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Nick’s Tip: Look, Shake, and Float (Or Toss)

by Nick Vitrano

May is National Egg Month in the United States, but there's never a bad day/week/month for the incredible edible egg. Eggs are the best, and so versatile, but when it comes to eggs, perhaps no food is more misunderstood in terms of freshness. Yeah, the egg carton has a "sell by" date, but what does that really mean? Can you eat eggs beyond that date? Should you eat eggs beyond that date? And if that date is truly a "sell by" date, what is the "use by" date? One week? Two weeks? Two days? It's a great culinary conundrum, and one in which the wrong decision can lead to very unfortunate consequences.

Today's tip: how to know (and what to do) with those eggs.

The Eye Test : Fresh eggs are actually rougher and more chalky in appearance. If the shell is smooth and shiny, it's likely an older egg. Now, that doesn't mean you can't eat it. Crack the egg on a plate. Is the yolk sitting confidently in a white that is gathered around? You're good to go. If the yolk is flat and the white is runny, almost watery in appearance, stay away. So there's that, but I don't know about you, I'm not willing to risk my gastrointestinal well being on an eye test.

The Shake Test : Hold it up to your ear and give that egg a shaky-shake. If you hear sloshing, don't use it. But again, I don't know that I'm all that comfortable with the shake test. I just don't trust my ears to that degree.

The Float Test : Get a bowl of really cold water (about twice the height of the egg). Gently place the egg in the water. A fresh egg will sink. An older, but still good egg, will sink and possibly bob a little. A bad egg will float. It's just that simple.

But the best tip of all when it comes to eggs and that uncertainly...just buy another carton. They're cheap as heck.

Fun fact : did you know you can freeze eggs? Frozen eggs can actually keep for almost a year. If you're really into that kind of thing, you can see how to do it HERE

Tease Image: By Ren West (http://flickr.com/photos/renwest/436827618) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons