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Keeping hard boiled eggs

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  • tusti Nov 15, 2007 05:59 AM

How long is it safe to keep unshelled hard boiled eggs in the fridge?

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  1. I give mine an icewater bath immediately after they've cooked and shell them as soon as they've cooled to prevent that greenish tint and sulphur smell. Then I put the shelled eggs into a ziplock and store for up to a week. They probably won't kill you after a week, but they start to lose some moisture.

    1. I don't shell mine after cooking, and I usually keep them for around two weeks or so, sometimes longer. They do degrade in quality after about a week, though. If I wanted deviled eggs, I'd use less than a week boiled eggs. For tuna and egg salad (like I just made for dinner last night), I've been known to use them up to two or three weeks old. So long as they don't smell bad, they should be fine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Morganna

        I don't shell mine either and I keep them around for a week.

        Katerina
        http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com

      2. i don't shell, and have used them maybe two weeks after hard cooking. (i had forgotten about some, and they were quite old, but they didn't smell. they were basically dessicated inside! yikes.

        tip for marking which eggs are hard cooked: run a pencil lightly around the diameter of the shell to mark it, and write boiled on the shell. then shell keeps egg safe! (some people slightly crack them, but then they degrade faster -- i'd use within 1 or 2 days if cracked.)

        5 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          You can also write the day you made them on the shell, in case you forget.

          1. re: MMRuth

            mmruth, very wise (considering this last escapade! even the crows didn't want those eggs, and that's saying a lot!)

            1. re: alkapal

              A tip from my mother!

          2. re: alkapal

            When my kids were small, I added a few drops of food coloring and a splash of vinegar to the water and the boiled eggs were colored instead of white.

            1. re: MakingSense

              that is a great idea. then it is really obvious which eggs are cooked!

          3. I've often kept them 7 days. I am a creature of habit, I only cook them on weekends, so a week is it for me. Cook about 8 for us that way there's no problem they won't be used.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet

              Chef chicklet. You and I sound a lot alike! When I go through my hard boiled egg kick...I do about 8 on the weekend and then only keep them for about 7 days, if they are not eaten, they go out to the compost pile.

              1. re: Springhaze2

                Ha Ha!! Oh you are correct!
                A person only needs to get food poisoning once in their life to not push it when it comes to food. A big joke in our house is "hey taste this milk, and then tell me what you think" HA! No Way!

                1. re: Springhaze2

                  We do hardboiled eggs which leave well before the end of the week, but I find them tough at the end. Does leaving them in the shell help that?

                  1. re: dutchdot

                    Honestly dutchdot, the eggs never make it to Friday. But even so, they are not tough at all. DH loves to take them in his lunch (1 or 2) he peels then throws them in a ziploc and salts and peppers them.
                    If we have a salad, which yes is normal, I grate them or slice them. I snack on them for lunch, so come Friday, they're gone. 8 seems to be the magic number. I can make a deviled egg salad on toast for breakfast, or douse it with soy sauce and chive. Eggs, better than potato chips!

            2. when jfood started reading the responses his mouth went agag thinking someone would keep an hard boiled egg for a week. jfood normally throws them out (actually he makes a really nice egg salad sandwich) after three days.

              But it appears that jfood is the outlier. He could never convince mrs jfood to eat a week old hard boiled egg.

              17 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                Just offering some food facts here, do with them what you will.

                According to the American Egg Board: Scientists estimate that, on average across the U.S., only 1 of every 20,000 eggs might contain the bacteria. So, the likelihood that an egg might contain Se is extremely small – 0.005% (five one-thousandths of one percent). At this rate, if you’re an average consumer, you might encounter a contaminated egg once every 84 years.

                According to the CDC: In affected parts of the United States, we estimate that one in 50 average consumers could be exposed to a contaminated egg each year. If that egg is thoroughly cooked, the Salmonella organisms will be destroyed and will not make the person sick.

                One of the key phrases there is "in affected parts of the US".

                The bottom line is, the chance that a specific egg you've purchased is going to have the bacteria inside it are very low. You should always dispose of cracked eggs right away, but whole eggs with no cracks in an area not known for a lot of bacteria outbreaks, and especially eggs purchased locally from smaller producers, are not going to harm you, even if consumed raw, so long as you observe basic safe handling standards.

                But even IF you got an egg with the bacteria inside it, hard boiling it would absolutely kill the bacteria, and so the egg would be completely safe.

                Eggs keep for weeks, even when they're not boiled. There is nothing whatsoever that is dangerous about keeping hard boiled eggs for so long.

                1. re: Morganna

                  jfood is a statistician by training so he gets the nums all too well and appreciates the stats.

                  So here's a question that always puzzled him. You go to the grocer and pick out some chicken and see a "sell by" date that's well into the future, say 7 days. You take it home and place in the fridge. If, after 2 days, you have not cooked it, do you throw it out? How about 3? Now let's take to the extreme. The day of "sell by" arrives and you open up the package. Jfood experience is that it smells horrible and immediately placed in the disposal.

