Are My Eggs Rotten?

I’ve always wondered where the phrase, “he’s a bad egg” came from, or inversely, “he’s a good egg”.  One thing I learnt about eggs is it’s definitely very difficult to tell whether an egg is good or bad until you crack it open, and I guess it works with the analogy that you can’t always judge a book by its cover and verify what someone is like until you get to know them!

I’ve been stung once, because I used to naively believe that eggs couldn’t be bad if they were within their best before date, but when I cracked open an egg once and the yolk was watery and separated, I knew something was up!

Since then, I never took it for granted and researched a few checks I could do to be doubly sure that my eggs were good before I used them. As a professional, I can’t afford to take risks and dodgy eggs can be very dangerous. So, check out these useful hacks to double check your eggs safely pass the health check!

Eggs only really ever go bad when there is bacteria or mould.  Sometimes that happens when an egg may have got slightly cracked at one point and others may be dependent on the way it has been stored and this can happen even when they are within date. Sooo, to be triply sure, try out these methods to determine if your eggs are good or bad.

1. Check the Expiration Date

The date used to only be on the carton, but as we often take eggs out and keep them in the fridge, they are now digitally printed on each individual egg.  It’s really important to check this.  There is often a sell by/display until date which is NOT the date of expiration but just the latest a store should keep on display.  True expiration is the “use by” date.  

If you are using for personal and not professional use, I know people often ignore the dates in favour of the following tests, but this isn’t something I would recommend.

2. Conduct a Sniff Test

You can ordinarily smell a bad egg, whether it is raw or cooked.  A good egg should be completely odourless, so any sign of odour would indicate something is amiss.

3. Complete a Visual Inspection

Any signs of cracks, white powdery substance on the outside (normally mould) or any slime, would suggest that there is the presence of bacteria.  At this point I would toss an egg, but you could perform one more visual check by cracking the egg into a separate white coloured bowl so you can detect the colour is natural and appropriate.  If there is any discolouration , this may indicate bacteria. 

Always check each egg separately so you don’t inadvertently contaminate another egg. If you do notice any signs of discoloration, ensure you throw the egg out and wash the bowl with hot, soapy water before testing a new egg.

4. Perform a Float Test

The float test is one of the most popular methods for checking whether an egg is good or bad.  All you have to do to perform the float test, is to place your egg carefully into a bowl of water and if it sinks it’s fresh but if it tilts upwards or even floats, it is old and should be destroyed.

However you have to be careful with this check because an egg can sink and still be bad, but more rather indicates freshness.  The scientific reason for this is because the older an egg gets, the air pocket inside it gets larger and as the water is released and replaced by air this may cause part of the egg to tilt upwards or totally float.

In Summary

Best before dates are there to protect us so are very precautionary and eggs may definitely be good for longer than the advertised expiration date, but it’s important to keep in mind though that eggs containing bacteria that cause food-borne illness, such as salmonella and may look and smell completely normal. So, even if they pass all the tests above, they must be fully cooked to a safe temperature before eaten.

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About the Author

Natasha Orumbie isn’t your ordinary baker! Yes she is well known in her industry for creating awesome works of edible art, but she has recently gained notoriety in the online world.
She has catapulted her business from near obscurity with an Instagram following of just 400 to over 7000 in just 8 months and growing every day!
Originally a teacher of teenagers by trade, she is naturally able to share knowledge in an engaging and humorous fashion, making her Instagram, blog posts and e-books a pleasure to read! She now takes great pleasure in teaching others how to bake, decorate and sell cakes of their own.