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One of the most common ingredients in many dishes is eggs. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, eggs are a staple food in many households. However, there are times when you purchase eggs, make a dish and realize something doesn’t seem right. The egg may have a funky smell, a slimy texture, or you may see some discoloration. So, how can you tell if an egg is bad? That’s precisely what we are going to explain in this article.
In this comprehensive guide, we will take a closer look at eggs and how to spot a bad one quickly. We will also provide you with tips to help you store eggs correctly to prolong their shelf life. By the end of this article, you’ll be an expert in spotting bad eggs and keeping your family safe from the potential health risks.
The Anatomy of an Egg
Before we dive into how to tell if an egg is bad, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of an egg. An egg has three primary parts: the yolk, the albumen (egg white), and the shell. The eggshell’s primary function is to protect the egg’s contents from external bacteria and prevent moisture from escaping.
The yolk is the yellow round part of the egg, and it contains vital nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. The albumen is the clear, white part of the egg that surrounds the yolk.
Now that we understand the basics let’s dive deeper into how we can tell if an egg is bad.
How to Tell If an Egg Is Bad: 7 Proven Methods Explained
1. Inspect the Eggshell
The first thing you should do when you pick up an egg is to inspect its shell. A good egg should have a clean, smooth surface with no cracks. If an eggshell is cracked or has visible holes, it’s best to discard it.
When you run your fingers over the shell, it should feel slightly grainy, not slimy or damp. A slimy eggshell is a clear sign that the egg has gone bad, and it’s not advisable to eat it.
2. Check the Expiry Date
Most eggs come with an expiry date stamped on them. The date indicates the number of days after packaging that the eggs will remain fresh. It’s essential to check the expiry date before purchasing or consuming eggs. If an egg has already passed the expiry date, it’s likely bad and not safe to eat.
3. Conduct a Float Test
The float test is another effective way to determine if an egg is bad. Fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg in it. If the egg sinks and lies flat on the bottom of the bowl, it’s still fresh. However, if the egg stands on end or floats, it has likely gone bad.
4. Sniff the Egg
One of the most obvious signs of a bad egg is the smell. When an egg goes bad, it emits a foul odor due to the sulfur content inside. To conduct the sniff test, hold the egg close to your nose and take a whiff. If it smells rotten or eggy, it is not safe to eat.
5. Crack the Egg
If you’re still unsure if an egg is bad, try cracking it open. A fresh egg’s yolk should be plump and round, and the white should be clear and thick. A bad egg will have a thin and runny white, and the yolk will break easily.
6. Observe the Egg White and Yolk
You can also tell if an egg has gone bad by observing its texture. A fresh egg’s white should be clear and its yolk slightly translucent. If the egg white appears cloudy or the yolk darker, it’s best to discard the egg.
7. Conduct a Candling Test
Candling is a process for examining the quality of an egg by placing it in front of a light source. Candling is a test used by farmers to check the egg’s freshness and quality. When conducting a candling test at home, you will need a flashlight or a table lamp.
Hold the egg up to the light and examine it closely. If the egg is fresh, you should see a small air pocket and the yolk’s outline. However, if the egg has gone bad, you will notice a larger air pocket, and the yolk might have moved away from the center.
Table: Identifying Bad Eggs
|Signs||Good Egg||Bad Egg|
|Expiry date||Within date range||Past the expiry date|
|Eggshell||Clean and smooth||Cracked, slimy or damp|
|Float test||Sinks and lies flat||Floats or stands on end|
|Smell||No smell or faint eggy scent||Rotten or sulfuric odor|
|Cracked egg||Thick and clear white, plump yolk||Thin, runny white, and broken yolk|
|Egg white and yolk||Clear and slightly transparent||Cloudy white, and darker yolk|
|Candling test||Small air pocket, and the yolk’s outline is visible||Air pocket is larger, and yolk is not centered|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I eat eggs that are past the expiry date?
It’s best to avoid eating eggs past their expiry date. They may have gone bad and can cause food poisoning.
2. How long can you store eggs in the refrigerator?
Eggs can last up to four weeks when stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 35°F to 40°F.
3. Can I freeze eggs?
Yes, you can freeze eggs. Break them into a bowl and whisk them together before freezing. Ensure you use a container that’s good for freezing.
4. Can I tell if an egg is bad by looking at the yolk?
Yes, you can observe the yolk to tell if an egg has gone bad. An egg with a bad yolk is cloudy and has a darker color.
5. Can I eat an egg that’s cracked?
No, it’s not advisable to eat a cracked egg. A crack on the eggshell can provide a direct route for bacteria to enter the egg.
6. How do I keep my eggs fresh for longer?
Store eggs in the refrigerator at a temperature between 35°F to 40°F. Ensure the eggs are in their original carton and keep them away from strong-smelling foods.
7. Can boiled eggs go bad?
Boiled eggs can go bad. It’s best to store them in the refrigerator for a maximum of one week.
8. Can I tell if an egg is good or bad by smelling it?
Yes, a bad egg will have a strong and unpleasant smell. If the egg smells rotten or sulfuric, it’s best to discard it.
9. Can I use an egg that has a bloodspot?
Yes, you can use an egg with a blood spot. It’s safe to consume, and it won’t affect the egg’s flavor.
10. How do I store hard-boiled eggs?
Store hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator in a container or an airtight bag. Ensure you peel them before storing.
11. Why does an egg float when it’s bad?
When an egg goes bad, it produces gas due to bacterial growth inside the shell. This gas makes the egg more buoyant, making it float in water.
12. Can I still use an egg with a crack if I cook it immediately?
No, it’s not advisable to use an egg with a crack. Once the egg is cracked, bacteria can quickly enter and contaminate the egg.
13. Can I use a frozen egg to make an omelet?
Yes, you can use frozen eggs to make omelets. However, it’s best to thaw them first in the refrigerator before using them.
Conclusion: Take Action to Keep Your Family Safe
We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the necessary knowledge to tell if an egg is bad. Knowing how to identify good and bad eggs is essential to keep you and your family safe from food poisoning.
Remember to check the eggshell, expiry date, conduct a float test, sniff the egg, crack it open, observe the yolk and egg white, and conduct a candling test to determine if the egg has gone bad.
Ensure that you store your eggs correctly in the refrigerator and away from strong-smelling foods to prolong their shelf life. If you’re still unsure, it’s better to be safe than sorry and discard the egg.
Don’t take any chances, use this article as a guide, and take action to keep your family healthy and safe.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or professional advice. If you have any medical concerns or questions, please consult with a healthcare professional. The information provided in this article is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication.