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       Volume I - March 28, 2008

How to Tell if an Egg is Bad
by Alice Osborne

It happened to me again last week. I wanted to make some scrambled eggs and as I reached for the carton, I wondered how long I had actually had those eggs in my refrigerator. The date, normally pressed so nicely on the side of the carton, was illegible.

Hm-m-m, what to do. Never fear! Those and other questions are nicely answered right here at DVO.

How to check the “freshness” of your eggs:

1. Place the egg into a bowl of water. The water level should be deeper than the egg's length.

2. Observe what the egg does.

  • Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of the bowl and lie on their sides.

  • Slightly older eggs (about one week) will lie on the bottom but bob slightly.

  • If the egg balances on its smallest end, with the large end reaching for the sky, it's probably around three weeks old.

  • Eggs that float at the surface are bad and should not be consumed.

    3. Crack the egg open and look carefully.

  • Blood spots (also referred to as "meat" spots) don't signify a bad or fertilized egg. It's caused by a ruptured blood vessel during the formation of the egg. Since blood spots are diluted as the egg ages, their presence actually means you have a fresh egg. You can eat it safely, or remove the blood spot with the tip of a knife, if it makes you feel better.

  • Stringy, rope-like strands of egg white are chalazae which are present in every egg to keep the yolk centered. They're not a sign that the egg is bad or fertilized, and they can be consumed safely or removed.

  • An egg white that is cloudy or has a yellow or greenish cast to it is caused by carbon dioxide not having had enough time to escape from the shell and is especially common in fresh eggs.

    4. Smell the egg. With time, bacteria break down the proteins in the whites of the egg and create a gas. This gas is hydrogen sulfide, better known as "rotten egg gas."

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