How to know if your eggs are fresh

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Do you throw away eggs based on the expiry date on the box? You may be throwing away perfectly good food that is safe to eat. Here’s how to check whether your eggs need to go in the pan or the bin.

How to check if an egg is OK to eat

1. Take a large jug or bowl and fill it with cold water.

2. Drop the egg into the water.

What to look for:

A fresh egg will sink to the bottom. It is OK to eat (see the image above).

An older egg will tilt upwards and shrink away from the bottom of the jug or bowl. It is OK to eat.

An old egg will float close to the the top of the water. Throw it away.

How to store eggs

You can keep eggs out of the fridge in cool weather but you should always keep them in a cool place away from direct heat or a window where the sun could warm them. If you keep eggs in the fridge leave them to come to room temperature before using. The exception is where you are making meringues where cold eggs straight from the fridge whip better.

If you store eggs in a bowl, always wash it before you add more eggs: the older eggs can have dirt on the outside which can contaminate the bowl and the next batch of eggs.

Giving eggs to susceptible people

If you are serving eggs to older people, to children or to anyone who is susceptible (perhaps someone who has been ill or whose immune system is compromised) always err on the safe side and use the eggs based on the pack expiry date.

The older an egg, the less use it is for certain types of cooking as it loses structure: meringues work best with fresh egg whites (older egg whites become too runny) and fresh egg yolks hold their shape better when frying and poaching. Older eggs (that are safe to eat) can be used for omelettes and frittatas or baking cakes and biscuits where the shape of the yolk is not relevant.

If you are baking cakes or making anything with eggs that is not going to be eaten that day, always use the freshest eggs. Cooking an egg will not prolong its shelf-life.
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