                  So even when the "sell by" date is a week in the future, if it stays 2 days in the fridge, it's down the drain.

                  Reality versus statistics and data in casa jfood.

                  1. re: jfood

                    Chicken isn't eggs. :) Eggs are a self-contained package that, as long as the shell is not cracked and the bird was healthy, is pretty much sterile inside.

                    The condition of meats in our country, however, are not anywhere near as clean, and meat, by its nature, decays much more rapidly :)

                    Unless I'm buying something today for a special meal today or tomorrow, all my meats go immediately into the freezer, quality be damned. :) I tend to buy my meats in large packages and break them up for freezing because I take advantage of the sales. I only keep very small portions of meat in the fridge, to be used right away, usually gotten out that day or the day before. In the scenario you describe above, I'd toss it. I always smell my meats before using them, even if I think they're fresh based on time. :)

                    In fact, I just tossed some fully cooked chicken I'd gotten out for salad but we ended up ordering pizza instead. I kept it for one day, but tossed it the next when I didn't use it, and it wasn't smelling bad, I just didn't want to take a chance on it. :)

                    1. re: jfood

                      Dear Jfood, in many cases, what you are smelling is the packaging, not the meat. Juices have gotten icky, especially in those absorbent pads included in chickens and under most cuts. Remove the meat itself, rinse it off and smell the meat itself. It's likely to be just fine.

                      Food waste in this country is close to sinful and people throw away their hard earned money because they don't realize that there are factors which affect the appearance of meat but not its safety. Exposure to light can change its color so they pitch perfectly good lamb, smoked pork products, ground beef or things. Slight freezer burn can be easily cut off making the rest of a roast perfectly good for braising.

                      The "food nannies" mean well but most consumers aren't able to evaluate the risks in a meaningful context. The statistics are hard to understand in a practical fashion - like the example that Morganna gives about encountering "a contaminated egg once every 84 years." That is a great way to put it! Yet article after article in the popular media cautions against all sorts of things because of overblown risks of salmonella.
                      Think how much food a smart statistician guy like jfood throws out and there are children starving in China. LOL

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        let jfood correct any misconception. he throws out very little because he purchases food daily for dinners and he buys enough for that meal on the protein. it is a rare occassion that any protein hits the fridge for an overnight stay.

                        when he cooks hard boiled eggs for eggs salad on saturday morning, if there is any leftover he and Shark are sharing a sandwich on sunday night. the only items that go down the sink are some veggies that get hidden in the drawer until they look like you know what or fruit that is not up to snuff.

                        M&M jfood do a clean-out every weekend and if there are two items that get tossed other than a veggie, it is unusual. after 28 years together M&M jfood run a tight kitchen.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Making Sense stands corrected regarding the Jfood household.
                          Wish everyone had your assets management skills.

                          How much food and money gets wasted because people buy more than they need, don't put it in the freezer, throw it away when it's perfectly good, don't have any idea how to repurpose the leftovers as another meal, etc? I'm pretty good at it but it does take discipline not to be profligate.

                          Who's Shark?

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            I call my neighbor, aka, my Jewish Mother & I beg her to prepare her famous egg salad for me - the rest (& I always boil too many) she brings to the urban synagogue.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              CBS 10PM in east. James Woods as a Prosecutor. Great show. Reminds Jfood of being a kid when the last show he saw before a week at school was Mission Impossible.

                              1. re: jfood

                                I never miss Shark! I'll make a snack and share it with you and Shark's young team.
                                My fridge is usually full of the best fresh veggies on Sat. and Sun. because the really good stuff from the Amish is at the farmers' market on Saturday and Sunday. That's when I stock up.

                            2. re: jfood

                              Agag? The food industry sells cartons of pre-boiled eggs to restaurants, for them to use for all things, especially egg salad sandwiches.
                              (which is weird) but it is safe. Be careful when ordering out.

                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                blech and thanks. the likelihood of jfood ordering an egg salad sandwich in a sandwich place is the same as jfood eating a week old hard boiled egg from the fridge, zippo.

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  Those big buckets of food service cooked boiled, peeled eggs have always given me the creeps. How old are they anyway? Who peels them? What's the liquid they're in?
                                  I'm sure they're safe but I always think of them as embalmed eggs.
                                  Ick, ick, ick...

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    I saw them once,they weren't whole, but cut into pieces. But creepy enough to make sure that I will NEVER order another egg salad out.

                                    I always try to believe to each his own is a good rule.
                                    My 5-6 day boiled eggs looks like prime rib next that mess. But to assure you, they don't last that long ever.

                            3. re: jfood

                              Dearest jfood, re: "So even when the "sell by" date is a week in the future, if it stays 2 days in the fridge, it's down the drain."

                              Are you sure your refrigerator is working?

