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Jan 11, 2009 02:09 PM

How long can I leave eggs out of the fridge?

I left a handful of eggs out today for 2 hours to make another Genoise cake. But I realized my oven won't be free for another 2 hours. Should they go back in the fridge or can they wait out here on the counter another two hours? They were just bought today and expire on the 9th of Feb. Land of Lakes organic extra-large eggs.

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  1. They'll be fine. I've had a dozen eggs (well it's down to about 8) out on my counter since Friday am. Unless I head out of town unexpectedly, they'll never see the inside of my fridge.

    1. For 40 years my fishing group brought dozens of ordinary supermarket eggs into remote fishing camps with no electricity.
      Trips were of 10-21 days duration in early summer.
      The last eggs used were indistinguishabe from the first.
      Rest easy.

      1. Hold on, let me get this straight.

        Are you concerned about safety and/or taste issues by leaving eggs out for a total of 4 HOURS???


        You could leave those suckers out for a total of 4 DAYS without any ill effects.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I live in southern Baja and the local tiendas all - I mean all -small and large, have eggs for sale un-refrigerated - and it gets hot here in the summer!!

          1. re: madwrk

            Yes, I have been buying and eating unrefrigerated eggs here in Mazatlán for over 6 years. They are fine. Even the big supermarkets don't refrigerate their eggs.

        2. Eggs should be refrigerated. They are a raw protein and should be handled as such. While they will be OK for a couple of hours, eggs should not be left at room temperature for days on end!!

          29 Replies
          1. re: janetms383

            There's another thread out there about eggs and from what people were saying, people in England store eggs on the counter.


            1. re: Davwud

              Ture, European countries do not refrigerate eggs, However, having worked in the poultry industry in the US, salmonella is a huge problem and non-refrigeration of eggs can compound the problem.

              I always store in in the fridge and wash the shells just prior to cracking

              1. re: janetms383

                I agree with Janet about the US egg quality, but in Europe you won't see any eggs refrigerated. If you live in Canada you have a reduced chance of foodbourne illness from eggs I think 1 in 10 000 eggs are contaminated with Salmonella spp. which is really low.

                1. re: Bryn

                  Does anyone have a source for this... I've always wondered if Canada and the US had the same rates of salmonella in eggs. I've eaten a lot of raw cookie batter in my life.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    You wrote, "Does anyone have a source for this... I've always wondered if Canada and the US had the same rates of salmonella in eggs. I've eaten a lot of raw cookie batter in my life."

                    I don't know why someone would want to eat a lot of raw cookie batter. I've eaten some when young & while it didn't hurt my health & didn't taste bad, it's definitely not like the cookies I make; even if it was the batter that I make. Baked is better. I like a little crispiness. And I'm a master cookie maker when that's while just getting started, being a beginner. If you ate my cookies, then you might forget a meal, because my cookies are equivalent to a meal for nutrition & energy. Heh, a person has right to brag once in a while; but if you're a hiker, trekker, ..., active, then you would surely like my homemade cookies. Okay, I'm bragging again. Sorry. I really like my cookies, ya see.

                    But that's all besides the point, which is your question about Canadian eggs. I've been mostly shopping at a small grocery store in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, for a decade now. A lot of the produce is certified organic, while the rest is supposedly "natural", which doesn't tell us much (there could be GMO ingredients!). Okay, so let's get on to the eggs. There're certified organic ones & others from a regional farm that isn't certified organic, BUT the farmer says his hens are free range-raised & that he doesn't buy the feed for the birds. Instead, he grows the feed. Well, I trust him to do this correctly & it's always his/her eggs that I buy. I would feel safe eating these raw. And I've never heard of salmonella affecting food grown in Canada. It was only when imported from the USA.

                    There may've been salmonella, E-Coli, ... problems with some crops grown in Canada, but I haven't heard of anything other than some crops imported from California farms several years ago.

