How To Tell If An Egg Is Good With The Shake Test

Because of their versatility, eggs are a staple in many people's grocery carts. We use them in baked goods, as a binder for crunchy breadcrumbs, and to whip up hearty breakfasts. With egg prices fluctuating drastically this past year, buying in bulk may seem like a sensible choice if the deal is too appealing to pass up. However, ambitious plans for egg consumption can sometimes leave us with a few that are past their prime.

Eggs have a relatively long shelf life, and can remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to five weeks. Yet, as we replenish our supply with new cartons, an old egg may get pushed to the back, making it difficult to determine whether it's still safe to eat. Since the shell doesn't reveal whether an egg is rotten, a quick shake test can offer some insight into its condition.

While not foolproof, this method involves holding the egg close to your ear and giving it a gentle shake. Silence indicates the egg is probably fresh, and it should be cracked open into a separate bowl to verify its smell and appearance. Conversely, if you hear the yolk and white sloshing inside, the egg is likely old and starting to break down, increasing the likelihood it's gone bad. Proceed with caution and remember: When in doubt, throw it out!

How to keep eggs fresh

Maximize the window to use your eggs by purchasing the freshest available. While the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not require egg producers to include a "sell-by" or "use-by" date on egg cartons, many processors provide this information voluntarily. Before adding a dozen to your cart, examine and compare the cartons, ensuring there's ample time before the eggs reach their expiration.

Avoid buying eggs with cracked shells. Even a hairline fracture can introduce harmful bacteria into the egg, which cannot be detected by smell or sight. If an egg cracks once you are home, transfer it to an airtight container, and make sure to use it within two days.

Upon arriving home, immediately place eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator, usually at the back. Eggs should be stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing eggs in the door, as the temperature fluctuates each time it's opened. Although some baking recipes require eggs to be at room temperature, do not leave them out for more than two hours. This can cause the shell to sweat, allowing moisture to penetrate the porous surface and introduce bacteria. Always remember to wash your hands when handling eggs.