in the kitchen: how fresh are your eggs?

If it wasn’t for bylaws, I’d be thisclose to setting up a coop in the backyard seeing as how my family eats about 80ish eggs a month. Does that seem excessive? The general reaction when friends and family find out this little tidbit is a sudden jaw drop.

But I did the math and it makes sense. Each of my boys (toddler, preschooler and husband) eat about 2-3 eggs each at roughly 3 breakfasts a week. Add me to the equation, plus baking, plus egg salad lunches, more baking, hardboiled egg snacks for 4 people….it all adds up.

Since we eat them so quickly, I buy them in big ‘ol free-range flats and have never come across a bad egg. I have, however, come across some not-so-fresh ones that didn’t look as happy and healthy as they should. So out of curiosity I googled around for a way to test an eggs freshness (short of cracking it open and sticking your nose in the bowl) and came across some great info to share.

Most grocery stores would like you to believe the eggs arrive within 2-3 days of being layed. Not the case. They’re usually closer to 2 weeks to a month old.

Generally the best before date cannot be 30 days beyond the “packing” date.   Refrigerated raw shell eggs will keep without significant quality loss for about 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date or about 3 weeks after you bring them home.

Fill a deep bowl with water and lower the egg into the water. A very fresh egg will immediately sink to the bottom and lie flat on its side. This is because the air cell within the egg is very small. The egg should also fee quite heavy. As the egg starts to lose it freshness and more air enters the egg, it will begin to float and stand upright. The smaller end will lie on the bottom of the bowl, while the broader end will point towards the surface. The egg will still be good enough to consume. However, if the egg fully floats in the water and does not touch the bottom of the bowl at all, it should be discarded, as it will most likely be bad.

Break the egg onto a flat plate, not into a bowl. The yolk of a very fresh egg will have a round and compact appearance and it will sit positioned quite high up in the middle of the egg. The white that surrounds it will be thick and stays close to the yolk. A less fresh egg will contain a flatter yolk, that may break easily and a thinner white that spreads quite far over the plate.

There’s lots of ideas and I’m not sure which of them work. Seems like some days they peel nicely, other days they don’t. Here’s what I’ve come across:

– add baking soda to pot

– old eggs won’t peel easily

– new eggs won’t peel easily

– leave eggs on counter overnight to boil in the morning

– leave eggs on the counter all the time  (my children would have a hay day!)

– shock them in cold water immediately after they’re done boiling

– bring water (and eggs) to a boil, then cover, remove from heat and let sit for 11 minutes

– add eggs to boiling water and let cook for 12 minutes

– boil eggs then let sit in fridge overnight

– roll the shell under your palm instead of picking at it

– blow the shell off the egg (will have husband try this tomorrow)

Have a tip to add that works for you?  Add it in the comments below!

Testing methods found via.


About Amanda

Amanda Robinson is the eco-chic, green living, fitness loving mom behind Natural Mommie. Since 2009, Amanda Robinson has been the source for moms to learn how to bring more balanced green beauty, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic products into their homes without being too “crunchy” or “granola”. Amanda is passionate about design, wellness and inspiring moms to make more eco-friendly and healthy choices without having to trade in their stilettos for Birkenstocks. In addition to Natural Mommie, Amanda is also the owner and designer behind Top Knot Style - a beautiful collection of handmade oversized luxury knitwear.

13 thoughts on “in the kitchen: how fresh are your eggs?

  1. Great info! Thanks! My inlaws have eggs all summer and we can never peel them after hard boiling because they are so fresh. It kills me to buy eggs in the winter because we eat ALOT of them too. As soon as we move we will have chickens. Cannot wait!!

    1. Good to know! I’ll save hardboiling for the end of the week and maybe that will help. I’m so jealous that you have eggs all summer! My mom does too and it kills me to see her facebook updates about gathering 40 eggs a week! I wish I lived closer!

  2. I have my own chicken coop and love my scrap fed hens’ eggs. It is true. Fresh eggs are great for everything except boiling and peeling. Eggs should be at least 10 days old to peel.

    1. I’m jealous. But in reality I don’t think i’d be able to commit to having a coop…hens live for up to 10 years right? I can handle our dog, but adding 3 hens to the mix might get tricky ;)

      So I think it’s officially confirmed with yours and Becky’s comments – fresh eggs = impossible to peel. On the bright side, at lease the ones I buy from the grocery store are fresh?

  3. We live close enough to a Mennonite community and buy our eggs from them. They are always fresh and the chickens are well fed. Thank goodness for these wonderful people as I would hate to have to buy eggs from the grocery store.
    I have never taken the time to count how many eggs we go through in a month but I will be paying more attention next time around. It seems reasonable to say you eat 80 (give or take) with that many in a house all loving eggs!

    1. I definitely need to search out a mennonite community! I’d much prefer to buy from them versus costco.

  4. Hey Amanda,

    Thanks for this post. By the end of the week, I often run out of lunch meat, so it was egg salad for my daughter’s lunch this morning! I already used your boil, cover and let sit for 11 minutes tip; however I tried your tip for rolling the shell under my palm – bless you for sharing! So much faster and way less messy! Thanks.


  5. Hi Amanda – have you searched out any farmer’s markets near you in Edmonton? Or if you’re near to the edge of the city, any outside of the city? Lots of times there will be farmers bringing eggs since they’re generally a hot commodity. Also, since you know how many you go through, you could probably even pre-order your eggs so you can just go pick them up each week (or two weeks, etc).

    It looks like there’s lots of markets in Edmonton and at least one colony brings eggs….

    Good luck! :)

  6. Great info. I am not an egg person myself so I don’t go through them very quickly. I always wonder about the best before dates and what products you can safely go beyond those dates and which ones you can’t. It’s nice to have other methods for determining the freshness of eggs rather than just relying on a stamp on a carton. Also, the skeptic in me believes that it doesn’t take much to transfer old eggs to a new carton with a different date on it and sell it as newer than they really are… just sayin’!!!

  7. I use the water method when an egg feels suspiciously light.

    When baking I always crack my eggs one at a time into a separate bowl in case of a missed bad egg… or even worse … as egg with a chick inside. (Yeah I haven’t come across one like that since the early 90s…)

  8. I read that fresh eggs are harder to peel once hard boiled. Once I heard this I bought two containers of eggs; the first one I used during the week for fresh eggs, the second one I kept and waited until the following week to boil them and that week bought a fresh dozen, so I always have eggs a week old (from time purchased) to boil. They really do peel easier.

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