You don’t need to be an egghead to know how to store eggs and keep them fresh. In fact, all you need is this handy guide from Modern Milkman. Brits chow down on 13.5 billion eggs each year, but they also throw away 720 million. That’s over £139 million of uneaten produce going straight into our bins! The anti-food waste app Too Good To Go blames consumers’ over-reliance on best-before dates. But does the way we store eggs also have an impact?
If you hate the thought of needlessly binning your produce, reduce food waste by following our egg-spert (sorry, couldn’t resist) advice.
CAN EGGS GO OFF? SHELL YEAH!
Despite the amazing quality of our egg delivery, like most items in your cupboards and fridges, eggs can go bad. Eggs are perishable food which means they decay and go off. The quality, freshness and nutritional value of an egg can deteriorate and spoil for several reasons, including:
- Limited shelf life – Spoiler alert: eggs don’t live forever. Eventually, if left to their own devices, they’ll begin to rot and decay.
- Temperature changes – A shift in climate can cause eggs to dry up or gain condensation, making them an all-you-can-eat buffet for mould and bacteria.
- Poor storage – Certain storage methods preserve eggs for longer than others. In fact, some can even accelerate the decaying process. Dun dun dunnn!
If you sense your eggs going off to the dark side, don’t throw them away just yet. You can test the freshness of an egg using a variety of methods, including sniffing, listening (yes, listening!) and dunking it in water. And despite sounding like something from the Salem witch trials, these tests are very reliable.
What are the health risks of eating a rotten egg?
Anyone who’s ever been in a race will know a rotten egg is not something you want to be associated with – and for good reason. Eating gone-off eggs can give you serious food poisoning known as a salmonella infection.
Salmonella is a bacterium that spreads across the entirety of gone-off eggs, yolks ‘n all. A salmonella infection’s symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever and vomiting. In other words, not a fun weekend.
EGG-SACTLY HOW LONG DO EGGS LAST?
Fresh eggs have egg-ceptional staying power – they can last a whole year when stored right. They can only last that long if you freeze them, though. Unfrozen, we recommend keeping an eye on the best-before, use-by and sell-by dates.
EU legislation limits best-before dates to no more than 28 days after an egg is laid. The same legislation limits sell-by dates to a maximum of 21 days. Meanwhile, our friends across the pond, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, say eggs should be used within three weeks for “best quality”.
It’s worth noting that the EU’s legislation – much like the FDA’s guidelines – is based on quality, not safety or prevention against food poisoning. So, how long do eggs last before they’re considered “unsafe” to eat, we hear you ask?
UK Gov says “eggs are safe to eat for a couple of days after the “best before” date. The UK Food Standards Agency, on the other hand, advises against this, claiming “there is a greater chance of harmful bacteria growing in the eggs” after this date.
So, which is it? Should we stick to best-before dates and the Food Standards Agency’s guidance? Or should we be a bit more lenient with the dates stamped on our eggs?
One thing we can all be sure of is that harmful bacteria are the last topping we want on our Saturday morning omelette. So, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to eating eggs. No matter what we learned from Rocky Balboa.
Our eggs-pert advice is to:
- Stick to the dates recommended on the packaging
- Test your eggs before eating them
- Follow our egg storage advice to ensure maximum freshness and minimum waste
The best way to store eggs
The storing of eggs in your fridge in their original packaging is the best way of keeping them eggs-tra fresh (we’re loving these egg puns). This will keep them at a consistent temperature, staving off spoilage and slowing bacterial growth. A temperature of 4°C or lower will ensure your eggs stay fresh and delicious. And keeping eggs in their original packaging will protect their pores from being infiltrated by their new, perhaps stronger-smelling neighbours in the fridge.
A bonus of keeping them in their original packaging is that you also have a reminder of their use-by dates. If you have space, a shelf on the inside of your fridge is the prime chilling spot for your eggs. While many people prefer to have them in an easily and quickly accessible spot on the door, the temperature of this area fluctuates as you delve in and out of your fridge throughout the day.
If you’re hoarding multiple packs of eggs, store the older ones at the front so that you use these first. Otherwise, you may risk needlessly wasting food.
STORING OF EGGS QUESTIONS
Why aren’t eggs refrigerated in shops?
Eggs aren’t refrigerated in shops because this would cause condensation on your journey home. The shift in temperature from the fridge to your basket or trolley and then back to your fridge again would invite condensation and attract bacteria.
How long can eggs last in the fridge?
Eggs can last for up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge before they begin to perish.
How to store egg yolks?
If you’ve separated your yolk and egg white, you can keep your yolk fresh by leaving it in the fridge. Just beat it (MJ lyric unintended) with a fork and put it in an airtight container.
So, how long do egg yolks last in the fridge? Separated egg yolks can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.
How to store egg whites?
Okay, now this is getting beyond a yolk (sorry, not sorry). Leftover egg whites should be kept in your fridge in a sealable bag or airtight container. You can also freeze them for up to three months, providing they’ve not been frozen before.
How long do egg whites last in the fridge? Egg whites last for up to two days in the fridge. Any longer than this, and they’ll start to go bad.
EGGS AT MODERN MILKMAN
At Modern Milkman our regular egg delivery means you can have a constant supply of farm-fresh, free range eggs at your doorstep. Get started with our milkround and set up at least one weekly recurring order and pick the delivery days that work best for you. Our milkies will do the rest!
Fancy reading some more recipes? Head over to our blog section to read and pick up tips on how to keep certain foods and drinks fresher for longer too. Also, read all about our milkround and find out how it works!