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What the What-Now? How Old are Those Store Eggs?

May 13, 2019

One of my daughter's good friend says "What the what-now?" I'm not sure if she made it up or got it from someone else, but I thought it was a fitting title for this article. What you read here might come as a bit of a surprise.

So a customer recently asked me how long our eggs would be good. My response was something like... "Well the eggs at the store are already 4-6 weeks old when you buy them, so they will last at least that long." Based on that conversation, I decided to do a little research and see what I could find out.

Here's what I found. Stores have up to 30 days to sell eggs from the date they are packed. In addition, farmers have up to 30 days to pack eggs after they are laid. So store-bought eggs are already potentially 60 days old by the time you buy them. On top of that, they claim the eggs are good for another 4-6 weeks after you buy them. Now we are up to as much as 100 days old by the time you eat them. I had no idea!

Fresh eggs, like the one pictured here, will have two distinct albumens. I know, I know, what is that? The albumen is egg white. You should see one thick part surrounding the yolk and a thin runny part that is fairly liquid. As the egg ages, the thick albumen breaks down and becomes thinner. After a while, you will only be able to see one thin egg white. Crack an egg open on a plate and see what you find.

Another test you can try for older eggs is to submerge them in water. As an egg ages, the air pocket inside becomes larger and will eventually float the egg. If an egg floats, it is dangerously old. I wouldn't eat it.

So when you buy your farm fresh eggs directly from your farmer, you can go ahead and stock up. Even if you buy several weeks' worth at a time, they are sure to be much fresher than any egg you buy at the store.

Stacey Walter

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