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How to tell if eggs are good?

15 Dec 2016How to

This might seem like a stupid question. Everyone knows that poultry farmers check their nesting boxes daily for eggs and therefore, there is no chance that an egg would go bad under the farmer’s watchful eye. However, on the contrary, eggs do indeed go back. Some young chicken which has not learnt to use their nesting boxes lay their eggs in unknown places on the farm and when the poultry farmer eventually discovers them, they have stayed out for too long and probably gone bad. Egg retailers or consumers might also find themselves in the unfortunate situation of possessing an egg carton whose sale by date is way gone. Bad eggs are unpalatable. They have a pungent, rotten smell as well as an unsightly, disgusting egg yolk. It is, therefore, important that one learns a method of testing whether an egg is good before they cook them.

Are there Tests One can Use to Tell if Eggs are Good and Fresh?

There are three sure ways of testing an egg for freshness. Fortunately, two of the most recommended methods do not involve breaking the egg. The methods are:

  • The Float Test.
  • The Candle Test.
  • The Break in Bowl and Sniff Test.


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The Float Test

The float test is the most used and recommended method for testing an egg for freshness. The only requirement you need is to have a gallon of fresh water. Plus, a keen eye of course.

  1. Have a gallon full of fresh water at the ready.
  2. Dip your eggs slowly into the water and watch. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom and rest horizontally. Eggs which are a few days to going bad will sink but rest vertically. Rotten eggs will float on the water.

Student ask: Can the Float Test Fail?

The float test will not be effective when one is using salty water. This is because salty water is dense and makes all eggs float whether they are fresh or bad. In case you do not have fresh water available, use the candle or break in bowl and sniff test.

Students FAQ: How Does the Float Test Work?

The float test work in that as egg ages, the air space at the end enlarges. This gives the egg enough buoyancy to float on water. Fresh eggs have a tiny airspace. They are therefore able to sink and rest horizontally at the bottom. Eggs that have stayed for quite some time will sink but rest vertically since their airspace is big. Rotten eggs, however, have the biggest airspace and therefore will float.

The Candle Test

As the name suggests, the candle test for egg freshness involves illuminating your egg shell with a candle light or flashlight in a dark room. The method works depending on how thick or spotted your egg shell is. If it is too thick or spotted, you will not be able to use the method.

  1. 1. Shine the light source next to the large end of the egg. If the contents of the shell do not fill it up, then it is not a fresh egg. You can apply a mantra that my grandmother loves quoting: the larger the egg air pocket, the older the egg.
  2. 2. For a fresh egg, the contents do not move freely even when you tilt. This is because it has a small air space. For a rotten egg, however, the contents move freely since there is a lot of air space.


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The Break in Bowl and Sniff Test

If you are unable to determine whether an egg is fresh from the above two methods, you can turn to the break in bowl and sniff test as a last resort. For one, a rotten egg is hard to break because it has a tough membrane. When you eventually break it, stinky rotten content will spew from it. Fresh eggs are odourless, have a bright yellow yolk plus a clear, viscous egg white. Eggs that have stayed for a longer time will have a darkened yellow egg yolk and a less viscous egg white.

Can the Three Methods be used to Test for Egg Fertility?

The one sure way of testing egg fertility is using the candle light test. When you shine a light at one edge of the egg, you will see red lines running across the egg contents. These are blood vessels forming.


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