If you’re anything like most homesteaders that keep chickens, ducks, and other delightful egg layers, you’ve got eggs everywhere. On the counter, in the fridge, in a basket by the back door… and countless other places in between. How long do eggs last in the fridge, though?
Believe it or not, the answer is not as simple as it might first seem. How long eggs last in the fridge depends on a number of factors. These include the age of the eggs, whether they have been cooked, and what the temperature was before they went in the fridge. Here we have collected together some of the most common questions relating to keeping eggs in the fridge. We’ve also shared our best advice on freshness and safety.
How long do fresh eggs last in the fridge?
According to Healthline, fresh eggs can last in the fridge for up to 5 weeks. If you have frozen the eggs, they will actually last much longer. Perhaps even several months.
While fresh eggs that have quickly been refrigerated are usually safe to eat even after several weeks in the refrigerator, you should be aware that the quality declines the longer the egg is in the fridge. You may notice that it is runnier than a fresh egg, or that it is not colored as brightly. That being said, there are still plenty of uses for old eggs, including in baking and salads.
Once you have put eggs in the refrigerator, they shouldn’t be taken out again. That is, until you actually want to use them! And even then, you should cook them as soon as possible. As soon as you let an egg return to room temperature, the pore on the egg shell open up. This can allow bacteria to enter the egg and render it dangerous to eat. This is especially the case if you happen to get the eggs out, and then later put them back in the fridge. If they’ve been at room temperature for several hours, you’re in the danger zone.
As for whether it is necessary to refrigerate farm fresh eggs once you’ve bought them, most experts will recommend that you do. And they recommend you refrigerate them even if you know where they’ve come from. This is because you cannot be 100% sure whether they have been refrigerated in the past. If they have or haven’t, it’s best to chill them in the fridge so that any bacteria is stunted.
How long do eggs last in the fridge past their expiration date?
For many people, the expiration date of an egg is very serious. Everybody knows how sick you can get if you eat eggs that are rotten or otherwise unsuitable for consumption. And that means that many people do take expiration dates very seriously. You may not need to take them that seriously, however. If you refrigerate eggs from the moment you get them home, you’re probably safe.
Let’s say you bought them at the grocery store and then put them in the fridge after a short ride home. In that case, you can probably eat the eggs up to a month or so after the expiration on the packet. This is because you’ve kept them in a safe environment. If, however, the eggs were out in room temperature for a long time or they have been removed from the fridge several times in the past few weeks, then it’s much better to stick to the expiration date.
As with any eggs that you are about to consume, the best thing to do is to check them for cracks, discoloration, and odor. All of these are all signs of potential bacterial infection.
How long do cracked eggs last in the fridge?
There is somewhat of a debate about whether you should eat cracked eggs at all, let alone ones that have been left in the fridge. Opinions on this vary so widely that in the end, if you are following other safety procedures in relation to the egg i.e. making sure it is not odorous or discolored, then the choice is up to you. Many people will eat an egg if it has a slight crack in it. Others will see that as an opportunity for bacteria to get into the egg. As such, the more careful among us prefer to stay on the safe side. Food safety experts recommend that you do not eat an egg that has been cracked.
Once it has cracked, however, putting it in the fridge will not really do much to preserve the safety or freshness of it. In this respect, treat it like any other fresh egg that has been put in the fridge. It will probably last a week or more if the crack is light. That said, you’re better off eating it as soon as possible if you’ve deemed it edible otherwise.
How long do eggs last in the fridge without power?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, eggs last in the fridge without power only for about 4 hours. Food experts issue this as standard advice.
Ever been without power at your homestead? If so, you know how important it is to figure out food safety and preservation as quickly as possible. When that dreaded event happens, it’s not just that you could waste food if you don’t attend to it quickly; it could actually hurt you if you eat food that is no longer safe.
Exactly how long eggs will last in the fridge without power, however, depends on whether they have been cooked or not. Fresh eggs are actually safe unrefrigerated for 5 to 7 days typically. BUT, if they have been refrigerated previously and then are left to go to room temperature, there is a risk that they will sweat. Sweating in turn can cause bacteria to grow. The cutoff point is usually about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Once an egg warms up to anything above this temperature, it will not remain as fresh, and certainly not as safe, for long.
Do not allow a cooked egg to return to room temperature. If you have cooked eggs that have been out of the fridge for more than two hours, you should discard them.
When you remove the eggs from the fridge, look closely at them. If you notice that they are discolored or cracked or have any odor, you should get rid of them regardless of how long the power has been out.
What to do with expired eggs
It sucks having to throw away eggs, especially given all the hard work that chickens do to produce them. That said, just because you know it’s not safe to eat doesn’t mean that there aren’t any uses for it at all.
One of the best things you can do with an expired egg is crack it, disregard discard the contents, and then use the shells. You can use shells for a number of purposes including as organic seed starters for herbs, fertilizer, and grit for your chickens feed. There’s never a need to waste a perfectly useful – if inedible – egg!
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