Post #16: How to tell if an egg is fresh

Hello and Happy Monday! (if there is such a thing)

Here is another one of my “Martha Stewart” pieces. I used to write these for a living, and they’ve become sort of second nature. Hope you like today’s offering, starring our favorite breakfast hero, the egg!

How can you tell if an egg is fresh? They don’t change colors, or grow mold, and if they’ve been refrigerated and their shell is intact, they won’t even start to smell “funny.”

When properly stored in the fridge, eggs can remain fresh for up to five weeks, so if you eat a lot of eggs in your household, you might buy in bulk, like we do.  The trouble is, it can be easy to forget when a carton was originally purchased.




How to tell if an egg is fresh (or, safe to eat) without cracking it open:

  1. Fill a tall glass or bowl with cold water.
  2. Place egg in water.
  3. If the egg sinks to the bottom and remains there, it is about three to six days old.
  4. If the egg sinks, but floats at an angle, it is about eight to ten days old.
  5. If the egg sinks, but then stands on end, it’s about two weeks old.
  6. If the egg floats, it’s too old and must be discarded.

The science behind this egg test: When an egg is first laid, it is very warm. As the contents of the egg cool, they contract and pull the inner shell membrane away from the outer membrane, forming a pocket of air called the air cell. As an egg ages, the air cell grows larger as more air is absorbed though the egg’s porous shell, causing it to become buoyant in water.

How to tell if an egg is fresh by cracking it open:

1.      Use a flat plate, not a bowl.

2.      Crack open egg in center of plate.

3.      Check the yolk: in a fresh egg, the yolk will appear very firm and compact and will “sit up” high. When gently pressed with a fingertip, the yolk will remain intact. In an old egg, the yolk will spread out and lie flat and can be easily broken.

4.      Check the whites: in a fresh egg, the whites will be thick and remain closely surrounding the yolk. In an old egg, the white will be thin and watery and will spread out across the plate.


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