Do they go bad? Yep, they sure do! Chicken and ducks eggs have a pretty good shelf life. But how long do eggs last really?
Ever heard of the term rotten egg? The stench of a rotten egg smells like death. Have you ever smelled a dead animal? Yeah, it’s like that.
I know it’s gross. So let’s talk about how long they last.
Why Eggs Go Bad
They aren’t as perishable as other foods we may come by. That’s because they have a defensive barrier.
This defensive barrier is Mother Nature’s way of protecting the reproduction of birds.
Over time, the protective coating on the egg (the bloom) breaks down. Eventually, air & bacteria particles are absorbed into the eggshell.
As the protective barrier breaks down, bacteria may enter the egg. It will then reproduce inside of the egg.
These bacteria will grow faster out of refrigeration, since bacteria like warm, wet environments.
However, bacteria can live not only on the outside of the eggshell. Bacteria like salmonella can enter into the egg while still inside the hen.
Proper handling, storage, and cooking of the eggs can help reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Proper Handling, Storage, & Cooking
- Keep the nesting boxes clean.
- Collect eggs daily.
- Store in the refrigerator, (they last longer).
- Don’t wash the eggs, until your ready to use them.
- Never eat raw eggs!
- Use the FIFO Method. First in First Out!
- Cook eggs thoroughly.
Collect eggs daily, and place them right in the refrigerator. Temperature fluctuations can contribute to an egg going bad.
Eventually, they can turn green and black inside. A really rotten egg can even “explode” under the pressure of the gas build-up. You might have experienced this little doozy if you’ve ever incubated them.
This can happen when they are laying on the counter going bad too. So watch out! Because this explosion STINKS!
I’ve experienced this first hand. I was sitting in my office one day, when suddenly, I heard a LOUD POP!
I yelled from the office, what was that noise? I have three boys, so noise is a constant in our home…but this was a noise I’d never heard before.
My son had no idea what the noise was, so I went to inspect further.
I walked around the kitchen where I thought the sound came from. I couldn’t find anything. However, I noticed there was a strange smell…
My smeller doesn’t always work well but I could’ve sworn it smelled like boiled eggs. (you know that farty egg smell?)
I asked my son to come in the kitchen and tell me what he smelled, and he agreed it smelled like eggs. So I had some eggs sitting on the counter.
They were old, admittedly. The boys are supposed to collect them and put them in the fridge, but they were slacking on that job.
Reluctantly, I looked through the cartons on the counter, and the smell kept getting worse and worse. Then, I spotted it! An egg that literally popped!
When I got it outside to throw it in the woods, I tried to remove it carefully from the carton and then it hit me, like a ton of bricks! The smell of dead animals. Ew!
How Long Do Eggs Last on The Counter?
Some people leave their (farm fresh) eggs out on the counter. I do this sometimes. I prefer to store them in the fridge because they usually last longer.
Since the store-bought kind is already refrigerated they must stay that way. That’s 101 of food safety, and pretty much can be applied to most food items…
Farm fresh eggs that are stored on the counter typically last for about 2-3 weeks.
When you crack open an egg that’s sat at room temperature, you might notice the yolk is a more runny than usual.
That’s because the membrane that holds the yolk together gets weaker over time. Also, the albumen or egg whites are clear instead of white. These are signs that the egg is not super fresh.
How Long Do They Last in The Fridge?
Remember that refrigerated eggs must stay refrigerated until use!
The USDA says that they last 3 to 5 weeks in the fridge. The store-bought kind can be 45 days old when you buy them from what I’ve heard.
Farm fresh eggs usually last for about 2 or 3 months in the fridge.
How to Make Them Last Longer
Don’t wash them, before storing them! Even the USDA say no to washing eggs. Washing them can remove the protective coating (the bloom), causing the egg to become more susceptible to bacteria.
Even farm fresh eggs will last longer if stored in the refrigerator.
If they’ve been refrigerated, they shouldn’t be left out for more than 2 hours. They tend to sweat and the USDA says that could allow bacteria to get into the egg.
When you buy them in the store, make sure none of them are cracked. Cracked raw eggs are susceptible to bacteria.
If you accidentally crack an egg, you can place the liquid egg in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.
However, if they crack during boiling them, they are safe to eat.
Some people swear by rubbing mineral oil on them that they will last longer. However, this study says that internal qualities were not very different that eggs that didn’t have mineral oil applied.
However, the application of mineral oil was helpful in maintaining physical-chemical quality even during extended periods of storage.
One could conclude that perhaps mineral oil does help eggs last longer using mineral oil since the physical-chemical quality is preserved for longer. However, what is mineral oil?
Since eggshells are absorbent, I feel the need to ask myself what is mineral oil and should I be ingesting it?
There’s obviously a big difference between food grade mineral oil, and crude mineral oils. So, if you choose to use mineral oil, make sure it’s food grade!
How to Tell When an Egg is Old
Have you ever heard of the Egg Float Test? This test allow you to get a glimpse of how old an egg may be.
When I have a lot of eggs, sometimes I lose track of how old they may be. The egg float test helps me to determine if they are fresh or old.
Ways to Preserve Eggs
- Freezer: Raw egg whites store okay in the freezer up to 12 months, but raw egg yolks don’t freeze well.
- Baking them in a casserole can preserve eggs for 3 – 4 days in the fridge, or 2 to 3 months in the freezer.
- Cure them in salt
- Homemade Powdered Eggs
- Pickled Eggs
Recipes That Use Eggs
In conclusion, room temperature eggs will last about 2 to 3 weeks. Refrigerated eggs will last about 3 to 4 weeks for store-bought and 2 to 3 months for farm fresh eggs.
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