How to Test If Eggs Are Fresh – A Simple, Failsafe Technique

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Want to know how to test if eggs are fresh?  Right this way for a really simple technique so that you never unnecessarily waste an egg again.

Reducing our food waste is a really easy way to take action on climate, which almost anyone can do, regardless of income. It’s also incredibly impactful. It has quite scarily been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

This is because globally one-third of greenhouse emissions come from growing our food. However, across the globe, a staggering 30% of food produced is wasted. This works out at a colossal 1.8 billion tonnes of food waste each year. If we avoided this waste, 8% of our total greenhouse gas emissions would be slashed. It’s a no-brainer.

The Scale of the Egg Waste Problem

When it comes to eggs, in the UK alone we bin 720 million eggs a year. A large proportion of this waste is, according to Wrap, the government’s waste advisory body, due to confusion around the best before dates printed on eggs. Their research showed that 29% of Britons throw away eggs because they are past their best before date. However, eggs are often still perfectly safe to eat long after the date on the packaging has passed. 

egg fresh test

How To Test If Eggs Are Fresh

The good news is that it is really easy and safe to test if your eggs are fresh.  It’s a really handy tip to keep up your sleeve so that you can avoid binning perfectly edible eggs.

I’ll admit, I was one of the 29% who used to throw their eggs away when the date on the box was up. However, when my other half and I first moved in together he showed me a great tip to test if your eggs are fresh or not. It hasn’t failed us in over 16 years, so I thought I’d share it with you today.

To test if eggs are fresh simply take your egg and gently place it in a large glass of cold water. You’ll want to observe whether the egg sinks to the bottom or floats to the top.

egg glass water test
It sank so it’s safe to eat!

You can tell if your egg is good to eat quite easily. Eggs suitable for eating will sink to the bottom of the glass.

Meanwhile, eggs that float to the surface have gone off and must not be eaten.  Off eggs float because pockets of air form in them as the egg goes off, making them float in water.

What Else To Look For When Testing Eggs

The beauty of this test is that it’s really easy to tell if your eggs are fresh, and therefore safe to eat. However, if you are in any doubt about the freshness of your eggs and the results of this test, then there are a few further tests that you can make to make sure your eggs are fresh:

Sniff Eggs To Tell If They Are Fresh

If you are in doubt about the float test, then you can sniff your eggs to see if they are fresh. The smell of the egg, once you’ve cracked it open, will let you know if the egg is suitable for consumption. If you’re not sure what rotten egg smells like, then it’s quite a sulfurous smell, not too dissimilar to a really bad fart! You really can’t miss the smell when an egg is off. If you do detect a bad odour, then don’t eat the egg.

The Visual Inspection

If you are still in any doubt after both the float and sniff test, then take a look at the eggs once you’ve cracked them open to help you tell how fresh they are. Visually, if the egg is off then the yellow yolk will also be lying flat, rather than slightly raised. In an off egg, the albumen – the clear part of the egg – will also be very runny, almost like water. If your egg has any of these properties then it’s not safe for consumption.

With any egg past its best before date, do ensure it’s cooked thoroughly before eating, due to the risk of salmonella.

But Are The Eggs Really Ok To Eat?

testing an egg to see if it is fresh

I took these photos on the 28th of July. So even though my egg says best before 11th July this egg test suggests the egg is fresh and it’s still safe to eat.  

I admit I did feel sceptical the first time I tried this test out. Thankfully, I’m pleased to report that I didn’t get ill. And, actually, I have never been ill from an egg since we moved in together thirteen years ago. So my how-to test if eggs are fresh method is tried and trusted, let me assure you of that!  And even the NHS says you can eat eggs after their best before date.  Again, just cook it thoroughly.

Would you eat an egg past its expiration date?  Or do you have any other food tips?  Do share in the comments below!  And do check out my failsafe tip on how to tell if milk is bad, and the difference between best before and use-by dates.

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