People often wonder how long eggs last, especially when they have many. Given how valuable eggs are, it’s important to know how to keep them fresh and enjoy their natural taste.
Farm-fresh eggs can last longer than store-bought eggs. Yet, various factors, including handling, storage conditions, and whether or not they are washed, affect how long farm-fresh eggs last.
This article looks into the specifics of how long eggs actually last and provides helpful tips for storing and preserving them to help you get the most out of these delicious and healthy treats.
How Long Do Fresh Eggs Last in the Fridge?
Fresh chicken eggs can last for a long time when stored properly in the fridge. Unwashed eggs with the bloom intact can last around 3 to 6 months, as the protective bloom prevents bacteria from entering through the pores. As for washed eggs, they can last for at least two months in the fridge.
That said, once taken out of the refrigerator, these eggs should ideally be consumed within two hours.
In my years of tending to backyard chickens, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them produce lots of delicious, nutritious eggs. However, this surplus can pose a challenge at times.
One thing I’ve learned is that keeping them in the fridge and not washing them is a winning combination to extend their freshness and quality.
Handling and storage are crucial for maintaining the egg’s quality. It’s always a good idea to store your eggs in the carton to avoid breakage and keep them safe to eat.
Moreover, temperature plays a crucial role. Your refrigerator should be set at 40°F or slightly below to keep your eggs fresh.
How Long Do Eggs Last Without Refrigeration?
Freshly laid eggs, thanks to their natural protective coatings, typically maintain quality at room temperature for about two weeks to a month. Store-bought eggs, on the other hand, are often washed, which removes this protective layer and makes refrigeration necessary for their preservation.
For those with a backyard flock, leaving the eggs unwashed after collecting them from the coop ensures they maintain their freshness for an extended period.
Keep in mind, though, that unrefrigerated eggs dry out and lose protein quality, even if they are technically safe to eat.
If you don’t want to keep your eggs in the fridge, make sure to keep them in a cool, dry place to maximize their shelf life and enjoy the taste of fresh chicken eggs whenever you like.
How Long Do Eggs Last After the Expiration Date?
The date on the carton is often a “sell-by” or “best-by” date, not a strict expiration. This means that the eggs can still be consumed after this date, provided they’ve been stored correctly. In fact, when kept in the refrigerator at a consistent temperature, eggs can be safe to eat for three to five weeks beyond this date.
Nonetheless, it’s essential to handle eggs with care. Always store your eggs in a carton to protect them and keep track of their age.
If you’ve bought them from a store, they’ve likely been washed, removing the protective bloom. This makes them more prone to bacteria, so these eggs need to be refrigerated.
Furthermore, it’s always good practice to check whether an egg is safe to eat. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so throw away the egg if it smells bad or shows signs of mold.
How Long Do Cooked Eggs Last in the Fridge?
Scrambled eggs and other cooked egg dishes have a shelf life of about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Hard-boiled eggs, a popular choice for many, can last up to a week in the refrigerator, making them a convenient option for meals throughout the week.
When eggs are cooked, they should be stored properly and refrigerated within two hours to ensure that they remain safe to eat.
The key is to store them in an airtight container, away from other foods that can cause cross-contamination.
How Long Do Eggs Last in the Freezer?
Freezing is a handy option for preserving eggs. When properly stored, eggs can last in the freezer for up to a year, although consuming them within four months is recommended to maintain their quality.
It’s essential to note that whole eggs with shells shouldn’t be frozen directly. Instead, crack the eggs into a bowl, beat until the yolk and whites are blended, and transfer to a freezer-safe container.
Remember, egg yolks and whites can be frozen separately, but yolks may require a bit of salt or sugar to keep them from going mushy.
Once you’re ready to use the frozen eggs, ensure they are thawed in the fridge and used in dishes where the texture won’t be compromised.
This method can help you keep a consistent supply of eggs, whether they’re from a store or your backyard chicken coop.
To find out more about how to freeze eggs the right way, watch this video:
How to Store Fresh Eggs Properly
Properly storing fresh eggs depends on whether you plan to refrigerate them or keep your eggs at room temperature.
Fresh eggs have a protective layer called the bloom or cuticle. If you choose not to refrigerate your eggs, avoid washing them. Washing eggs removes the protective bloom, allowing bacteria to penetrate the shell.
Store them in a cool, dry place, ideally in an egg basket or a breathable container. Make sure they’re away from direct sunlight and any strong odors. Eggs stored this way can last for about two weeks to a month.
