Eggs, like bread, have a freshness period Michael. As they age, the whites become thinner and the yolks become flatter. Generally speaking, eggs remain edible for several weeks after they are laid. But for my money, I try to use all my eggs within a week after purchase and I make a point to keep the little guys refrigerated. Eggs lose quality much sooner when stored at room temperature.
I strongly suggest that you not use any eggs after the date on the package, regardless if it's expressed as "EXP", "Sell By" or "Best if Used Before". Old-timers will tell you an egg is bad when you crack it and it smells funny. I think that kind of advice smells funny. Granted, only a small percentage of eggs in the U.S. run the risk of being contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis. To me, it's more a matter of happiness than health, and fresh-tasting eggs always make me happy (say, isn't that a line from a John Denver song?)
Sad to say, neither one of us lives on a farm. Can you imagine getting up in the morning and lifting your favorite hen to get a farm-fresh egg? Well since we cannot have that kind of freshness, let's do the next best thing.
Use your eggs the week you buy them
Poach them, boil them, cook or fry them
Throw them out when they expire
And to the store more eggs acquire
There are a few more verses to that poem but you'll have to wait for my book.
Thanks for the question. Have a great (and fresh) breakfast tomorrow!
A breakfast lover named "Citrus" wrote in regarding this article and described another method for determining if an egg has gone bad: "Put it in water -- with the shell on. If it floats at the top with part of the shell breaking the surface, it's bad." Thanks for the note "Citrus"!
This article was written by Mr Breakfast (aka Eddy Chavey).
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