If you don’t bake on a regular basis or play hostess on the weekends to the breakfast and brunch squad, it can be difficult to use up a dozen eggs by the carton’s sell-by date. Also, the thought of eating food that’s expired sounds a little frightening and might inspire your gag reflex to kick in. Even the goose in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web warned Templeton the rat that a rotten egg can be a regular “stink bomb” if it isn’t handled properly. And no one wants that, right?
The good news is that you can probably use your expired eggs with no problem. According to the experts, raw eggs that have not been cracked open, i.e. are still in their shell, can still be consumed for anywhere between three to five weeks beyond the sell-by date. How fresh an egg is largely depends on how the egg was stored. Eggs should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 33 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
But what if you still aren’t sure? No one wants to waste good food, but you also don’t want to put your health at risk. Luckily, there are a couple of quick and easy methods you can use to make certain your expired eggs are still safe to eat.
How can you tell if an egg is safe to use?
One way to make certain your expired eggs are still good to cook with is just by using your nose. If an egg looks or smells weird, chances are it’s rotten and you should dispose of it. Simply cracking the egg open and taking a whiff is the easiest way to determine this.
Another way to check to see if your expired eggs have gone bad is to use the water test. The water test is really easy and only takes a few minutes to conduct. Simply fill a glass or bowl with water and place the egg in it. An egg that sinks to the bottom of the container is still fresh; however, if the egg floats, it’s time to put it in the trash. One more possible outcome with the water test is an egg that sinks but stands straight up on its point. If this happens, it means the eggs are still good, but you need to use them sooner rather than later.
And finally, you can always use the Julian date that is on the end of the egg carton to figure out what would be four to five weeks from when the eggs were cleaned and packaged. If you aren’t familiar with the system, it can be hard to decipher. It will be a three-digit number with January 1 as 001 and December 31 being 365.
BY KAREN HART