Are eggs that smell ok, OK?

Even if they’re past the date?

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, eggs should be used within three to five weeks from the date they were purchased.

You can determine an egg’s freshness by placing it in a wide glass of water. If the egg is still fresh, it will lie on its side at the bottom of the glass. If egg is old it will either stand on one of its tips or float to the top.

And from the Boston Cooking School Book (?–or other reliable source), you can crack them onto a plate:

White stands up somewhat from plate with little extra juice, and yolk stands up from white–very fresh.
White spreads wider and is shallower–not so fresh
White spreads and so does yolk–less fresh, can use for baking
Both spread almost flat and yolk breaks easily–old

You can use well past the date if you have kept them refrigerated.

My mum is always saying eggs last a very long time if refrigerated. I always remain skeptical thinking ‘why would they print a date on the eggs if they last so long?’ and ‘why would delia smith insist on “very fresh eggs” all the time?’

To play it safe I ensure I always use new eggs.

My mum is always saying eggs last a very long time if refrigerated. I always remain skeptical thinking ‘why would they print a date on the eggs if they last so long?’ and ‘why would delia smith insist on “very fresh eggs” all the time?’

To play it safe I ensure I always use new eggs.

A while ago 60 minutes or a news show of the type did a special on eggs. they were taking all the old expired eggs and dumping/mixing them right back on the conveyer belt with new eggs to be repackaged. It was one of those reporter with the hidden camerea deals.

I don’t know how eggs are marked in Canada, but American egg cartons show two lines of dates, one being the “expiration” date, which is really the sell-by date, and the other being the pack date, which is the day of the year denoted as a three-digit number, from 001 to 365.

From Cook’s Illustrated’s March/April 2003 issue:

The reason for using the freshest eggs possible, then, is just because they taste and work better.

More information on dates and freshness, at least as they apply to the US, can be found from the American Egg Board.

I keep my eggs refrigerated, and will happily use them up to a month after the expiration date. If they’re older I might crack them into a cup first and sniff them to check.

My girlfriend regards this as reckless, daredevil behaviour, and will dispose of eggs 1 minute after the expiration date unless physically restrained.

However, she admits that I make much better scrambled eggs than her.

I don’t have it at hand to get an exact quote (and it’s not enabled for “search inside the book” at Amazon), but Alton Brown’s latest cookbook, “I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking” includes a comment from him that refridgerated eggs last practically until they dehydrate, and that he’s used eggs a couple months or more past their “expiration date” with no problem. I believe he did comment on some changes in cooking that may occur with old vs. fresh eggs, too.

Apparently when my dad and his siblings were young, my grandmother would run home experiments with different ages of egg to see what worked best for baking…my dad says they occasionally ended up with really awful (flat, hard, etc.) cakes, but nobody ever got sick or anything, and some of those eggs were supposedly really old. (I wish I could tell you exactly how old, but I don’t have the specifics. At least a couple months past the sell-by date.)