How to Check an Egg for Freshness in Just 3 Seconds
There’s nothing better than enjoying fresh eggs with your breakfast or dinner. Eggs are a very healthy food that should be included often in your diet thanks to its many benefits.
While eggs can last in the fridge for a long time, there’s nothing better than buying them fresh and eating them soon after to get the most from them.
The freshest, most high-quality eggs you can buy are without a doubt the ones you find on a farm. Although it’s incredibly simple to find eggs in any grocery store, they’re usually not as fresh as they may seem because the commercial egg industry subjects them to particular processes designed to prolong their freshness so they’ll last longer on the shelves.
Some eggs, for example, are subjected to partial freezing and cold storage for weeks prior to delivery to stores and supermarkets.
While older eggs are still okay for us to eat, they don’t retain the delicious flavor of fresh eggs and when you cook them they don’t turn out as perfect as you may have hoped. But how do you know if they’re fresh or not?
The Julian date
The egg industry in the US and elsewhere requires that egg cartons contain a printed series of numbers ranging from 000 to 365. This number is known as the Julian date, and it indicates when the eggs were cleaned and packed in the carton. If a carton is stamped 000, for example, it means that the eggs were packed on January 1. If it bears the number 213 it means they were packed on August 2.
This date is accompanied by another date that tells you the expiration time limit for selling the carton in question to the consumer. A carton of eggs stamped with the number 015 and the date 2/28 means that the eggs were packed in January 15 and can be sold until February 28, or a month and a half later.
Who would want to buy eggs that are over six weeks old when you can get fresh ones? Surely no one would.
The flotation test to check an egg for freshness
Because you might not always have access to the egg carton to check its freshness, there’s an alternative method that will show you how fresh the egg is that you’re going to consume.
The test simply involves carefully placing the egg into a cup of water. If it’s fresh it will sink and remain at the bottom of the cup.
As eggs age, the more they float in the water. This is because over time, the egg loses fluids through the pores in the shell, causing a decrease in its weight and an increase in the air inside the egg.
Why is it so important to eat fresh eggs?
Just like any other food, the fresher it is the better the taste and the nutritional content. But when buying eggs a lot of people don’t know how fresh they might be because at first glance, they may look very fresh thanks to the preservation process they underwent, like exposure to cold temperatures.
These results are more obvious when you cook older eggs at home and realize that they don’t have the same color and flavor as a fresh egg. Fresh eggs will always have a more pleasant flavor, a darker colored yolk, and the white is easily separated from the yolk instead of being a mixture.
Eggs contain dissolved carbonic acid in both the white and the yolk. Over time, the acid is released through pores in the shell, which causes the pH to increase and with it, certain effects like:
- A loss of consistency
- An yolk that is no longer centered
- The white becomes less clear, losing color over time.
Should you wash eggs?
It’s never a good idea to wash eggs because it can weaken or damage the shell, its protective barrier from microorganisms. When you wash eggs the cuticle is weakened, the part that’s attached to the shell and prevents bacteria from getting inside the egg. If you wash your eggs, you increase your risk of infection.