It’s no secret that products on the supermarket shelves are often less than fresh. They’re still good, but you may not know just how long they’ve been sitting there. This is particularly true with fresh produce and items such as eggs. Unless you’re getting them from the farm, you can’t possibly know how fresh they are. Or can you?
Today, you’ll learn how to check your eggs for freshness so you never have to wonder again.
The very best way to see if your eggs are still fresh without having to break them is to use a bowl of water. You will want a bowl that is at least twice as deep as the egg is tall. Fill it with regular cool water and set it on the counter.
Now place an egg gently in the water. Its position in the water will tell you exactly how fresh it is.
Very Fresh: The egg will lay on its side at the bottom of the bowl, without moving or bobbing about much at all. These eggs are wonderful for making soft boiled eggs or for poaching and frying.
A Week Old: At this point, the egg will lay on the bottom of the bowl, but you’ll notice the wide end lifting slightly. These eggs are still fine to eat and work for nearly every recipe.
3 Weeks Old: Older eggs will often balance on the pointy end and the wide end of the egg will float up. However, the egg should still touch the bottom at the narrow end. These eggs are the best for hard boiled, because the shell peels off quite easily, without pulling chunks of egg with it.
Bad Egg: The egg will float right off the bottom if it is spoiled. These eggs shouldn’t be further tested, but tossed in the rubbish bin (gently) right off. They are likely to be quite rotten and will taste and smell awful if they crack. Eggs may not reach this point for over a month.
Why This Works
When an egg is first laid, it has a tiny air pocket at the wide end of the egg. You may have noticed this when you hard boil an egg and crack it. There is an indent on the wide end, caused by the growing air bubble.
The longer the egg is out of the chicken, the more water is released through the shell, making extra space for the air pocket. This pocket grows and that affects the flotation of the egg when placed in water. While it’s possible for an egg to float and still be good, it’s highly unlikely, especially if it floats atop the water, rather than midway.
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