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It’s easy to tell when some things have gone bad.

But how do you tell if an egg is too “aged”, without cracking it?

It’s confusing because the expiration date marked on the carton isn’t that great a guide. Many eggs are perfectly safe to use after their expiration. So how do you know?

Grandma would tell you to do this simple test. Lower the suspect into a bowl of water, deep enough to cover the egg. If the egg lays on its side on the bottom, it’s very fresh. If it stands on end in the water, it’s less fresh but still fine to eat. If it floats at the top, ew.

Another easy egg trick: Say you’ve hard boiled some eggs, and they’re sitting in the fridge with their friends the uncooked eggs. Pretend you can’t remember which ones are which. Just spin the egg on the countertop (careful!) and observe. If it spins smoothly, it’s hard boiled. If it wobbles, it’s uncooked. (The uncooked egg sloshes around inside the shell when you spin it, causing the wobble.)

Side note: When the Damsel was young, she lived near a chicken farm that sold chipped and slightly cracked eggs to the neighboring country people. The Damsel confesses she ate many of these eggs, reveling in their cheapness and feeling no ill effects. But nowadays, that’s not a great idea, since salmonella seems to be more of a problem than in the good old days. Sigh…

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  • Adrienne

    Yet again, an awesome post! I've been wondering this a lot lately. We buy eggs by the 5 dozen, and sometimes don't use them as fast as we should… Thanks for sharing!

    • the_damsel

      Yeah, that Costco package is tempting, eh? Eggs stay good a pretty long time.

  • Thanks for posting! I knew there was such a test but I could never remember what each egg position meant.

    • the_damsel

      One way to keep it straight is to think that as the egg gets older, it loses mass, so it will float more easily. Hope that helps!

  • What a great tip. I learn something new every day! I'm a new follower from blog frog.

    • the_damsel

      Yay! Come back soon.

  • Thanks, we have our own chickens and that seems to help with the egg problem. In the old days, eggs could be kept safely on the counter for a month. Today, they last much longer in the fridge. We generally eat our eggs long before they could possibly become bad. Thanks for sharing, I am always looking for quick tips that help me in the kitchen.

  • Gross orange pictures. lol Good tips! I just learned the water one about a year and a half ago from a dear friend. Surprisingly, it's come in handy several times since. My brother taught me to spin the eggs when I was little.

  • Amber

    Heheh. I'm laughing at the "floats on the top, ew" part. Well said. : )

  • great tips and ideas, Thank you for sharing. Following you from Blog Frog.

  • Interesting…any idea why salmonella seems to be more prevalent these days?

  • the_damsel

    I looked around for info on this and couldn't really come up with anything solid. My only guess would be that eggs are produced at huge chicken farms now, but one website I looked at said free-range eggs have no better chance of being salmonella-free than any other. One site said the most common cause was chickens eating rat poo. Hmm. Makes me scratch my head.

  • love info like this!!! nasty orange! -kg

  • very nice tips especially that boiled eggs one….now we can know without breaking the eggs that which one is boiled & which one is not……..

  • We eat cracked eggs all the time. They are OK most often.

    Love the nastiness of the overripe orange. It made me want to go & wash my hands…
    🙂 Happy end of August to you! (The kids go back to school next week…we are ready & looking forward to it!)

  • Hey D., visiting from bfff. Is "ewww" the reaction u want when folks visit your site? When I opened the page, the first thing I saw was that disgustingly moldy orange. Ewww, lol! True, a pic IS worth a thousand words. Thanks for the egg tips. Looking forward to following you; also on Twitter. *mwah*

    • the_damsel

      Tammy…you've got a point there. An eyeful of rotten orange isn't too great. Thanks for hanging tough and continuing on.

  • What a useful post! I will use these tips for life! Found you and now following you from blogfrog!

  • Great tips! I was just arguing with someone the other day that eggs were good for long after the expiration date. The don't usually last that long in my house though. Anyway, I am going to share this post with them. I was right! LOL

    • the_damsel

      Thank you. I checked out your site…very cute idea!

  • I can't keep eggs in the house long enough to worry about them being expired. Great tips!
    Have a great weekend!

  • Just visiting from Blog Frog! Thanks for the great tips. I never knew how to check if an egg was still fresh or not.

    Jennifer http://livingachangedlife.blogspot.com/

  • love your egg tricks!

  • This is a great tip. Beside the bad egg floating to the top, you will get that rotten, sulfur egg smell from built-up gas inside the bad egg. ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!

  • I love this tip- so needed in our house. We have an etxra fridge for storage that my hubs & sons never check… so often I buy stuff, store it, they get forgotten by the hubs who tells me we're out of something while we're at store- grrrr— will be using the water trick for sure : )

    ps- FF from BF- have a great weekend!

  • good to know!!! love your blog. stopping in from MMB.

  • I read that eggs that are not as fresh are the best kind for boiling, because fresh egg shells are somewhat harder to remove. I wrote a post about some cool egg tips that I read in a book a few months ago. http://secretsofmom.blogspot.com/2010/05/many-sec

  • The best way to ensure egg freshness is to take them nice and warm out from under the hen who laid it and eat it! And that is super old school!

    Awesome blog Damsel we are all about reviving the old school way of doing things…..old school is the new black!

  • GREAT info, thanks!

  • Thanks for teaching me something new today!

  • I've never thought about the freshness of eggs. We eat them so fast, it is probably not an issue.

    • the_damsel

      Yeah, they stay good for a long time. Whew!

  • Catching up on reading your blog is *such* and education. =)

    • the_damsel

      how have you been? We haven't “talked” for a while.