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Tell If Your Eggs Are Bad

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One of the easiest ways to tell if your eggs are still fresh is to look at the expiration date. Of course, as I already mentioned, this won’t work if you have your own laying chickens producing eggs for you.

It’s probably best, anyway, as expiration and sell-by dates aren’t necessarily set in stone. These are really just guidelines for you to follow. Here are some good tips on how to collect your eggs, which can significantly prolong their shelf life.

In general, a farm-fresh egg is going to last a lot longer than one you purchased at the grocery store. Not only have the eggs not been shipped hundreds of miles to get to your grocery store shelves, but the eggs you’re getting at home are also more likely to be laid by healthy, ethically raised hens.

An egg will last about five weeks in the refrigerator before going bad. While you can certainly eat an egg after this point and not suffer any ill effects, you are going to notice a significant decline in quality after this point. 

What Happens if You Eat a Bad Egg?

Most of the time, egg expiry estimates are based on flavor and quality, not necessarily safety. Usually, you are going to notice a serious decline in flavor and texture before you run the risk of suffering any health problems. 

In other words, an egg is going to look so unappealing to eat that you probably aren’t going to eat enough of it in order to cause any health problems.

However, there are some health issues that might arise from eating bad eggs. When the eggs start to spoil, the yolk and white might become discolored and you run the risk of contracting a Salmonella infection

This can cause various symptoms like fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms will usually appear within 12 to 72 hours of ingesting the eggs, but again, you’re going to notice that the eggs were rotten before you ate them – meaning that getting sick is highly unlikely to happen in the first place.  

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Luckily, there are a few easy ways to tell that your eggs have passed their peak date of freshness. Here’s what you need to know. 

How to Tell if Eggs are Bad After Cracking

One of the easiest ways to tell if your eggs are fresh is to crack them into a pan or bowl. Take a close look at the egg to figure out whether it’s fresh. 

There are some pretty obvious signs that an egg has gone by its expiration date. You will want to avoid eating eggs that have cracks, as this makes it more likely that Salmonella bacteria has entered the egg itself. 

A fresh egg will have a bright orange yolk along with thick, cloudy whites. Old eggs won’t stay together in a uniform fashion when you crack them in a pan – instead, they’ll spread way out. They might look thin and watery. The yolk is also more likely to break. 

A rotten egg also has a telltale, signature smell. You‘ll notice a strong sulfur smell in particular. This is because, as the egg ages and breaks down, it produces hydrogen sulfide gas. If you detect this smell, toss your eggs. 

How to Tell if Uncracked Eggs are Bad 

If you want to figure out whether your eggs are fresh without cracking them open, there are luckily several ways you can do this. 

One of the easiest ways is to do the egg float test. Some people believe the egg float test to be a myth – while you shouldn’t bet your life on this test, it’s a good way to get a general idea of whether your eggs have gone bad.

To do this, place the egg in a glass of water. A fresh egg will sink, while a bad egg will float. This has to do with the distribution of gasses in the egg that builds up as it ages. 

Another way to tell if your eggs are fresh is to candle them. This is a helpful strategy if you aren’t planning on eating your eggs but instead want to incubate them. Candling eggs is simple – all you need is a bright source of light in the darkroom. 

Simply hold the light up to the large end of the egg. Tilt the egg, turning it left to right. You’ll be able to see the size of the air cell in the egg.

The fresher the egg is, the thinner the air cell will be. It will tell you how fresh the egg is but may not give you a good idea of whether it’s spoiled or not – you would need to crack the egg to get a good idea of spoilage. 

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