If you don’t store eggs in the original packaging, it is difficult to conclude whether they have expired based on their appearance. That is why it is best to always keep the eggs in egg cartons, in which you bought them, to check if they are fresh or stale.
However, what to do if you have a carton of expired eggs in the fridge? Are expired eggs automatically rotten, or can you bake with expired eggs? Can you use them for baking cakes or any pastries, or is it better to throw them away?
Generally speaking, eating and baking with expired eggs does not have to be a cause for concern at all. As long as you have stored the eggs correctly and adequately cooked them, you are free to consume eggs that have expired a few days or weeks ago. Of course, as long as you crack them open, they are no visible signs of spoiled.
In today’s article, we explain everything about the use of expired eggs in baking. We will also explain the meaning of the tags “Sell by,” “Use by,” and “Best by,” which may confuse you.
- 1 How to tell are eggs fresh or old?
- 2 Can you eat expired eggs?
- 3 What happens if you bake with expired eggs?
- 4 How fresh do eggs need to be for baking?
- 5 Does freshness of an egg affects baking?
- 6 How long are eggs good for baking after the expiration date?
- 7 Is there a difference between “Sell by”, “Use by” and “Best by” labels on eggs packaging?
- 8 Do farm fresh eggs have expiration date?
How to tell are eggs fresh or old?
If you wonder can you eat expired eggs and don’t know how long your eggs have been in the fridge (and you certainly don’t know how old they were when you bought them), there are three ways to check if they are good to eat.
First method: Float test
The float test is straightforward. Put the egg in a bowl of cold water. The water level should be twice as high as the egg.
- A fresh egg will sink to the bottom of the bowl and will stand motionless.
- A slightly older egg (about a week) will slightly raise one end while it sinks.
- If the egg balances and rises from the bottom after being immersed in a bowl of water, it is probably about three weeks old.
- Eggs floating on the surface are too old and not good to eat. If the egg floats, you probably have a rotten egg on your hands.
Second method: Shake test
Bring the egg closer to the ear. Shake it gently and listen. If you hear a beating sound, it is best not to use that egg cause there is a big chance you have a rotten egg. If you hear no sound, the egg should be safe to eat – you have a fresh egg.
Third method: Cracking eggs
Crack an egg on a plate and watch the yolk and white.
- If the yolk has a protruding round shape like a globe, and the egg white is narrow, the egg is fresh and safe to eat.
- If the yolk is a little flattened, and the egg white is still thin around it, the egg is a bit older but good to eat.
- If the yolk is entirely flat, and the egg white spills and leaks almost like water, the egg is old, and it’s best to toss it away.
Can you eat expired eggs?
The answer to is it safe to eat expired eggs is, in short, yes – it can be. Eggs typically stay safe 3 to 5 weeks after the expiration date, but only if stored correctly. If you properly keep eggs, they can be perfect even after expiration.
However, if the eggs are not stored properly or are contaminated, they can be spoiled and contain harmful bacteria. Eating such eggs can cause you health problems. For this reason, it is crucial to distinguish between expired eggs that are good and expired rotten eggs.
However, some groups should, in any case, avoid consuming eggs that are expired. These are younger children, older people, pregnant women, and people with a compromised immune system. Due to the possibility that eggs contain salmonella bacteria, it would be wisest to avoid expired eggs or raw eggs for these groups of people.
What happens if you bake with expired eggs?
If you are baking with eggs that are expired, which you have estimated safe to use (methods described above), the recipe you prepare should be perfect.
However, keep in mind that an expired egg can look perfect and still be very dangerous. Not only can you get sick from a rotten egg, but the whole recipe you prepare will take on an unpleasant odor and become unusable. If you notice the slightest smell change when you crack the egg, throw it away.
How fresh do eggs need to be for baking?
How fresh eggs you should use depend on the recipe. For example, if you cook eggs or make an omelet or scrambled eggs, it won’t be a problem if you have on your hands older eggs. However, if you are making a cake for which it is crucial to beat the eggs well so that they aerate and the mixture rises during baking, the freshness of the eggs is essential.
Fresh eggs will give the best result in raising the cake. When it comes to cakes, especially those that should be light and airy, choose eggs that are a maximum of a week old. Do not use eggs older than two weeks for desserts such as Vanilla Cake or Vanilla Cupcakes.
Pavlova, a cake based on whipped egg whites, has dried white crusts as light as air, just like meringues. It is necessary to use as fresh eggs as possible for those two specialties.
Mousses and soufflés are also desserts based on beaten egg whites, so using as fresh eggs as possible is necessary.
Does freshness of an egg affects baking?
Eggs create structure and moisturize any batter for baked goods, which is indispensable when baking. However, does the freshness of eggs change the taste or texture of pastries and desserts?
When preparing omelets, scrambled eggs, egg salad, or egg sandwiches, the freshness of eggs greatly influences their taste. A fresh egg has a more robust flavor than an older egg. When you use eggs in baking, their freshness will not significantly impact the taste. It is more important to use quality butter, sugar, or vanilla essence, which masks eggs’ taste.
When the eggs are white, the egg whites thin. The sham you get by whipping fresh eggs is higher when eggs are fresh. That is why it is best to use as fresh eggs as you can find for recipes that require good aeration of the mixture.
How long are eggs good for baking after the expiration date?
As we mentioned, eggs, if well stored, will remain usable for three to five weeks after the expiration date. In that time window, you can use them for baking or cooking.
When you break an egg, if it has changed color or smell, it signifies that the egg is spoiled. In that case, you’re risking food poisoning, and it will be best to throw it away. Food poisoning by eating rotten eggs due to salmonella bacteria can cause many health complications, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, cramps, fever, nausea, etc.
If there are no signs of spoilage on the egg, feel free to use it for the recipe you are making.
Is there a difference between “Sell by”, “Use by” and “Best by” labels on eggs packaging?
There is a difference between labels on egg packages, according to food safety experts from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service of food dating:
|Sell by||The date that tells the store how long can display the product for sale|
|Use by||The last date recommended for using the product while it is in best quality.|
|Best by||Product will remain best flavor or quality until the best by date.|
Tip: Always look for a three-digit number on the egg carton. This date on the carton references what day of the year the egg was packed. If you see number 005 that means the egg was packed on January the 5th. If you see number 365, the egg was packed on December 31. Eggs are considered fresh for several weeks after this date (to be more precise, up to 4 weeks).
Do farm fresh eggs have expiration date?
Fresh farm eggs do not have the same shelf life as the eggs you buy in the store. So how do you know how long you can use fresh farm eggs? It’s longer than you think. Fresh eggs from the farm can stand on the shelf in the pantry, at room temperature, for up to a month and preserve perfect quality.
Fresh farm eggs can also expire and go bad, but slower than store-bought eggs.