bad eggs

bad eggs

Do you know that? You’re in the middle of baking or cooking and suddenly you realize that your eggs are already past the use-by date. Or maybe you have a packet of eggs that don’t have an expiration date on them and you’re not sure if you shouldn’t throw them away. Luckily, spoiled eggs are relatively easy to identify. This article will show you how to tell spoiled eggs from good ones and give you some tricks for determining their freshness.

Test the freshness of the eggs

Place the egg in question in a bowl or tall glass of cold water and see if it floats.

Each egg has a small air pocket inside. As the shell becomes more porous over time, more and more air gets inside the egg. The more air gets into the egg, the larger this air pocket becomes and the better the egg floats. When the egg is lying on its side at the bottom of the bowl, it is at the peak of its freshness. If the egg is standing on one end but still touching the bottom, it is a little past its peak but is still safe to eat. If the egg floats, it is no longer fresh. This does not automatically mean that it has spoiled and can no longer be eaten. In this case, you should crack the egg open and look for (or smell) any signs that it’s spoiled.

Hold the egg to your ear and shake it, listening for a sloshing sound.

An egg loses moisture and carbon dioxide over time, the yolk gradually dries up and shrinks, and the air bubble inside expands. A larger air bubble creates more space inside the egg, allowing the remaining components to slide around and cause “sloshing” inside the egg. A fresh egg shouldn’t make a big noise (if any) when you shake it. Sloshing in the egg only means that the egg is old and not necessarily that it is inedible.

Crack the egg on a plate or in a large bowl and check the quality of the yolk and white.

The integrity of the egg decreases with age, making it less held together than a fresh egg. Notice if the egg spreads wide on the plate or if it’s relatively compact. An egg that looks spready or a bit watery has thinner whites and is a little past its prime. If the yolk is flat and cracks easily, the egg is old. If the yolk moves easily, it means the chalazia (the thicker strands of protein that hold the yolk in place) are weakening and the egg is getting older. Look at the color of the egg white. A cloudy white indicates a fresh egg. A clear white means the egg is older (but it may still be edible).

Identify a spoiled egg

Crack the egg and see if it gives off an odor.

That’s the best clue to a bad egg. A spoiled egg gives off a pungent, rotten smell when you crack it open. The sulfur smell will become apparent once the shell is broken (and maybe even before that), and you should discard the egg. A spoiled egg has a foul odor whether it’s raw or cooked.

Break the egg into small portions and examine the color.

The color of the yolk can vary depending on the diet of the hen that laid it, so the yellow or orange shade of the yolk has nothing to do with freshness. Instead, take a closer look at the egg white (or albumin). If it is pink, green, or iridescent, the egg could be infected with Pseudomonas bacteria and is not suitable for consumption. If you spot black or green spots inside the egg, it has been infected by a fungus and should be discarded. If the yolk of a hard-boiled egg has a green ring around it, it means the egg was cooked too long or in water that was very ferrous. You can still eat eggs like this without worrying. If there is a bloody or fleshy spot on the egg, it is still safe to eat and is therefore not contaminated or spoiled. A bloodstain occurs when a blood vessel ruptures as the egg forms. This has nothing to do with the freshness of the ice cream.

Use date and time

Check the “recommended last sell by date” on the packaging, if it’s printed.

In some countries (e.g. Switzerland or the USA) a “sell by”, “no sell after” or “expired by” date is printed on the packaging of the eggs. In Germany this imprint is voluntary. The date is a maximum of 30 days after the date the eggs were packed. Eggs that have been well chilled and are not broken should stay fresh for at least a month past this “last recommended sell by date”. In America, this date is printed as a month/day. So an egg that has to be sold by March 15th will be marked as 03/15. In Switzerland, the full date is printed, i.e. 03/15/2016. “Recommended Last Sell Date” refers to the date by which the Egg may be available for public purchase. After this date, the egg should be removed from the shelf. It does not mean that the egg is spoiled or rotten after this date.

Check the best before date on the packaging.

In Germany, eggs must have a best-before date (“best before”) on their packaging. The best before date is calculated from the laying date plus 28 days. After these 28 days, the eggs can be used for at least another two weeks, but should only be cooked and not used raw. Within the best-before date, eggs should be usable without hesitation. During this time they have the best consistency, the best taste and the best binding and thickening properties. It doesn’t mean the eggs are spoiled or rotten after this date. Sometimes the laying date itself is also printed on. If eggs are labeled “Extra” or “Extra Fresh”, the laying date must be printed and no more than nine days may have passed since then.

Use the 3-digit code to find out when the eggs were packed (the US only).

In the United States, it is not a national requirement (some states require it and some prohibit it) to have a “best before” or “best before” date printed on them, but all eggs must have a packing date printed on them. This date is usually printed as a three-digit number representing the Julian calendar. This means eggs packed on January 1st are marked as 001, eggs packed on October 15th as 288, and eggs packed on December 31st as 365. You can usually find the date on the bottom or rim of the container. There should be the facility code (a letter P for “plant” and a number) first – which gives an indication of where the eggs were packed – and next to that you’ll find the packing date. In the European Union, the eggs themselves must also be labeled with a packing date. Even if the eggs are sold individually and not in a carton, the customer must have access to this information.

Discard any eggs that have been refrigerated and then left at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Once an egg has been chilled in a refrigerator, it is important to keep it at the same temperature. A cool egg in a warmer environment will begin to sweat, allowing bacteria to grow on the outside of the egg. Also, since eggshells are porous, these bacteria can sometimes get through the shell and contaminate the egg. To prevent temperature changes, keep your eggs in the coolest part of your fridge, not in the door. The temperature in the door changes slightly due to the constant opening and closing, which can cause the eggs to start sweating. If you received the eggs unwashed and at room temperature, you don’t need to refrigerate them either. In many countries, especially in Eastern Europe, eggs are stored at room temperature. This is safe because the hens were vaccinated against salmonella before laying the eggs.

Follow the packaging instructions if you have your own egg-laying hens.

If you have your own egg-laying hens and are wondering how long you can use the eggs before they go bad, follow general freshness guidelines. In Germany, it is assumed that eggs can be used safely at least 28 days after laying. However, you can be reasonably certain that you can use your eggs for at least two months without them going bad. If you’re not sure how long you’ve had your fresh eggs or think they’re more than two months old, learn to recognize the signs of spoiled or stale eggs. So you can easily decide if you should still use them in your food.


If the eggs are to be consumed by people who are at very high risk (i.e. young children or the elderly), you should only use really fresh eggs. Although eggs are usually safe to eat for two weeks past the best-before date, you should be especially careful with people with weakened and not yet fully developed immune systems and only stick to the freshest eggs.

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