Since we know how long eggs last, we can use the egg float test to help determine how old an egg actually is.
The egg float test can’t tell you if the egg has been infected with bacteria. It’s only going to tell you about how old it is. A very old egg may be rotten though!
When in doubt throw it out! Or if it floats, send it on a boat? Yeah, I need some help with my catchphrase, don’t I?
How to Tell if an Egg is Bad | Egg Float Test
We can do the egg float test to tell about how old an egg is, but…
There’s no sure-fire way to tell if an egg has been infected with bacteria, like Salmonella just yet.
The USDA and the FDA have developed national standards to help reduce egg-related Salmonella incidents in eggs.
Foodborne illness not only appears on an eggshell, but it can also appear in the egg itself. It enters the egg while it’s still developing in the hen.
A hen that’s infected with Salmonella, can distribute Salmonella to some but not all of her eggs.
Government agencies are working with farmers to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in eggs. Egg safety programs help cut down on chickens that get infected by Salmonella.
This includes disinfecting the poultry housing and vaccinating baby chicks and many more techniques.
Whether you buy your eggs or raise chickens yourself, you can help reduce your chances of getting infected by Salmonella!
If you’re a backyard chicken farmer, keeping things neat and tidy can go a long way. Keep nesting boxes, waterers, and chicken coops clean and poop-free. Collect eggs daily, etc…
Proper handling cooking and storage of eggs are an important part of reducing the risk of foodborne illness.
Practice Food Safety to Reduce Foodborne Illness
- Keep the nesting boxes clean.
- Collect eggs daily.
- Don’t eat raw eggs.
- Store in the refrigerator, (they last longer).
- Don’t wash the eggs, until your ready to use them.
- FIFO – First in first out. Use the oldest eggs first!
- Cook eggs thoroughly.
The Appearance of Eggs and How it Relates to Egg Safety
How eggs look can help determine whether they are fresh, old, or whether they have spoiled
- Bloody spot – Usually doesn’t mean the egg is bad. It’s just a blood vessel that has ruptured during ovulation.
- Cloudy egg white – This usually means the egg is very fresh.
- Egg yolk brightness/color – Usually is influenced by the hen’s diet. If hens eat marigolds, corn, turmeric, and other bright yellow/orange colors, the egg yolk may be a brighter orange color, that is so sought after.
- Pink, green, or iridescent egg white – Could be infected by Pseudomonas bacteria, which a common type of bacteria people carry and not even know it. However, it’s best to throw out eggs, that have strange colored egg whites.
- Black or green spots inside the egg – This can indicate the presence of bacterial or fungal contamination. Throw out any eggs like this.
You can also, of course, use your nose too. Something that we do in the food industry is use many of our senses to determine if food is bad. Our nose can oftentimes smell when food has gone bad.
A rotten egg usually stinks!
Don’t rely on ONLY one of your senses though. Just because your nose says it smells okay doesn’t mean it is.
Use your good judgment, and other senses, plus the FIFO method and other food safety standards to make sure your eggs are safe to eat.
An Influx of Eggs | Why You Might Need to Use The Egg Float Test
I don’t know about you, but I either have an influx of eggs or hardly any. When I have too many eggs on my hands, or the boys aren’t collecting them like they should…
It becomes difficult to keep track of how old they are. I’ve gotten used to conducting the egg float test when I have a lot of eggs.
Mostly, because I have a system, but the kids don’t seem to follow it! I use the FIFO method and use the oldest egg first, normally.
I can cook up to 100 eggs a week in peak season. Yeah, that’s a lot I know.
I cook up about 40 boiled eggs in my Instant Pot every week. The kids love to eat them as a snack. My husband takes them to work.
The Chickens like boiled eggs too, so I make sure to give them some with dried eggshells mixed in (for extra calcium).
When we have a ton of eggs, or I have some that are getting close to going bad, I like to make a Frittata!
How Does The Egg Float Test Work?
In every egg, there’s a pocket of air.
As the egg gets older this pocket gets bigger and bigger.
With more air in the egg, the egg becomes more and more buoyant.
Therefore, the egg will eventually float to the top of the water level, because it’s not quite as dense as it was when it was fresh.
The Egg Float Test
So how do you test your eggs?
If you place an egg in a glass or bowl of water, it will either float or sink to the bottom.
I’ve made an infographic to help you see just about how old your egg might be according to its position in a glass of water.
If it sinks all the way down to the glass, it was probably just laid the same day, or yesterday perhaps?
In addition, if it’s starting to slightly come off of the bottom it will be anywhere from 1-2 weeks old. If it stands straight up it might be about 3 weeks old.
When it no longer touches the bottom but is not yet floated to the top, it may be around 4 weeks old.
If it floats all the way to the top of the waterline it’s about 5 weeks old or more.
These timelines are approximate.
I don’t do my eggs one at a time in a glass though. I test them in a big bowl. If they float to the top, I throw them out. I don’t risk eating old eggs.
How Long Do Eggs Last?
Eggs have a protective covering over the eggshells, much like babies do when they come out of mother’s womb.
Mother Nature designed eggs this way to promote the reproduction of birds.
This, in turn, helps preserve the content inside of the egg. For us, it means that we can keep eggs stored away for a little while until we are ready to use them.
To see How Long Eggs Last, and learn to store eggs to get the longest shelf life, check out the entire article! Also, if you want to learn more about storing eggs at room temperature, I just wrote a brand new article on it!
Click here to learn more about Egg Safety
Egg Recipes | Have a lot of eggs?
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