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                sammy, yup, constant reading of between 34 & 37 degrees F. go figure

                              2. re: jfood

                                jfood is not only a statistician, he is also wasteful. I usually hard boil 6 to 8 eggs at a time, cool them with cold water, peel them, and store them in the fridge in a recycled plastic container. I eat one egg a day, sometimes skipping a day. This regimen has yet to killed me.

                                Has anyone noticed the increase in the price of eggs in the last year?

                                ChiliDude has spoken. ChiliDude is at age 71 a retired clinical trials statistician with more than 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                  CD, please re-read jfood's posts. He understands the idiosyncracies of family jfood and works around them so he does not waste food.

                                  - If there is extra egg salad the night before the jfood "expiration date" he eats it, does not throw it out
                                  - he does not buy protein to keep in the fridge for severals days but buys daily so he does not throw out
                                  - he is busily calculating what size turkey to buy so as to consume and not waste.

                                  so jfood is with you on not throwing out food. if you are happy with the boil 8 for the egg-per-diem, that's great that you have a paradigm that works. likewise jfood has analyzed his family's hot buttons and has developed a paradigm to meet their demands, so the world is in sync in casa ChiliDude and casa Jfood.

                          2. I saw Martha claim that she keeps hers **unrefrigerated** on the countertop for weeks at a time, but I couldn't bring myself to do so!

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: willownt

                              What she doesn't tell you is that she has her own very special chickens at her home so that's OK.
                              Eggs shells are permeable. Air can pass through small pores in them. When eggs are laid they have a natural protective coating that seals them. Eggs are pretty dirty when they're laid. In commercial production, the eggs are washed in such a way that the coating is removed and the eggs will lose freshness faster

                              In other countries, the coating isn't removed when the eggs are cleaned and most people don't refrigerate their eggs. It's common to see eggs on shelves in stores or on the counter in homes. Of course, people shop more frequently than a lot of people do in the US and buy smaller quantities, and Martha may well use her eggs up more quickly than she says she does.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                The egg board claims, IIRC from when I was poking around there earlier, that after washing, a new coating is applied for most commercial eggs. I could be misrememberng that bit.

                                I try to buy more local eggs. :) There's lots of nice clean farms up here in Vermont. :)

                                1. re: Morganna

                                  Doesn't matter how clean the farm is. The egg still comes out of a chicken which has been sitting on the ground. We used to have chickens. Those eggs were always cleaned well before they were even brought into the house. Lots of dirt and tiny feathers clinging to them from the birds and their nests. Just the facts of life.

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    I meant clean as in "healthy, uncontaminated flocks". Not clean as in "chickens who don't poop". :)

                                    1. re: Morganna

                                      Most people in the US have probably never picked up an egg right out of the nest, still warm from the hen. And dirty. Not that they have to but few give thought to the sources of their food.
                                      I remember my own city-raised kids' reactions to milking cows and gathering eggs when I took them to stay on farms. Not the glass bottles and cardboard containers they were used to. Dirt and manure, "interesting" smells, things that pecked, bit and kicked if you weren't careful. Farmers didn't get vacations like the ones we were on because the animals needed constant attention. It gave them a very different perspective.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        I grew up in the rural midwest and a lot of my friends through my childhood and teenage years were farm kids. :) I admire farmers and all the work they do. Most of the farm kids I knew were pretty responsible and hard-working from an early age. :) These days I like doing everything I can to support the wonderful small, local farms we have here in Vermont for a variety of reasons, and I'm looking forward to being post-surgery because it'll mean I can afford more local foods because our meals will be sooo much smaller. I'll be able to buy four ounces of $10 a pound meat, rather than buying 8 ounces of $5 a pound meat, for example. :)

                                2. re: MakingSense

                                  "What she doesn't tell you is that she has her own very special chickens at her home so that's OK."

                                  Actually, Martha *never* misses an opportunity to mention that she raises her own very special chickens!

                                  As to what people do in other places, I have noticed that eggs are often not refrigerated, but I don't necessarily take that as a sign of a practice to copy. Nor do I partake in eggs sold at discounted prices when they're sold with cracked shells.

                                  1. re: willownt

                                    I have completely given up on refrigerating eggs. A dozen lasts only a week at most around here anyway, and they cook so much better by every method when they aren't starting from cold. I do refrigerate boiled ones, as I've been told these are more perishable that fresh...and the last ones I cooked stayed in the fridge a bit longer than I was comfortable with - something like 10 days for the last one, and that was indeed green and ugly. As penance I ate it anyway, and suffered only a noticeably stale and tasteless egg. Won't do that again.

                                    1. re: willownt

                                      my sister marveled when martha stewart bragged about cleaning her chickens' bottoms!

                                  2. re: willownt

                                    Hard boiled eggs? Which reminds me of a place I worked that had a cafeteria. They would place hard boiled eggs in a basket right next to the register, pricing them at 50 cents each. I would often buy one for breakfast, crazy as I am. Sometimes it seemed that I was the only person that liked hard boiled eggs. They might of refrigerated them at night, but they sure were out all day. I was too young to know any better.
                                    I doubt that I could do that now....