                    Raw eggs :

                    If you're surprised about me saying that I would be able to consume the eggs that I buy raw, rather than cooking them, then yes, this can be done with healthy eggs. You'll rarely hear or read about this, but it can certainly be done with healthy, safe eggs. When this is done, then the eggs are usually used to make a sort of milkshake. Dump a couple of eggs in a tall glass, stir or whip them, add milk, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, whatever you want, add, f.e., maple syrup, maybe some nutmeg, whip it all up well, & then enjoy. But the eggs absolutely have to be healthy ones. That's the "trick", being able to be sure that you're using truly healthy eggs. It shouldn't be a problem with certified organic eggs, or eggs from farms like the eggs I buy though. I won't buy from Big Agribusiness.

                    1. re: mikecorbeil



                      organic or natural eggs are not inherently more safe from salmonella. that being said, the likelihood of getting salmonella from any egg is actually very low.


                      from the above:

                      "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."

                2. re: janetms383

                  Don't get me wrong. I store in the fridge and would never think of eating an egg on the counter if it hit the cooties stage.


                  1. re: janetms383

                    salmonella is not a HUGE problem. it i a very very small problem, with a lot of press, in a culture increasing run with fear.

                    you have a .0005% chance of finding an egg with salmonella inside of it. five one thousandth of one percent chance.

                    that's just not a HUGE problem

                    1. re: thew

                      When we're asking to make sure to cook eggs thouroughly it's a safety thing to kill any salmonella if it's present, most eggs as far as I know should not have salmonella.

                      If the chicken has the illness it could pass it to the eggs, but that's a sick chicken.

                      I'm no expert on chickens but I did raise pigeons and it's kind of the same thing with regards to the salmonellosis.

                      1. re: thew

                        it is not the egg that is the salmonella issue. it is the chicken and these farmers that dont know how to do their stuff or get careless and let these poor chickens get sick. its the chicken that is sick and its not the egg that is "diseased" it is the layer between the shell and the egg. i have eaten over medium eggs for years and no issues. as long as you wash your hands for extra precuation its all good.. the float test works. Based on USDA's statistics, the average consumer would encounter a contaminated egg only once in 42 years. And then, that egg would have to be time and temperature abused to contribute to a health problem

                        1. re: aley51102

                          ATTENTION EVERYONE: All chickens and eggs have salmonella! Like ALL animals including humans have some sort of bacteria. The problem is when it's a EPIDEMIC. That's when the host has too much and the consumer can't digest it without getting sick. The problem is when the host has too much bacteria; that's when the media makes an announcement. It's a Salmonella Scare or Salmonella Outbreak, not just Salmonella. ALL living entities have bacteria including: fruits, vegetables, animals, and humans. In America the growth hormones make the bacteria grow at rapid speed. That's why all of our food with high density levels (water) must be refrigerated. It is a measure to prevent any bacteria (which is in all food) from growing beyond measure.

                          1. re: JaboTut

                            However, even thou it's not recommended, eggs can be left out for a long duration of time. They must be a room temperature to prepare some recipes; like pound cake. The warning is there to avoid any mishaps. We know Americans like suing. We purchase most to all of our food and the industry would stay in court cause we don't take responsibility fire our own actions. It's a mere disclaimer; considering the measures used in producing our products.

                            1. re: JaboTut

                              "All chickens and eggs have salmonella!"

                              Simply not true. Where I am studies show a low incidence of salmonella in eggs and chicken - under 6%.

                              1. re: Harters

                                I'm not talking about an incident which is the same as an Epedimic or Outbreak. Salmonella is a bacteria Salmonellocious is the outbreak from Salmonella. An incidence would mean that they could not digest the high rate of salmonella. I'm very sure of this. Chef school works and Sanitation classes every five years. As stated before; ALL meat has a bacteria of some sort. That is why it must be handled properly. to prevent the bacteria from producing. Like having babies. Some people can be carriers of the virus and not know it for years and will pass it on to others. They are called hosts. When it finally hits them the bacteria is so severe that they think that the last thing they ate was the cause and the doctors tell them that they had it for a while. Once it turns on the host, it almost likely will destroy the host and the doctors can't find an antiboitic to help them. As stated before, US produce their product with growth hormones unlike many other countries. However, we can be sure that you will do what is best for you. Just be careful. Enzymes that keep the eggs are less than organic eggs. We eat bacteria every day. That gives the good bacteria (ammune system) in your body something to do every day. It works for you. Growth hormones may causes cancer, as well. That on top of rapidly growing bacteria working together are a lethal weapon.

