This article will answer the question “How long can uncooked eggs be left out?” and how to store eggs?
How long can uncooked eggs be left out?
An uncooked egg can be left out safely on the counter for 1-3 weeks. Eggs are considered perishable items and should be handled with utmost care.
In countries like the United States, Australia, Netherlands or Japan, etc, eggs are immediately washed and scrubbed to sterilize right after they are laid.
This prevents contamination but also destroys the outer cuticle of eggs that serves to protect them against bacterial invasion. In such countries, eggs must be refrigerated.
The shelf-life of eggs
Fresh eggs will preserve their freshness for 4-5 weeks in the refrigerator and If you want to keep them longer, you can boil them.
Boiled eggs will retain their quality for almost 1 week in the refrigerator and less than 2 hours in the pantry.
The shelf-life of raw egg yolk and raw egg white is less than 2 hours in the pantry and 2-4 days at the refrigeration temperatures.
How to identify rotten eggs?
- Rotten eggs give off a foul smell.
- If the eggshell appears sticky and dusty, discard your egg because it indicates bacterial and fungal contamination respectively.
- If there are cracks on the eggshell, the chances of bacterial contamination are high. It is better to toss it in the bin.
Can out-of-date eggs make you sick?
No, out-of-date eggs won’t make you sick unless they are spoiled or cracked. If the eggs were stored correctly in the fridge at a steady temperature, they can easily be used up to 1-2 weeks past their expiry.
Before consuming out-of-date eggs, inspect the eggs visually. If the eggshell has cracks or a sticky feel, they are bad and unsafe for consumption. Read on If you want to know how to inspect your expired eggs.
Risks of eating a bad egg
Eating a bad egg will lead to food poisoning due to salmonella. Poultry and meat products are highly susceptible to spoilage by Salmonella. It multiplies within the egg and can also grow on the shell.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach pain. Symptoms appear 6–48 hours after the consumption of a contaminated egg and will be gone in 5-7 days. The following individuals experience severe symptoms due to low immunity.
- The elderly people (above 65 years of age)
- Young children (below the age of 5)
- People with compromised immunity such as those who have had an organ transplant or suffering from HIV
To avoid the risk of salmonella, the following precautionary measures should be taken.
- Wash any surface or your hands after they have come into direct contact with eggs
- Do not use expired eggs
- Cook the eggs to a safe internal temperature or until the yolk and white is firm
- Use pasteurized eggs for recipes that involve raw or lightly cooked eggs
What is the egg bloom and why is it important?
Egg bloom is the cuticle of an egg. It contains proteins, lipids, phosphorus, and polysaccharides and is the last defense of an egg. A bare egg without a cuticle will go bad quickly.
In countries where the egg is washed, a thin oil layer is applied to serve the same purpose as a cuticle. While in other countries, hens are vaccinated against salmonella.
How to store eggs safely?
- Keep eggs in a cool and dark place in the pantry. Do not expose to direct sunlight or moisture.
- Keep washed eggs in the refrigerator at 4°C or below.
- Keep an eye on the expiration dates. Do not use eggs past the expiry.
Is freezing eggs a good choice?
Freezing eggs is not recommended. Freezing temperatures damage the quality of an egg to large extents. If an egg is frozen intact, the egg and yolk will expand upon freezing, thus, breaking the eggshell.
Moreover, the yolk inside it will solidify and look as if it has been boiled. The egg white will not be able to incorporate air in your baked goods as it will lose its texture as a result of protein denaturation.
So If you do not want to waste your money by freezing eggs then whisk it properly, put the mixture in a freezer bag, and store it for up to 4 months.
If you wish to store your raw egg white and yolk separately, you can save their quality by whisking your egg white or yolk with sugar, salt, or corn syrup depending on their end-use.
This article answered the question “How long can uncooked eggs be left out?” and how to store eggs?