Storage Life of Fresh Eggs
The long-term refrigerated storage achievable with eggs makes them one of the most economical of purchases.
Do you enjoy eggs for breakfast — or any other meal? Do you know how long eggs can continue in edible condition in storage?
You need to ensure the eggs you buy retain their nutritious value for the longest possible time. This remains so whether you purchase them at a grocery store, a supermarket or directly from a neighboring farm where they raise chickens. Importantly, check the sell-by date stamped on the cartons at the supermarket or insist on purchasing no more than day-old eggs at the farm. Especially at the supermarket, make the eggs one of the last items of purchase and keep them cool while transporting groceries from store to home. The sooner the eggs take up residence in the refrigerator at home, the longer they will keep.
Eggs properly refrigerated will keep for an amazingly long time. The fresher the eggs when it comes time to cook them the better, of course, but eggs can remain wholesome and perfectly edible for three or four weeks in the refrigerator, sometimes longer. In most refrigerators, the coldest area — outside of the freezing compartment — will be found on one of the lower shelves. (Cold air tends to flow to lower levels in a refrigerator than relatively warmer air.) Putting the eggs here helps guarantee that they will stay cold and remain fresh for a long period of time.
Although eggs normally will keep quite well in the carton, it may pay to take the time necessary to place them in tightly sealed plastic bags after squeezing out as much air as possible from the bags. Over time, air can enter the eggs through tiny pores in the shells and dry out the contents. For instance an egg that has sustained a crack or peck hole, but inadvertently kept with other undamaged eggs, may dry out completely during the time of storage. The plastic bag routine will prove helpful when purchasing multiple dozens of eggs for a large family. Use a black marker pen to label the bags as to date of storage.
When purchasing eggs in bulk numbers, establish an easy-to-follow method for using the older eggs first, except, perhaps, when cooking eggs for guests as a matter of protocol. Selecting the old eggs first for cooking, helps ensure that none of the eggs will remain in the refrigerator long enough to become inedible. Please note that the older eggs likely will peel easier than will the newer eggs when hard cooked.
To prolong the shelf-life of eggs in the refrigerator, try hard cooking a dozen or so of them after the first week of storage. Peel the cooked eggs while still hot (running cold water over them during the process makes this possible) and place them in a sealable plastic bag or plastic bowl having a tight cover. The cooked eggs will stay edible for another week or so when kept cold. The cooked eggs also remain ready to eat out of hand or to be chopped into a salad. The pre-cooked eggs offer another bonus: you can prepare deviled eggs at a moments notice from the supply of hard-cooked eggs.
Bite-for-bite, eggs provide one of the better sources of easily prepared foods that contain the protein people need in their diets. The long-term refrigerated storage achievable with eggs makes them one of the most economical of purchases at the supermarket or farmstead.
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