If you’ve got a dozen eggs in your fridge right now and you’re not sure how fresh they are, read on to get the answers! Plus, stick around for some tips on the best ways to cook eggs.
What’s the Shelf Life on Fresh Eggs?
On average, fresh, high-quality eggs can last for between 3 and 5 weeks in the fridge. After this point, they’re not safe to eat and should be tossed out!
If you can’t remember when you bought your eggs, try referring to the “sell by'' date printed on the carton. Store-bought eggs all come with this date, but locally-grown eggs might not have one. If you’re cooking with local eggs and can’t remember when you picked them up, it’s best to play it safe – especially if you think they might be too old to use!
How to Best Preserve Eggs in the Fridge
In order to maintain the shelf life of your eggs for as long as possible, make sure that you put them in the fridge as soon as possible after purchasing them. Keeping them in the carton in which you purchased them, far to the back of your fridge, may help as well. That’s because it will keep them safe from temperature changes that occur as you open and close the fridge.
Can You Freeze Eggs?
In general, it’s not recommended to freeze eggs while they’re still in the shell. If you are looking to extend their lives a little further, you can crack them into a sealable, freezer-safe container. There, they should last nearly indefinitely, although we wouldn’t recommend much longer than a year.
How to Tell if Eggs Have Gone Bad
Besides actually looking at the date on your eggs, there are a few methods that will hint to you whether or not your eggs are still good. These aren’t fail-safes, but they can help if you’re uncertain about your eggs.
First off, check the shell. If there are any suspicious cracks, the egg likely isn’t safe for consumption, and you probably don’t want to risk serving it to your family, especially if you have little ones. The same goes for if the shell is slimy or stinky. It’s just not worth the risk.
If all seems well, crack the egg into a bowl or another container. If there’s a bad smell, you’ll know immediately that your eggs have gone bad. Watch out for unusual discoloration as well.
Now, let’s go over some of the best ways to use your eggs in breakfast dishes!
The Many Ways to Cook an Egg
There’s a myriad of ways to make eggs, and all of them are delicious! As an at-home chef, each of these egg-cooking methods can stay in your back pocket for special breakfasts, or they can become an everyday staple. Try making eggs each of these ways and see which one you like best!
Fried Eggs: Over Easy, Medium, and Hard
This method of cooking eggs is one of the simplest – crack the egg into a pan, flip it over when one side is cooked, then serve it when you decide it’s ready.
Fried eggs are categorized by how much they’re cooked. In general, the best way to determine how thoroughly an egg is cooked is to check the yolk. Eggs over easy have a runny yolk and maybe some runny whites as well. Eggs over medium have a soft yolk that is a bit runny, but not quite as much. For an over medium egg, you’ll brown the whites so that they are fully cooked.
Eggs over hard, the most well-done fried eggs out there, have fully cooked whites and yolks. This means the yolks won’t run at all. Instead, the yolk in an egg over hard is about the same consistency as the yolk in a hard-boiled egg.
Sunny-Side Up Eggs
Another way to make fried eggs is using the sunny-side up method. For these eggs, you won’t flip at any point in the cooking process. Instead, you let one side get brown around the edges, leaving the top of the egg alone.
Sunny-side up eggs typically have a runny yolk, but the whites will be fully cooked in most cases.
The Poached Egg: A Classic for High-End Breakfasts
Poached eggs are one of the key components of Eggs Benedict, one of the fanciest and yummiest breakfasts out there. To make a poached egg, you can use a strainer or a small bowl.
The bowl method is sometimes referred to as “the whirlpool,” and it uses a swirling pot of boiling water. The strainer method involves cracking the egg into a mesh net, then dropping the strained egg into boiling water and scooping it out after it’s cooked. Both of these methods can make delicious poached eggs, and it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer!
Poached eggs have a soft inside that drips over all of the other ingredients in your dish, making a gooey, delicious mess. The most famous use of this type of egg – Eggs Benedict – pairs the runny yolk with Hollandaise sauce, a mix of egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice. The result? A tangy, rich, and decadent topping that pairs perfectly with those runny poached eggs!
Baked Eggs: Maximum Fluffiness
Baked eggs, also known as shirred eggs, are made by cracking each egg into a small dish called a ramekin. The cracked egg is often mixed with butter, heavy whipping cream, spices, and other rich, tasty ingredients. Then, the ramekin gets tossed in the oven at around 350 degrees, allowing the mixture of ingredients to cook fully.
Baked eggs have a fluffy, soft texture, and the added ingredients give them a rich, indulgent flavor. Want to give them a try? Check out JOW’s recipe for Baked Eggs With Salmon! It’s the perfect introduction to this world-famous egg-cooking method.
Basted Eggs: Not Quite Poached, Not Quite Fried
When you make a basted egg, you’ll coat a pan in hot butter, then crack the egg into the sizzling pan. Then, more butter is added to the mix – you’ll spoon it over the top of the egg to cook the whites thoroughly. The egg never gets flipped, which makes this egg-cooking method similar to frying. The key difference is in how the egg turns out. Basted eggs have runny yolks that are ready for dipping, and the whites are light and fluffy.
Hard-Boiled Eggs: Perfect for Snacks and Appetizers
Hard-boiled eggs take just a few steps to make. Instead of cracking an egg into a pan, you’ll drop the whole uncracked egg into a pot of boiling water. Hard-boiled eggs typically cook for around 10 minutes, leaving them with a solid white and a cooked-through yolk.
One of the most common culinary uses for hard-boiled eggs is for creating Eggs Mimosa and other deviled egg variations. These treats are made by hard-boiling eggs, then removing the yolks and putting them into a separate bowl.
For eggs mimosa, you can top off your eggs with chopped bacon. They’re guaranteed to be a hit at your next cocktail party.
Soft Boiled Eggs: Runnier and Perfect for Noodle Dishes
Soft-boiled eggs use the same cooking methods as hard-boiled eggs, but they’re cooked for much less time. The result? A runnier yolk and a more malleable white.
These are the types of eggs that you’ll find perched atop bowls of traditional ramen noodles. They’re also perfect for putting on toast or adding to soups! If you want to get creative with your soft-boiled eggs, give this tasty recipe for Eggs & Soldiers a try! It’s a delicious breakfast that will bring you back to when you were a kid and introduce you to something new if you’re from across the pond!
Scrambled Eggs: Soft or Hard
Scrambled eggs are made by cracking eggs into a separate bowl and whipping them before cooking. Some cooks like to add a little milk or cream to the whipped eggs, making them a bit fluffier.
There are two main categories that scrambled eggs fall into – soft and hard. The difference mainly comes down to cook time – hard scrambled eggs are cooked longer, soft ones are cooked for less time. For a soft scramble, you won’t want your heat to be any higher than medium.
For hard scrambled eggs, make sure that the whites and yolks are thoroughly whipped together before cooking, then cooked all the way through. These scrambled eggs are the standard in many settings, especially diners.
An omelet is a classic egg-based meal made by folding ingredients like meat, cheese, and veggies into scrambled eggs. You can add just about anything to an omelet, but spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese, bacon, and peppers are popular ingredients.
You can make omelets with whole eggs, leaving the yolks in, or just use the whites. Egg white omelets are lower in fat, which appeals to some cooks, but they’ll also be less rich and fluffy.
The frittata is a spin on an omelet that you’ll often find on the menu at a Latin restaurant. Whereas an omelet is folded over to hold the non-egg ingredients, a frittata is open-faced – the ingredients sit atop a bed of scrambled eggs, sometimes on a piece of bread.
Want More Cooking Tips?
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