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Eggs- On the counter or in the fridge?

Do you keep your eggs in the fridge or on the counter? And how long do they last? I only cook for myself and when I buy a dozen I seem to have them forever, and then I'm usually afraid to use them for fear of them being bad! What do you pro's do?

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  1. If the eggs are fresh to begin with, they'll keep for a long time (more than a month) in the fridge.

    1. you'll know a bad egg when it's bad!!

      if you really have too many left over, make a quiche and freeze it.

      1. I put them in the fridge and they do last forever. I will typically use them up to 3-4 weeks after the date listed on the container and I can't say I've ever had a bad egg. I don't keep them on the counter because like you, I live alone and they'd all go bad before I'd be able to use them.

        1. I would leave in the fridge. Leave on counter only for baking. Overnights ok - to bake the next day- but you are lessening your shelf life if you do it for awhile. Longer in TDZ - more risks you are taking. When you bake the egg is cooked thouroughly. In culinary school all the eggs in pastry sat out in the middle of the room, I think we got 4 days of eggs at a time ( class cycle 4 day)
          Eggs have a long shelf life - and an old egg lets you know - the yolk will pop or be flat. The egg will have sound when you shake it ( egg shell is permeable, allowing air in over time,) - and in the ultimate bad egg - it stinks.

          1. Like several others here, I live by myself, so eggs last a LONG time. I keep them in the fridge and they easily last a couple of months.

            In all my years, I have had exactly ONE bad egg. It smelled nasty upon cracking it. If making a recipe that calls for more than one egg, I always crack the egg in a separate container before adding it to the recipe, just in case it is bad. I'd rather lose one egg or have an extra dish to wash than to have to through out some dough or batter because I added a bad egg to an already prepared batch of dough.

            1. Store in fridge. If you know you're going to cook one using a method that's sensitive to egg temperature (eg omelette, scrambled eggs, certain baked goods), maybe take it out a few hours or the night before.

              1. I keep mine in the fridge for a very long time, but I do usually stick by the use-by dates on the container, particularly if i am baking for others.

                When baking, I take my eggs out of the fridge several hours ahead to let them get to room temp. Knock wood , i've never had a bad egg either, but i've had one or two with other "stuff" i there. Anyway, that's neither here nor there, but that tip about breaking into a seperate bowl is useful. I typically only do that when i have to whisk it first for a recipe, rather than breaking along side the Kitchenaid or something.

                1 Reply
                1. re: im_nomad

                  Thanks very much for your responses. I think I'll start putting my eggs in the fridge, just to be safe.

                2. When I was in Cairo this summer, I saw a lot of eggs outside, in the 95+ degree heat & sun, and I wondered what would be the net effect on the eggs. Clearly they wouldn't go bad immediately otherwise the shopkeepers wouldn't keep them outside, but I did wonder how much that would reduce the shelf life of an egg...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: roxlet

                    Room temperature eggs last about a week, so I'd imagine the 95-degree eggs would have to be eaten within a day or two.

                    1. re: queencru

                      Keep in mind that eggs are designed by nature to be hatched over a roughly 21-day period, meaning that the contents (which at any particular point during that period have not yet been incorporated into the developing chick embryo) must remain wholesome, standing up to hatching temperatures which are in the 101 F range. In short, eggs have natural preservative characteristics.

                      That said, eggs are certainly best stored in the frig (below 45 F is the standard recommendation). The normal sell-by date is 30 days from being laid, but can be consumed well after that date. The main thing that degrades "quality" at that point is how well the yolk and center albumen stand up, but that has little impact on wholesomeness. It is true that in recent years salmonella has been a problem, but it appears to be fairly well controlled as long as the eggs are cooked through.

                      Personally, based on general industry knowledge (my family was in the business) and my own experience you can safely eat eggs well beyond their sell-by date--I routinely eat them as much as 2 months later if they happen to still be in the frig. I don't recall ever getting a truly bad one (you'd smell sulpher eventually) or having any problem as a result.

                  2. Is there any argument that eggs somehow taste better kept at room temp? Anyplace I've seen eggs left out is simply a place where people can't afford refrigerators, i.e. Central America, South Asia.

                    Cold eggs are much, much easier to separate than warm eggs, and if you need eggs at room temperature for a recipe (generally a good idea with cakes), simply put your whole eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for a few minutes to take the chill off.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: babette feasts

                      In Central America, even the people who can afford refrigerators keep their eggs at room temperature--at least in the homes I've been to. My friends even have a special pull-out drawer that was built into their kitchen cabinets that holds a 24-egg carton.

