How long can unrefrigerated eggs last?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can unrefrigerated eggs last?”, and how to make them last longer in the fridge?

This article also includes a brief guide on how to test the freshness of raw eggs.

How long can unrefrigerated eggs last?

Unrefrigerated eggs last 1-3 weeks at room temperature if stored correctly. Eggs are considered perishable items and should be handled with caution.

In countries like the United States, Australia, Netherlands or Japan, etc, eggs are immediately washed and sterilized right after they are laid. 

This prevents contamination but also destroys the outer thin waxy layer 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.

Why do eggs go bad?

Eggs go bad due to bacteria or fungal invasion. The most infamous bacteria that spoils eggs is Salmonella. 

Refrigeration prevents the growth of bacteria. It is recommended to heat food to an internal temperature of 71 degrees celsius to kill salmonella and avoid food poisoning.

How to check If the eggs are fresh or not?

To distinguish fresh and old eggs, two very famous methods are as follows.

Float test

This is the simplest way to identify fresh eggs. For this test, carefully place an egg in a bowl filled with water. If the egg jumps to the surface and starts to float, it is old. If the egg settles down at the bottom, it is fresh.

The science behind it is after an egg is laid, its temperature drops during which an air cell forms inside of it at the larger end. 

This space grows larger due to constant evaporation. Therefore an older egg with a larger air pocket floats over water.

Egg candling

Egg candling is performed using a candling lamp to check the stage of chick development inside a fertilized egg. It can also be used to check the freshness of an egg.

A bright light source is used to see through an egg from its broader side. If it looks empty or you feel the egg contents movings inside because of larger air space, the egg is old.

How to store eggs safely?

  • Keep eggs in a cool dark place in the pantry.
  • Always refrigerate washed eggs.
  • Keep track of the expiration dates.

Can eggs be frozen?

Freezing eggs is not recommended. Freezing temperatures considerably damage the quality of an egg. If an egg is frozen intact, the egg and yolk will start to take up more space when they freeze, consequently, breaking the eggshell. In addition to this, the yolk inside it will stiffen and look as if it has been boiled. 

The egg white will not be able to serve the purpose of aeration in your baked goods because of textural loss 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.

How to identify rotten eggs?

  1. Rotten eggs give off a foul smell. 
  1. If the eggshell appears sticky and dusty, discard your egg because it indicates bacterial and fungal contamination respectively.
  1. If there are cracks on the eggshell, the chances of bacterial contamination are high. It is better to toss it in the bin.

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.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “How long can unrefrigerated eggs last?”, and how to make them last longer in the fridge?

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-long-do-eggs-last#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6
https://www.getcracking.ca/article/can-you-freeze-eggs#:~:text=You%20can%20freeze%20a%20raw,causing%20the%20shell%20to%20crack.&text=Another%20change%20that%20occurs%20when,the%20texture%20of%20the%20yolk.

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.