How to Store Eggs

Eggs 2title

Refrigerating:

Eggs will keep for much longer if refrigerated than if kept at room temperature, as they often are in other parts of the world.  In the United States, eggs are typically washed much more thoroughly than those in Europe.  While this is fine from a hygienic standpoint, it also means that the eggs’ natural protective coating is washed away, making refrigeration necessary.

Many refrigerators have a built-in egg tray inside the door. It  is convenient, but it is not the best place to store eggs.  Every time you open the refrigerator, the temperature rises slightly, and items near the door suffer the most pronounced effect.  A low shelf towards the back of the refrigerator makes for better egg storage.

There is conflicting advice on whether eggs are best stored in their cardboard cartons or in airtight containers.  Either is fine, and the cardboard cartons are admittedly more convenient to use.  If using the cartons, store the eggs away from foods with strong odors, as the shells are fragile and permeable and will take on the smells of the foods around them.

Refrigerated Storage Time: Up to 3 or 4 weeks.  To determine if the eggs are still fresh, try this water test from Bon Appetit.

Freezing:

Do not freeze eggs in the shell.  As they freeze, the liquid will expand, and cleaning up exploded eggs in the freezer is no fun.  Instead, crack and separate the eggs. The egg whites can be frozen in airtight containers with just a little empty space on top to allow for expansion. The yolks can also be frozen, but you’ll need to mix in 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar per cup of yolks so that they aren’t pasty and unappetizing when you defrost them.

This way, a recipe that calls for egg whites only provides yolks for another day’s batch of ice cream.  Or a recipe that calls for just the yolks leaves you with whites for another day’s candied pecans.

Frozen Storage Time: Up to 1 year.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting! I didn’t know that about eggs being stored without refrigeration in other places, and it being possible because of the egg retaining its coating. Have you ever bought pasteurized eggs? I bought my first dozen last week– handy when you want to use a raw egg white and are concerned about the food safety.

    • Julie says

      I’ve had them, but I don’t think they sell them near me. I have to admit — I use local raw eggs for mayonnaise and such!

      • says

        I do, too. Finding this dozen cage-free pasteurized eggs was kind of a fluke at the grocery outlet, ordinarily I don’t see them. When I’m using eggs raw I put the egg into boiling water for 45 seconds to coddle it slightly first. That ought to cut down on contamination on the outside of the egg for salmonella and such. The outside of the egg is the part that is most often contaminated. But apparently the white can sometimes be contaminated too, so it doesn’t take away all concern.

  2. says

    I live in the UK and I have never stored my eggs in the refrigerator. Do you leave them to come up to room temp before cooking with them or just use them straight from the fridge?

    • Julie says

      Depends on the recipe. Usually cold, unless the recipe calls for them to be at room temperature or I am ahead on my mise-en-place.

  3. Cassandra says

    Soo…assuming the eggs you buy in Jordan are always sold non-refrigerated, how long do they last roughly? Of course, I also rarely see a date on the carton to even know how long they have been there :/

    • Julie says

      I honestly have no idea — depends if they coat them thinly with oil, the temperature they are stored at, etc.

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