Practical wisdom dictates that expired foods should be tossed out. For many foods, that’s true. However, eggs are the exception to the rule. Don’t rush to toss out eggs after their expiration date. Chances are good that they’re still edible.
Eggs have been called nature’s perfect food, and it’s easy to see why. On top of being a nutritional powerhouse that delivers protein in a yummy and versatile form, eggs also last a long time, as they take an incredibly long time to go bad.
How can you tell a good egg from a bad egg? A simple test lets you quickly determine if an egg has expired prior to cracking it. The float test is easy to perform:
- Just fill a glass with water, and then
- drop the questionable egg inside.
If the egg floats, sadly, it’s gone bad. But If it sinks, then the egg is good, and you're free to crack it, fry it, scramble it, poach it, boil it, or add it to your favorite recipe.
Oooh-oooh That Smell
Beyond the float test, eggs will let you know in no uncertain terms that they’re no longer edible by emitting a foul sulfur odor that’s hard to ignore. If an egg smells funny, then it’s likely past its usable date and is bound for the trash.
Deciphering the Egg Carton
Multiple numbers on the egg carton can cause confusion about whether eggs are still safe to eat. The eggs’ sell-by date is one such number. This date is the day that the grocery store must pull the eggs from the shelf if they're not sold. The date is a three-digit code that corresponds to the date the eggs were packaged. Based on the 365-day calendar, the three-digit code denotes the day of the year. For instance, if the code is 010, then it was packaged on January 10th, or the 10th day of the year.
Beyond the Sell-By Date
You have from 3 to 5 weeks after the eggs' sell-by date to consume them. You can keep eggs fresher by storing them below 45 degrees F or by freezing them. Keep them in the rear of the fridge where they can maintain a consistent temperature. In addition to chucking smelly eggs, discard any eggs with cracked shells, powdery patches on the eggshell, or discolored interiors.