If you’re anything like me, you’ll regularly buy a 12-pack of eggs with the intention of keeping that breakfast scramble streak going – only to get bored of the breakfast and circle back to an out-of-date pack weeks later.
There might not necessarily be any need to panic if you share my more chaotic cooking habit. After all, some eggs will last for longer than the sell-by date – ”Conservative guidelines say that eggs retain their peak quality three to five weeks beyond their sell-by date when kept raw, in their unwashed shells, and stored properly—meaning in a chilled location but not in your refrigerator door,” shared Reader’s Digest.
Still, anyone who’s accidentally cracked open a gone-off egg will know that it’s worth giving eggs a little test before opening them. Common methods of checking for freshness include dunking the produce into water to see whether the eggs stay sunk or float, and a classic sniff test.
While both are effective systems, it turns out that there’s another way to see if your egg is fresh or not without having to either whip out a mixing bowl or stinking up your kitchen – just by listening to what’s in the shell.
Here’s how to run the low-hassle test, why it works, and other methods to check for fresh eggs:
If you hear an egg “slosh” when you shake it near your ear, it’s probably off
When eggs get old, the liquid content loses shape and volume, leading the air pocket in the shell to become bigger. By sloshing the egg near your ear, you’ll be able to hear whether or not your fry-up plans are doomed.
“As eggs age, yolks absorb moisture from the white, causing the yolk to lose shape. As moisture from the white evaporates, the air pocket enlarges and the opaque cord-like chalazae holding the insides in place weakens,” Epicurious shared.
Some older eggs might still be suitable for scrambling or baking, but if you want to be on the safe side (which I, for one, definitely do), it’s wise to leave sloshing eggs alone.
Any other egg tests?
Yes – lots! Some other ways to check your eggs include:
– Filling a bowl of water with enough cold water to cover the egg – if it floats, it’s older, and that air pocket we were talking about earlier has grown bigger. If it stays sunk, it’s good to go;
– Hold a torch, phone flashlight, or other bright light to the shell of the egg. This is called “candling” and should show you if the inside of the egg has shrunk or not;
– Look at the shell. Powdery eggshells could indicate mould, while slimy shells could indicate bacterial contamination. Cracked shells mean the egg could have been exposed to bacteria;
– Opening the egg and smelling it. Look, this one can be pretty unpleasant, but you can’t say it isn’t effective.
It’s important to note that egg freshness and egg safety are two different things. A fresh egg might still contain bacteria, though this is a lot less likely to happen if you put your eggs in the fridge. For freshness checks alone, though, hear those huevos out, my friend – they could be telling you eggstremely important info.