                      That said, Harold McGee says they deteriorate in a day at room temp as much as they do in four days under refrigeration. He says they should be purchased cold and stored cold, preferably in an airtight container.

                      He also has a method of testing for freshness that I've found works brilliantly. Eggs lose moisture as they age, so a fresh egg will sink in a bowl of water. As it ages, it's air cells expand and the wide end of the egg rises higher and higher in the water. If it floats, it should be thrown out.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Re: JoanN's first paragraph, that's been my observation as well. And I do the exact same thing to test my eggs - if they sink to the bottom, they'll probably be decent for poaching, if they stay under the water, but are 'standing up', I hard boil them.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          "Last one in is a rotten egg" is the only way that I can remember if the floater is the good one or the bad one.

                      2. It really depends on what you plan on using the eggs for.

                        I've kept eggs on the counter for 2 weeks with no problems.

                        In the fridge (~36 F), they've lasted up to a month.

                        1. I never keep them in the fridge. Never had them go bad, though I usually use all or most of them in a week or two. Then I buy new ones and if there are any old ones left over, I hard-boil them for snacks in the week.

                          Like the person who went to Egypt, I lived in Jordan for a little while and saw the same thing: eggs being sold outside in really hot weather. I figure my eggs are fine on the counter.

                          I can't imagine that unrefrigerated eggs taste better (as someone else asked), since you're going to cook them anyhow, no?

                          1. fridge only.

                            we go through about a dozen extra large eggs a week, so we never have an issue of them going bad.

                            1. I have a tiny fridge and need the room. I've been leaving them on the counter for a year or more. I always smell for a bad egg, and it's very, very rare.

                              1. Keep them on the counter - have for years. Have never had a bad egg. We go through about a dozen a week. I think it's a non issue, to be honest.

                                1. I always keep mine in the refrigerator and they keep several weeks to a month.

                                  A good method for determining if they're still good is to fill a bowl or pan with cold water. Place your egg(s) in the water. If they float, they're no longer good. If they stay submerged, they're safe. Supposedly, the gases produced as the egg rots cause it to float.

                                  1. Until I moved to Asia, I always kept my eggs in the fridge, but my cook seems convinced that they belong on the counter, and when you go to the market here, they are always left out, not refrigerated. She only buys 1/2 a dozen eggs at any given time, unless I specifically need more for cooking, so they don't sit around for more than a week, and they seem fine.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: lulubelle

                                      Actually, now that I think about it, eggs in British supermarkets are not kept in the refrigerated section either.

                                    2. My understanding of this is that if the eggs are unwashed they are safe for quite some time at ambient temps. as there is a natural film / mucus that protects the egg from bacterial or viral invasion - makes sense in terms of what eggs 'are'.
                                      'Commercial' eggs are washed for the aesthetics of the product thus the protective film is removed and they are 'open' .. unless refrigerated.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: OCEllen

                                        This is my understanding, as well. When I lived in the Caribbean, no one refrigerated their eggs and they'd last several weeks in the heat and humidity just fine. Most people had refrigerators, but thought it strange that Americans put their eggs in there. When I moved back to the States, I researched it, and found that the chemical processing that commercial eggs undergo leaves them more susceptable to bacterial infection, hence storing them in the fridge.

                                        We get eggs from our own hens now, and we typically store them on our countertop, and they do just fine for a few weeks.

                                      2. When I was in the Navy, aboard a submarine, we stored crates of eggs, unrefrigerated, in the missle compartment. (You had to have top secret clearence to break out a case) They lasted about 30 days of the patrol before the cook would crack a bad egg on the griddle. Woe to the sailor who had a mouthful of fried egg when that rotten odor hit the messhall. I believe the eggs were dipped in mineral oil to seal the shells.

                                        1. Counter, but in a cool corner. We go through a dozen in about a week, and they've lasted over two weeks in the past, so I don't worry about it. I've been informed that the US is one of the few places on earth where eggs are sold from refrigerated cases. Yes, they lose a certain amount of moisture, but if I'm hard-boiling them that's all to the good, since they'll peel that much more easily. And for most purposes you need your eggs at room temperature, whether you're frying them, scrambling them, or making mayonnaise.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            In the fridge.

                                            Old timey refrigerators had built in depressions for eggs.

                                            I never saw a countertop with twelve depressions built in.

                                            1. re: dolores

                                              That's what those cartons are for!

                                              I have one of those half-sized fridges, and there simply isn't room for a dozen eggs, even if I wanted to keep them refrigerated. But the best part of keeping them out is that I don't have to wait for them to come to room temp when using them for baking. I usually get the idea to bake last minute and the eggs are always ready to go.