If you’re like most of us, you’ve sometimes found yourself looking at a few eggs in the fridge and realizing you don’t remember exactly when you bought them. As a few days or so can make a significant difference in freshness, it’s critically important to know the objective signs or marks of a fresh egg. Egg freshness is crucial not only with regard to taste and efficacy in recipes but also nutritional value.
Of course, the easiest thing to do is to look at the date on the carton. That information is useful in determining egg usability. For example, an Eggland’s Best pack will bear an imprint with a date. But you should remember the difference between a SELL-BY date and a Best Before (USE-BY) date.
If it is a SELL-BY date, we suggest that the eggs be used up to 30 days past that date - provided they have been kept refrigerated and are not cracked. If it is a BEST BEFORE (or USE-BY date), the eggs should be used within 2 weeks of that date - again, provided they have been kept refrigerated and are not cracked.
That should be enough for most cases. But let’s say you moved the eggs into your refrigerator rack, or you want to double-check their freshness.
One of the easiest ways to measure freshness is the “float test.” Here’s why it works: since eggshells are porous, eggs lose moisture from inside during storage. The interior contents shrink and create an air cell in the large end of the egg. This makes an egg increasingly more buoyant the longer it is stored. Buoyancy can, therefore, give a general indication of how old an egg is.
In order to test your egg, gently rest it in a cup of water. If the egg is fresh, it will sink to the bottom of the cup. Additionally, its length will remain flat against the bottom. If your egg does not remain flat against the bottom of the cup but rather rears up at one of its ends, it is only semi-fresh. The less fresh your egg is, the more it will float. If the entire egg floats to the top quickly, that is a very bad sign - as far as quality goes. It is important to note that this is a test of freshness and not a safety test. As long as eggs are kept properly refrigerated, eggs will simply dry up during extended storage, rather than spoil or become unsafe.
RELATED VIDEO: The EB Fresh Egg Test
Here’s another useful test. If an egg is at optimal freshness, you will find that when you empty it the yolk is perfectly distinct from the white, so much so that if you use your hands to separate the two components you will find that absolutely no yolk invades the white Additionally, the yolks of fresh eggs have a wonderfully round, defined shape.
Why Is Egg Freshness Important?
You probably already know that fresh eggs taste better, but were you aware that they also offer a greater nutritional benefit? In addition to that, they cook and bake more successfully, making your egg-using recipes more delicious and attractive to the eye.
Fresh eggs can offer higher levels of vitamin D (for better bones and teeth – and especially important in the winter months, when people are exposed to less sunlight), vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids (which are reported to be beneficial to heart health), protein, and other nutrients. As with anything else, as eggs get older their components break down and they gradually lose the things that make them nutritious and delicious. That’s why it’s worth the effort to find and use brands that take that extra step to guarantee freshness. For example, take Eggland’s Best.
In an independent study published in The Journal of Applied Poultry Research, it was found that Eggland’s Best eggs consistently maintain the quality advantages (superior egg white height and yolk color) of remarkably fresh eggs. This is because Eggland’s Best eggs are remarkably fresh. They are not only fresher when you buy them, but they maintain the qualities of a fresh egg for a longer period of time. The study stated that: “The stringent guidelines outlined for hen nutrition and egg processing that is followed by the marketing company of Brand A [Eggland’s Best] eggs were shown in this study to effectively improve and maintain quality of retail shell eggs over time, which is beneficial both to the profitability of companies that produce eggs in this manner and to consumers who purchase these eggs.”
Eggland’s Best is not only renowned for its farm-fresh, USDA-approved eggs, but also for the chicken feeding practices that contribute to the nutritional value of its product. According to the study already mentioned, Eggland’s Best follows “strict standards” with regard to hen feed. Its feed contains superior levels of minerals and vitamins when compared to that used by other companies to produce generic eggs.
Eggland’s Best Eggs Stay Fresher Longer
There are two main reasons why Eggland’s Best eggs are proven to stay fresher than their competition. One is that Eggland’s Best eggs “are placed in refrigerated storage within 24 hours of being laid and are packed within seven days.” This stands in stark contrast to the general minimal practices of the industry, which allows for eggs to remain in storage for as many as 21 days before packing.
The other reason for Eggland’s Best eggs’ longevity is the fact that the hen feed used by the company has superior amounts of minerals and vitamins, which leads to greater eggshell strength. This boosted shell strength allows the eggs to remain fresh for a longer amount of time. The fact that the hen feed does not contain animal fat or by-products is also helpful in this regard
Eggland’s Best eggs are not only superior with regards to freshness, but also intrinsic nutritional quality. Eggland’s Best eggs have lower cholesterol and saturated fat levels than ordinary eggs, and they have greater amounts of lutein, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, Iodine, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5.