egg floats on the surface, it should be thrown out.
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    A fresh egg out of its shell will have a thick white that doesn't spread out too much, and a yolk that is firm and holds its shape.

Tips

  • Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. To freeze whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together. Egg whites can be frozen by themselves and used within a year.
  • Don't wash eggs. At the plant, government regulations require that USDA-graded eggs be carefully washed and sanitized using special detergent. Then the eggs are coated with a tasteless, natural mineral oil to protect them.
  • Many cooking methods can be used to cook eggs safely including poaching, hard cooking, scrambling, frying, and baking. However, eggs must be cooked thoroughly until yolks are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 °F (71 °C) as measured with a food thermometer.

Warnings

  • Don't eat raw eggs which includes 'health food' milk shakes with raw eggs, Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, or eggnog made from recipes in which the raw egg ingredients are not cooked. (Unless you're in Japan, where it's common to eat raw eggs over rice, ramen, and other foods.)
  • When bringing eggs to a picnic or the beach, make sure you eat them first. Do not leave them standing in the sun and heat.

Article Info

Categories: Food Selection and Storage