How many times have you cracked an egg into a bowl of other ingredients, only to question whether the egg has gone bad or not? Unfortunately, eggs are not the easiest ingredient to determine the freshness of as the protective opaque shell hides the condition of the white and yolk.
But there are a few easy ways to tell if an egg is fresh and there are plenty of things you can do to prevent your eggs from going bad in the first place.
In this article, let’s go over some tips that will help you know if an egg is still good to eat or if it’s expired.
In France, there are nearly 10 million tonnes of food that end up in the trash every year.
People often prefer to throw away food when the expiration date has passed.
Although in France, the number of eggs that end up being wasted remains unknown, the British media The Guardian, which cites the work of the anti-waste community Too good to go, reports that in the United Kingdom, there are 720 millions of eggs that end up in the trash every year.
The main reason for this waste is the fact that 77% of Brits struggle to know if an egg is fresh after it has passed its use-by date.
Do you want to prepare a brunch but you don’t know how long your eggs have been in the fridge? Do not panic. There are ways to know if they are consumable or not:
1. Check expiration dates
The eggs you buy at the supermarket all have a recommended use-by date which is indicated on their packaging.
In addition, French regulations require the distributor to no longer sell eggs 7 days before the minimum durability date (Ddm) written on the packaging, as explained on the Femme Actuelle website.
But if you stock up on eggs from the henhouse, the recommended use-by date is not indicated. Therefore, you should know that the use-by date (Dlc) is a maximum of 28 days after the day of laying.
However, eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for one month past the recommended use-by date, which is 58 days after the day they were laid, if the shells are not cracked or broken. Storing food in optimal conditions helps maintain its freshness, avoid mold and actively fight against food waste.
Compliance with the cold chain and deadlines is necessary to avoid pathogenic organisms that pose a health risk. Thus, putting eggs in the refrigerator helps preserve their taste and nutritional qualities and prevents the growth of bacteria.
However, you should definitely not wash eggs that are not going to be eaten immediately, as this risks causing them to lose the protective film that the hen leaves on them. But if the dates are not on the packaging, it is necessary to find other ways to find out if they are expired.
2. Smell the egg
Like fresh products such as cheeses, desserts, crème fraîche, or even yogurts, eggs can have a suspicious smell once the deadline has passed.
So, if you notice that the egg is past the expiration date and you want to keep the product for later consumption, start by smelling it.
Expired food often has an unpleasant odor and should not be eaten. They may have lost their vitamins and have an altered taste.
In addition, perishable food products have a limited shelf life and can be dangerous for your health if the expiration dates are not respected. Expired eggs, whether cooked or raw, may give off a distinctive odor.
If you can’t decipher the label and the smell isn’t enough to tell you something, you can crack the egg into a bowl or salad bowl and smell it, says registered dietitian Taylor Jones. And if the smell puts you off, throw the egg away and wash the container with hot water.
If the smell seems normal to you, you should consume the egg quickly by preparing an omelette for example.
3. Check the appearance of the shell
Your eyes can also help you identify whether an egg is expired or edible.
Before consuming a product, it is best to visually inspect it to avoid any risk. According to the specialist, it is necessary to check whether the shell is not powdery, viscous or cracked.
Any questionable appearance may reveal the presence of mold. Additionally, if the shell is dry and appears to be in good condition, crack the egg into a bowl and identify any suspicious discoloration.
Typically it is a blue, pink, black or green color in the egg white or yolk. In fact, it can reveal the growth of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
As confirmed by Dr. Julia Roux, gastroenterologist, salmonella are bacteria that can be found in eggs and preparations made from raw or undercooked eggs, as well as in dairy products.
These germs can cause salmonellosis, an intoxication which causes symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting and even abdominal pain.
Additionally, if the egg yolk or white is leaking, this may indicate that the egg is aged but may not have reached its usage limit.
4. Dip the egg in water
According to LCI, another technique can be effective in determining whether the egg is still edible.
To do this, you must immerse the egg in a saucepan or salad bowl filled with water. If it sinks to the bottom of the container, it is still good for consumption.
But if it remains erect, that means it needs to be eaten quickly. If it rises to the surface, it is expired.
In fact, the older the egg gets, the more moisture evaporates through microscopic pores and the air pocket gets bigger. Therefore, the older the egg is, the more it floats.
However, if you want to consume eggs immediately, do not repeat this experiment.
This dip can cause loss of the cuticle on the shell. However, the latter protects the egg from bacteria such as salmonella.
5. Use the mirage technique
Candling is a technique for assessing egg quality or chick development in a fertilized egg.
Generally, this technique is carried out in the industrial environment using specialized equipment allowing table eggs to be classified before labeling and packaging them.
But you can still do the method at home, if you want. To do this, you need a cool place with little light.
Have a light source like a candle or a small flashlight. Hold the light source towards the end of the egg then tilt the egg and turn it from left to right. The contents of the egg should be visible.
This technique allows you to see if the air bubble is small or large. As the egg ages, the water evaporates and is replaced by gases. Thus, the larger the air pocket becomes, the more the egg is aged.
Can we eat food after its expiration date?
Some foods can be consumed several days after the expiration date stated on the package. However, a person who consumes raw fish, eggs or even expired meat takes health risks.
Although we are all against food waste, it is necessary to carefully check the packaging of the products we buy in supermarkets to ensure that their consumption is safe. In fact, passing the expiration date of a perishable product exposes you to various illnesses.
Here is a list of foods that can be consumed after the expiration date, relayed by our colleagues at Femme Actuelle:
Foods that never expire:
Certain foods like real honey which has many health benefits, salt, sugar or even vinegar never expire and can be kept forever.
Foods that do not expire, except in certain cases:
Cans, rice, pasta, cornstarch, flour, cereals or even dried vegetables can remain intact well after the marked expiration date on the packaging. However, these products can be infested with food moths and undergo spoilage.
Foods that can be consumed after the expiration date
Mustard, ketchup, pickles or even spices can be stored and consumed well after the expiration date. In reality, the expiration dates of these foods may have passed. However, their taste can change over time.
Other foods that can be consumed after the expiration date include dairy products such as crème fraîche, cheese, milk and yogurt. These, if unopened, can be consumed one to two weeks after the date mentioned.
To know if they are good, check the packaging. If it has swollen, potentially dangerous bacteria has developed and it is best to throw the products away. In addition, a pungent, acidic smell may indicate that they have gone bad.
Furthermore, frozen products can be consumed after the date mentioned on the packaging, if the cold chain has been respected. If stored properly, raw fish can be kept for 6 to 9 months past the expiration date. For poultry and fruits and vegetables, the period extends to one year. However, frozen meals keep less well than packaged products.
Foods you should definitely not eat after the expiration date
Bacteria are more likely to reside in particular foods. This is the case for vacuum-packed raw meats, eggs and fish as well as cold meats.
Therefore, to protect your health and avoid a potential food infection, you must scrupulously trust the expiration date mentioned in these foods.
Additionally, if the packaging swells, this may indicate that bacteria such as salmonella, listeria or escherichia coli are proliferating in the food. Additionally, if you open these bacteria-contaminated products, you will observe a gelatinous appearance and notice an off-putting odor.
Furthermore, fresh fruit juices can contain bacteria if you do not respect the expiration date, as can raw milk cheeses. And for good reason, fresh cheeses are vulnerable to bacteria and it is necessary to pay attention to any suspicious color and odor.
Finally, salads sold in bags may contain bacteria. In this sense, it is essential to respect the expiration date displayed on the packaging.