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Can Eggs Go Bad?

Many people eat eggs on a regular basis and from time to time we might find ourselves having a few eggs stored for a longer period of time, few days or even more after the ‘best by’ date. That’s the time when question “can eggs go bad?” becomes very relevant. Sometimes we just have a couple of egg whites or yolks left after preparing a dish and we aren’t sure how long can we store them. Or maybe we have one or two hard-boiled eggs left after the dinner and we would like to know how long they will stay fine in the refrigerator. There are quite a few possibilities when it comes to eggs and this article will hopefully cover most of them (if not all). Sounds interesting? Read along!

Raw eggs

Raw eggs in their shells can be stored for about a month (3-6 weeks on average) after buying. Always store them in the fridge. It’s suggested to keep them in the main body of the refrigerator, not in the molded egg rack in the door, where the temperature fluctuates. Keep the eggs in their carton.

Raw eggs out of the shell should be stored in a covered container in the fridge, they should be fine for about 2 to 4 days.

Funny eggs
(credit: JD Hancock)

If you really need to keep those eggs for a longer period of time, you can freeze them. To do that, you need to first remove them from their shells (never freeze eggs in shells) and pierce the yolks. Then, if you plan to use those eggs in a main dish, add half teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of eggs. If you, on the other hand, want to use those eggs for baking purposes, add 1 tablespoon of sugar per 1 cup of eggs. Transfer into a freezer bag or an airtight container (leave little head space) and put into the freezer, when it can be stored (and remain of good quality) for up to a year.

If you would like to know if a raw egg is still good, there’s a trick. Take a bowl and fill it with cold water, then put the egg inside. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s fine. If it’s on the bottom, but sitting on its point, it means that it’s still good, but won’t be that way for much longer. If it floats, discard it, it’s bad.

Hard-boiled eggs

Hard boiled should be stored in the fridge, possibly with their shells still on. They stay fine for about a week. If you plan to eat hard-boiled eggs within a day or two, you can keep them on the counter in room temperature, they will be fine.

Whole hard-boiled eggs shouldn’t be frozen, because hard-boiled egg whites don’t freeze that well. You can freeze hard-boiled egg yolks if you wish though. You put them into a freezer bag, squeeze as much air out of it as you can and close the bag. It’s recommended to consume those yolks within a couple of months for best quality – the longer they will stay frozen, the worse their taste will be.

Fresh egg whites

They should be kept in the refrigerator and they will stay fine for about 2 to 4 days, sometimes maybe a week. You can freeze egg whites, so you can store them even for about a year. Freezing egg whites is easy – just transfer them into an airtight freezer container or a freezer bag, leave some headspace and put into the freezer.

Fresh egg yolks

Fresh egg yolks, similarly to whites, should be stored in the fridge and will be fine for about 2 to 4 days. To store them for much longer (even for a year) while retaining good quality, you can freeze them. To do that, add one teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of egg yolks (if you plan to use them in main dishes) or one tablespoon of sugar (for baking purposes), transfer the mixture into a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze.

As you should know by now, eggs can go bad and they actually can’t live long after being taken from their shells (unless they are frozen of course).