How to Tell if Eggs Are Off

Not sure if your eggs are off? We’ve got you covered. Check out these 4 ways to tell if eggs are off, in addition to tips for how to make eggs last longer.

You reading this guide for how to tell if eggs are off is a key sign you’re concerned about the ones in your fridge or cupboard. It’s important to recognise any of the below signs your eggs are off, as it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eggs. 

Some of the most effective ways of telling if your eggs have gone bad include their best before date, appearance, smell and the float test. These can also be used when buying eggs to help estimate how long the carton will last.

Storage also plays an important role in estimating how long your eggs will last. If stored correctly, eggs can last up to six weeks and up to a year if cracked and stored in the freezer. 

Keep reading to find out how to tell if eggs are off, how to store them and how to them last even longer.

Photo by Grace O’Driscoll on Unsplash.

4 Best Ways to Tell if Eggs are Off

1. Best before date.

The best before date is the easiest way to determine if your eggs are off. In Australia, egg cartons are required to have a best before date, which is 6 weeks from the date the eggs are packed into the carton. 

Eating eggs past the best before date is risky, as eggs are safe to eat within a six week period and going past this has a higher chance of bacteria growing in the eggs.

What’s the difference between the best before and use by date?

The best before date and use by date both determine the date you should use a product by. However, use by dates indicate when a product may be unsafe to eat, while best before dates indicate when a product’s quality may begin to decline. Products with best before dates can still be eaten after the date, but they may not taste as good.

For eggs, if they aren’t consumed before the best before date, they should be cooked and eaten within 24 – 48 hours after it has passed. The eggs’ quality will decrease and there may be salmonella present.

2. Appearance.

If an egg’s shell is discoloured or damaged, it may be unsafe to eat. However, it’s best to determine this by cracking it open and looking at the colour and density of the white and yolk. 

Fresh eggs will have a vibrant yolk and thickish white. Eggs that are off will have a flatter, less colourful yolk and runnier white.

While looking at the cracked egg, it’s also important to notice its smell.

3. Smell.

Smell is another reliable factor to tell if eggs are off. If an egg is good, it will have no smell and if it’s off, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if you smell sulfur. 

If you think the egg may be off, you can smell it again after cracking it open to see if there’s any scent.

4. The floating test.

The floating test is a great way to determine if an egg is off. 

  1. Start by filling a bowl with cold water and placing your egg/s in it. 
  2. Eggs that sink to the base and lay flat on one side are safe to eat, while bad eggs will float at the surface. 
  3. Eggs that are off will float due to the large air cell formed at its base when they become too old.

How to tell if duck eggs are off.

You can tell if duck eggs are off by using the best before date, smell and floating test listed above.

How to tell if quail eggs are off.

Like chicken and duck eggs, the best before date, smell and floating test will tell you if your eggs are off.

Should you store eggs in the fridge or cupboard?

Eggs last longer when kept stored in the refrigerator in the original carton they came in. This keeps them protected, minimises water loss and keeps them at a consistent temperature, which makes them last longer.

Eggs are washed and sanitised in Australia to deter contamination with bacteria, like Salmonella. However, this process can damage the egg’s outer shell, making it more prone to bacteria. This is why eggs require refrigeration in Australia to keep them fresh.

How to store hard-boiled eggs.

Hard boiled eggs have different storage requirements, since boiling them removes the protective layer coating the shell. This means they are more prone to bacteria and therefore won’t last as long as raw eggs. 

After boiling eggs, store them in the carton in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Keep them in the refrigerator for only for a week, as they will go off after this period. If they’ve been peeled, they’ll only last in the fridge for five days.

How to Make Eggs Last Longer

If you want to keep eggs past the recommended six week mark, you can crack them open and leave them in a freezer-safe container for a year. However, the quality of the eggs will begin to deteriorate after a certain period, which is why eating them within a year is ideal. 

How to keep your eggs fresh for longer:

  • Check there are no cracks or dirt on the eggs before purchasing them.
  • Refrigerate the eggs as soon as possible. 
  • Keep your eggs in the carton to protect them.
  • Store eggs in the middle part of the fridge to keep them at a consistent temperature.
  • Don’t leave refrigerated eggs out for more than two hours.
  • Keep eggs stored pointed down.

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      Chloe Thistle

      Junior Marketing Administrator

      Chloe Thistle is a Junior Marketing Administrator at Localsearch, bringing her talents and background in digital and social media marketing to her role. She has sharpened her marketing skills across many different industries, including entertainment, fashion and in the B2B field. In her spare time, Chloe can be found either lounging at the beach or five coffees deep at one of her favourite local cafés. No stranger to adventures, she’s trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp — fueled by coffee of course — has completed the Kokoda Challenge and is always looking for the next mountain to climb! Chloe loves looking for ways to combine her passions for adventure, sustainability and marketing, always chasing the latest trends in both marketing and fashion. Now, she’s utilising her vast life and digital marketing experience to blog and assist in the content with the Localsearch Marketing Team.