Keep ‘Em Fresh

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on October 21, 2008

Due to my breakfast challenge, I am learning quite a bit about eggs. I thought I would share some of the important things I have discovered when it comes to buying, storing and preparing eggs. After all, proper handling and storage is perhaps the most important factor in determining freshness in any food.

Freshness

I was always so worried that my eggs would be bad close to or after the sell by date, but I have discovered that eggs are generally safe to eat as much as four weeks after the sell by date. A general rule I have always followed, though, is that any egg that looks or smells odd should be tossed (in the garbage, that is).

Sizes

Eggs are available in several sizes, but the most common sizes that are available to consumers are medium, large, and extra large.

I have found that most recipes requiring eggs call for large eggs. The following chart is helpful if the eggs you have available are smaller or larger.

  • 5 medium eggs = 4 large eggs = 4 extra large eggs
  • 6 medium eggs = 5 large eggs = 4 extra large eggs
  • 7 medium eggs = 6 large eggs = 5 extra large eggs

Proper Storage

Eggs should never be stored at room temperature, however there are recipes that require eggs to be at or near room temperature before incorporating them into the other ingredients in the recipe. If this is the case, I have found that removing them from the refrigerator, about 30 minutes before using them, is about enough time. Eggs should not be away from the refrigerator for more than 2 hours, so plan carefully.

I have also discovered that, for a variety of reasons, eggs should be stored in the carton they were packed in. One of these reasons is that eggshells are porous, and will allow strong odors to be absorbed into the egg over time. Eggs should also be stored with the rounded end pointed up, in the coldest part of the refrigerator where the temperature remains constant – All accomplished when left in their original carton. Many refrigerators provide storage for eggs in special units in the door, but this is not the ideal place for storing eggs because the temperature fluctuates so much in the door when it is opened and closed.

Is there something more I should know about eggs?


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiff October 21, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Thanks for the info!!! I love eggs. In fact I just made a batch of homemade brownies this afternoon. I was so afraid the eggs weren’t good. But they are a week past the sell by date. They didn’t look gross or smell bad. and the brownies taste awesome!!

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Laura October 21, 2008 at 7:51 pm

So I probably shouldn’t admit this, but in college, I ate eggs that were well over a month past their date (several times, I figured they would smell like rotten eggs if I shouldn’t eat them). I probably shouldn’t have, but luckily I survived without any stomach problems from my actions. My husband would probably not believe this now though because I throw out leftovers if they are more than 3 days old.

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jackie October 22, 2008 at 4:11 am

I think that I read somewhere that eggs that are closer to their expiration date make better “hard cooked”/hard boiled eggs. I think their shells come off better.

Don’t take it as fact. In this mommy-brain, some thoughts tend to run together at times (imagine that!).

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Amy October 22, 2008 at 5:48 am

We just bought 10 laying hens that should start laying any day now! So this was great and I am sure I will learn more!!

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Pennies In My Pocket October 22, 2008 at 12:57 pm

The hubby and I were just talking about this subject last night. LOL I know, great evening conversation, huh? Thanks for the tips!

~melody~

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Toners October 23, 2008 at 7:51 am

You can tell how fresh an egg is by hard boiling one. If the shell sticks to the egg, and doesn’t want to come off easily, its very fresh. If the shell comes off easily (often in two or three large pieces) its an older egg.

I was also told once that eggs, as long as kept very cold, are good up to 2-3 weeks past the expiration date.

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