How do you know if an egg is fresh?

Egg evaluation. How to know if an egg is bad? How to tell if an egg is fresh? How does a good egg smell? Can you tell if eggs are eatable simply by looking at them or shaking them? What is the easiest way to test if an egg is still fresh? How do you perform the water test for eggs? When is an egg too old to eat? What is the float or sink test for eggs? How to evaluate egg quality?

Have you ever cracked open an egg only to be presented with a foul smell? Disgusting and disappointing especially if you were looking forward to using the egg. You can tell a bad egg from a fresh one before cracking it open, but also even before looking inside.

How to tell if an egg is fresh or not

Let’s have a look at the different ways to tell an egg is fresh BEFORE cracking it open:

  1. Sniff It

An egg that is well past its use-by date will give off a foul smell if you press the egg by your nose and sniff. This is because eggs are porous and give off “fumes” when smelt.  You can’t miss the smell of a bad egg when it hits your nostrils!

  1. Perform a water test

Placing an egg in a bowl of water is another way of telling whether or not it is fresh. All you have to do is pour clean water in a bowl, preferably a glass bowl or glass, and gently place the egg inside. Watch if the egg floats or sinks. If it floats then you are dealing with a bad egg and if it sinks then you have a fresh egg. Unfortunately, this test is not 100% accurate as you may find a sinking egg that turns out to be bad when cracked open. 

  1. Take a close look at the egg

Your eggs can help you determine whether or not the eggs are bad. If you notice a crack, a powdery shell, or a slimy shell then you might be dealing with a bad egg. This is because bacteria are bound to make an appearance on a cracked or slimy shell. If on the other hand, you notice a powdery appearance on the eggshell then you should immediately dispose of it because you are dealing with a mold-covered egg which is bad!

  1. Shake It

Hold your egg close to your ears and listen carefully as you shake it. If you hear nothing then you most likely are dealing with a good egg. If on the other hand you shake it and hear a sloshing sound then you most likely have a bad egg on your hands!

  1. Use a flashlight or candle

Take the egg in a dark room and use a flashlight or candle. Hold the egg above the light and quickly tilt it back and forth, you should be able to see its contents. A fresh egg should have a thinner air cell or air pocket. 

  1. Check the expiration date

If you bought your eggs in a carton with an expiration date then you can check to confirm whether or not they are well past their expiration date. It is important to note that just because you have reached the sell-by date for your eggs, doesn’t necessarily mean that they have gone bad. You may find them nearly as fresh as the day you bought them when you crack them open!

Check if an egg is fresh after cracking it

Let’s have a look at how to tell an egg is fresh AFTER cracking it open:

  1. Crack, sniff, and observe

If you don’t want to fully crack open your egg then you can make a small crack and sniff it. If it has a foul smell then it is bad. If not then chances are high that it is fresh. You can fully crack open the egg into a bowl and check out the egg-york and egg-white.  A bright yellow or orange egg-york represents a fresh egg. As for the white, observe if it runs or not. If it runs then it may not be fresh as a fresh egg should have an opaque appearance and shouldn’t spread too much. Steer clear of watery, runny, clear whites. 

  1. Smell and appearance

Apart from a runny white, you will also tell an egg has gone bad if you crack it open and it stinks to high heaven and the colour has turned from yellow or orange to green or black!

New methods to evaluate egg freshness

Science is diving into the egg freshness issue with the aid of new technologies. Recent research has tried to find modern solutions to verify the status of eggs on an industrial scale. We are talking about cost-effective scanning methods for evaluating hundreds of thousands of eggs daily. This includes near-infrared, mid-infrared, fluorescence spectroscopies, etc. This technique is obviously not suitable for an egg quality test at home, but this could be interesting for the readers who are producing eggs.

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