For refrigeration, keep fresh eggs at 35°F to 40°F. Also, it’s still best not to wash your farm-fresh eggs. If your eggs were washed, make sure they are completely dry before storing them in the fridge.
Use an egg carton to store them, as it prevents the eggs from absorbing strong odors and flavors from other foods. The carton also protects the eggs from breakage.
When collecting eggs, it’s also a good idea to write the date on the carton to help you keep track of their age. Always store with the pointed side down to help keep the yolk centered and preserve its quality.
How to Check If Your Fresh Eggs Are Still Good
Several methods can help determine if your eggs are still good to eat. One popular method is the float test.
To perform this, fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg inside. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lies flat, it’s fresh. As eggs start to age, an air pocket inside expands, causing older eggs to stand upright or even float.
Another reliable method is the sniff test. A foul odor is a sure sign that an egg has gone bad and should not be eaten.
When you crack an egg open, observe the membrane. Fresh eggs have a more intact and firm membrane, which helps the yolk sit tall.
Whites and yolks that are runny and flat are signs that the egg is older, but if there is no off-putting smell, it’s less fresh but still safe to eat.
Factors Affecting Egg Freshness
Whether it’s from a backyard hen or purchased from a store, several factors can influence how long your egg remains fresh.
Here’s a breakdown of the key factors affecting egg freshness:
- Storage Temperature: Temperature is a significant factor. Ideally, eggs should be stored at 35°F to 40°F to maintain their freshness. Eggs will last longer and taste better if stored in cooler conditions.
- Humidity: Proper humidity levels prevent eggs from drying out, which can affect their quality.
- Washing: While it might seem like a good idea to wash fresh eggs, doing so can remove the protective bloom, making them more susceptible to bacteria.
- Age of the Egg: The longer an egg has been laid, the more the quality may decline. It’s always best to eat eggs within a few weeks of being laid.
- Handling: Rough handling can cause micro-cracks in the shell, allowing bacteria to enter. Remember, a broken egg not only wastes the egg itself but can also contaminate other eggs if the contents leak.
- Egg Production Environment: The conditions in which a hen lives, including its coop and nesting box, can influence the cleanliness and quality of the eggs it lays.
It’s important to consider where they come from, how they’re stored, and how they’re handled to enjoy the best-quality eggs.
By paying attention to these factors, you can guarantee that your eggs are fresh and safe to eat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Eggs Go Bad in the Fridge?
Even in the cold environment of a fridge, eggs can go bad over time. Refrigeration helps extend their shelf life, but they won’t last forever.
When an egg is kept in the fridge, it can last for more than three months from the date the egg was laid, but its quality may decline. If the fridge gets warm or if an egg cracks, it can spoil faster.
Always check your eggs before using them to make sure they’re still fresh.
Can Eggs Last 6 Months in the Fridge?
Yes, eggs may last up to six months in your fridge if left unwashed. This is because their natural protective coating helps preserve freshness.
Just make sure your fridge temperature stays between 35°F and 40°F to maintain their quality.
Can I Eat Eggs That Expired 2 Months Ago?
While the expiration date on an egg carton provides a guideline, eggs are usually safe to eat shortly even after this date has passed, especially if they’ve been stored properly in the fridge.
However, it’s crucial to check for any unusual smell or appearance before eating them. If they seem off in any way, it’s best to play it safe and throw them out.
How Old Are Grocery Store Eggs?
By law, farmers have up to 30 days from when the egg is laid to place it in a carton. After that, the supermarket can sell those eggs for another 30 days.
This means that the eggs you buy from the store could be up to two months old by the time you purchase them.
Why Don’t Supermarkets Keep Eggs in the Fridge?
In some places, eggs are not washed before being sold, which leaves a natural protective layer on the eggshell.
This layer prevents bacteria from entering the egg and allows it to be stored at room temperature without spoiling quickly, which is the case in supermarkets.
On the other hand, in countries where eggs are washed, this protective layer is removed. Thus, washed eggs must be refrigerated to prevent bacterial contamination.
When figuring out how long eggs will last, a lot of factors must be taken into account, especially how they are stored and handled. To get the most out of your eggs, make sure you store them properly and at the right temperature.
Moreover, remember that the main factor that determines how long your eggs will last is whether they have been washed or not.
Avoid washing your farm-fresh eggs if you want them to last as long as possible. But if you do decide to wash them, always put them in the fridge so they stay fresh for a longer time.
How long are farm fresh eggs good for, in your experience? Join the conversation in the comment section below!