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Jul 28, 2007 12:08 PM

How old is the average supermarket egg?

I've been told 3-4 months. Can anyone confirm this?

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  1. Pfeh, that sounds crazy. Eggs /will/ hold a good long time, but here's the test:

    Fill a tub with water and put your egg in.

    If it lays flat, it's pretty fresh and should have the best taste for fried/scrambled/etc.

    If it stands up a little at one end, it's starting to get a bit stale and is best boiled or used in baking/cooking.

    If it stands vertically but is still touching the bottom, use it pronto to boil or bake; if using in cooking, break it into a separate bowl and check for green yolk or weird smell. (it's the worst to ruin your cookies by breaking a rotten egg into them.)

    If it floats, it is quite old and probably rotten.

    Also, older eggs are really easy to shell after you boil them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Schmitt

      People keep saying that older hard-boiled eggs shell easier, but I buy and boil eggs every week, and I've never noticed that to be true. I've had 2-week old eggs from the back of the fridge be hard to peel, and yesterday's pick from the farmer's market peel as easy as can be. For me, the secret is to soak them in cold water before refrigerating.

      1. re: Loren3

        Two weeks is practically fresh around my parents' house ;)

        I think it has to do with the little rubbery skin between the shell and the egg - in older eggs that seems more separated and then the shell peels right off with it. If I can get a handle on that thing with a fresh egg, it peels pretty easily too.

    2. I don't think they're quite that old. I buy them at my local "dairy"/ convenience store. Maximum time from chicken to shelf is 3 days.

      1. USDA requires a pack date and eggs can't be sold more than 4 to 6 weeks beyond the pack date. It normally, I believe, takes a few days to go from the egg being laid to the supermarket.

        1. If the eggs are USDA graded eggs, which supermarket eggs usually are, they have to follow the USDA rules and carry code dates for purposes of rotating stock or controlling inventory. Eggs are usually packed within 1 to 7 days from the day they are laid. They can take differing amounts of time to reach supermarket shelves depending on transportation and warehousing systems. Quality can vary depending on how they are handled during shipment and storage.
          Here's an explanation of the date coding system for USDA graded eggs
          If you're buying eggs from farmers' markets or any other ungraded eggs, you're on your own and you just have to make sure that you know and trust your supplier.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense

            Notice that the date codes refer to when the eggs were packed not when they were laid. I have read that eggs can be stored almost indefinitely under the right conditions.

              1. re: ccbweb

                A number of years ago the Canadian TV network had a documentary on the subject. If you Google and ignore all the human egg storage stuff you will find articles on freezing eggs. storing in nitrogen and oil coating. Key is to prevent oxygen from reaching the shell.

              2. re: mexivilla

                I buy eggs only to bake with and I don't do a heck of a lot of baking anymore. They do seem to last indefinitely - I can crack them open after months in the fridge and they look, smell and bake fine.

            1. I know a guy whose parents run an egg farm he told me that from the chickens "nest" to the grocery store is about 3 weeks. I sometimes ask him to bring me eggs from the source,

              1 Reply
              1. re: sweetie

                That is going to vary so greatly from small groceries to regional grocery chains to national ones and then to "branded," specialty, cage-free or organic eggs. That 3-weeks could well have been the case for your friend's family's eggs, but the distribution systems for others could make that substantially less or more.