How long do eggs stay good for?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How long do eggs stay good for?” and will discuss how to store eggs properly.

How long do eggs stay good for?

Fresh eggs may be stored in the refrigerator for up to six weeks, but always check the use-by date on the box. Eggs should be stored in the refrigerator as soon as they arrive at your house.

When eggs are stored properly, they seldom go bad

When purchased outside of the United States, eggs must be kept refrigerated, since they are not allowed to be sent without refrigeration in any of these nations. As a result of the quick washing and sanitizing of eggs in these nations to avoid Salmonella infection, which is often responsible for food poisoning from chicken products, this is the case.

Even though washing an egg removes microorganisms, it may also destroy the egg’s natural cuticle. Bacteria may be able to more easily penetrate the shell and infect the egg as a result. When germs build-up within an egg, it “goes bad,” or starts to decompose. To discourage germs from invading an egg’s shell, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator (below 40°F/4°C). 

The number and structure of the natural pores in the shell are factors which affect microbial penetration and loss of carbon dioxide and water. Eggs without a cuticle, or with a damaged cuticle, are not as resistant to water loss, water penetration, and microbial entry and growth as those retaining this outer proteinaceous covering. The cuticle is a waxy deposit on the shell surface which seals the pores against microbial penetration and minimizes moisture loss. The brushing of the eggs during washing may remove at least a portion of the cuticle (1).

Due to its ability to keep germs under control in conjunction with an egg’s natural protective shell and enzymes, refrigeration-kept eggs seldom go bad as long as they are handled and stored correctly.

However, the quality of an egg decreases with time. This implies that the yolk and whites of an egg get thinner and less bouncy as the air pocket becomes bigger. There is a chance that it will eventually dry out and not go rotten.

However, despite these modifications, eggs may continue to be safe for consumption for some years to come. Eggs, on the other hand, won’t last forever, and you’ll eventually have to toss them out. When a long storage period is needed for eggs, they should be held slightly above 27°P (-2.8°C), the freezing point of the egg (1).

How Long Do Eggs Stay Fresh After They’ve Been Hatched?

Egg deterioration refers to rotten eggs caused by decomposition of egg contents by microorganisms such as bacteria and molds in appropriate temperature and humidity conditions. Liquid in eggs laid by healthy poultry is sterile. Membrane over eggshells and albumen membrane close the stomata to prevent microorganism invasion. But, these defense systems are temporary and vulnerable to microbial reproduction and destruction, resulting in complex physical and chemical changes in eggs, including protein spoilage, fat rancidity and sugar decomposition (2).

Eggs may be preserved in the refrigerator for weeks or even months if they have been delivered and stored correctly. The FDA mandates that all eggs be kept below 45°F (7°C) from the moment they are washed until purchase, but correct handling and storage of eggs after purchase is just as critical.

To prevent the growth of germs in the shell, you should refrigerate eggs as soon as possible to avoid condensation. Eggs are best kept at the back of the fridge in their original carton. That way, they won’t collect any scents or be subjected to temperature changes when you open or shut the refrigerator door.

Use a thermometer to make sure your fridge isn’t above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. A freezer-safe container may be used if you wish to store them longer than the suggested 4–5 weeks in the fridge.

Quality begins to deteriorate at a certain point when eggs are kept in the freezer permanently. Keep your freezer at a temperature of 0°F (-18°C). Within one week after thawing in the refrigerator, remove them from the container and eat them.

You may store eggs at room temperature for up to 1–3 weeks if you reside outside the United States in a nation where chickens are not vaccinated against Salmonella and eggs are not cleaned and refrigerated.

The quality of the eggs will begin to deteriorate after approximately a week at room temperature. As a result of this, an egg will lose its inherent defenses within 21 days after hatching. After this point, eggs may be stored in the fridge or freezer to prolong their shelf life, but they will not last as long as eggs that have been kept in the fridge from purchase.

Do not leave eggs out at room temperature for longer than two hours if you reside in the US or another nation that requires eggs to be refrigerated.

How to tell if eggs are fresh or not?

To determine whether or not your eggs are still edible after some time in the refrigerator, there are numerous methods available. Start by looking at the best-by or expiry date that’s been printed on the package’s carton. As long as the current date falls within this range, you don’t need to be concerned.

Alternatively, you may check the expiration date on the packaging. The date the eggs were cleaned and packed will be printed as a three-digit number. On January 1, for example, the number 001. It’s OK to eat the eggs if they’re fewer than 30 days old from the pack date.

Your eggs, on the other hand, may remain safe to eat for many weeks after these dates have passed. To determine whether an egg has gone rotten, you may just take a whiff of it. You can only detect whether an egg is fresh using procedures like the float test or candling, but not if it has gone rotten.

In an egg, water evaporates and albumen becomes thinner during storage, so specific gravity of an egg decreases gradually, which can be measured to get freshness. It is determined by salt water floatation method: 68 g NaCl is added into 1000 ml water, which is determined as level 0. Adding 1 grade, another 4 g NaCl is added, totaling 9 grades. Starting from Grade 0, an egg is put into the brine step by step, and the least brine specific gravity of a drifted egg is freshness level; a fresh egg is classified as above Grade 3 (2).

Make sure the shell doesn’t have any cracks or seem powdery or slimy before doing the smell test. If that’s the case, trash it. Using a clean white dish and a cracker, break the egg open. Make sure there are no blemishes or strange odors.

There is a distinct smell that comes from a rotten egg. If the egg seems normal and there is no odor, it is safe to eat. It’s crucial to realize that Salmonella-tainted eggs may seem and smell quite normal, even though they might cause illness.

To ensure that any germs contained in the eggs are killed, they should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Older eggs may be used in a variety of ways

It’s important to know what to do if your eggs are a little older but haven’t gone bad. Fresh eggs, on the other hand, may be used for a variety of different purposes.

Eggs that have been boiled for a long period are best. It becomes simpler to peel an egg as it matures and its air pocket becomes bigger. Hard-boiled eggs, devilled eggs, and egg salad may all be made using older eggs.

Scrambled eggs, omelets, casseroles, and quiches may all be made using older eggs. But fresh eggs should be used for making fried eggs and poached eggs.

There is a direct correlation between how long an egg remains in a refrigerator and how runny its yolk and whites become. You can get runny eggs if you use eggs that are more than a few days old in your cooking.

An aged egg, on the other hand, may not perform as well as a leavening agent when used in baking. Older eggs, on the other hand, may be used for just about anything. A quick smell test can tell you exactly how long an egg has been sitting in the fridge. If you’re not sure, break it open.

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

How long past the expiration date are eggs good?

Is egg vegetarian in Hinduism?

Can vegetarians eat eggs?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How long do eggs stay good for?” and discussed how to store eggs properly.

References

  1. Zeidler, G. 2002. Shell Egg Quality and Preservation. In: Bell, D.D., Weaver, W.D. (eds) Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production. Springer, Boston, MA.
  2. Qi, L., Zhao, Mc., Li, Z. et al. Non-destructive testing technology for raw eggs freshness: a review. SN Appl. Sci., 2020, 2, 1113.