                                1. re: JaboTut

                                  Ah. I hadnt appreciated that when you said "all chickens & eggs" you actually meant "all American chicken & eggs". I'll be extra careful about what I eat next time I visit your country.

                        2. re: janetms383

                          Refrigerating Fresh Eggs does not reduce the risk of Salmonella or other food born ilnesses (cleaning and handling does).

                          ALWAYS wash your hands before and after handling ingredients.

                          DO NOT use cracked fresh eggs! If you are fortunate enough to have a local sourse of Fresh Eggs - DON'T Refrigerate them. Do make sure that ANY eggs you purchase are clean.

                          A study by UC Davis in California showed that the most effectice way to clean your produce, including eggs, is to rinse first to remove any debris, then cleanse/rince/soak with a 10% to 50% dilution of water and White Vinegar. This (the 10% dilution) was shown to kill 99.9% of all bacteria related to food born illnesses - the expensive packaged/spray produce cleaners showed effectiveness rates as low as 80% - 50%!

                          NOTE: Prepared foods are not immune to food born illnesses if they are NOT kept at recommended serving temperatures that are specific to the dish. Keep Cold Foods COLD, and Hot foods HOT.

                          1. re: bluemoondragonfly

                            Never thought of vinegar! Probably easier and possibly safer than the drop of bleach I put in my egg cleaning water.

                        3. re: Davwud

                          My grandmother (in Wales) didn't have a fridge, everything was stored in the pantry and was fine.

                        4. re: janetms383

                          The US is one of only a few places in the world where eggs are sold refrigerated.

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            eggs are also sold washed, sanitized and then coated here, unlike elsewhere.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              the natural coating on the egg does an admirable job of protecting it. I've seen some discussion here on Chow about some recent discussion that the washing and sanitizing process might actually be forcing the bacteria through the shell....

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                i've read it elsewhere too, and it does a strange and unnecessary extra step.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Totally disagree! The bacteria is on the outside of the shell - if you break the shell or use an egg that is obviously dirty, just clean it with a Vinegar water solution. I am NOT suggesting that you keep you fresh eggs submerged in a container of Vinegar - THAT will eventually dissolve the Calcium Carbonate based shell. Cracked fresh eggs are not safe to consume.

                                  1. re: bluemoondragonfly

                                    it's not *my* opinion -- I said I've seen it written in several articles....and it certainly isn't beyond the scope of reason.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Apologies for misquoting you. I should have approached the subject less sharply - sorry.
                                      Your writing on the topic suggests both strong practical and didactic knowledge of the matter.
                                      Best Wishes

                            2. re: janetms383

                              If eggs were simply puddles of protein, I'd agree, but they have 3 separate anti-microbial, antibacterial layers between the outside world and the protein.
                              They CAN and ARE stored unrefrigerated for days or weeks everywhere in the world, in every kind of climate.
                              Do your research janetms!

                              1. re: janetms383

                                I am from England and we NEVER kept eggs in a refrigerator because we didn't have one. The eggs were left out on the counter in the kitchen until all were eaten, about a week or so. We never had any problems with the first egg tasting any different from the last egg. Your premise is up the creek!!!

                                1. re: janetms383

                                  Sorry, you are wrong! If you refrigerate them, then take them out, 4-8 hours would be enough. But NEVER refrigerate a fresh egg and it will be as good in 2 weeks as when it was layed. They had no refrigeration in the olden days. And there were plenty of chickens and eggs, but no refrigeration.

                                  1. re: janetms383

                                    As long as they're not washed, 10-14 DAYS is fine.

                                  2. I see this is an older post, but just wanted to clarify something - there is a reason why European eggs are not refrigerated, and I believe that is because they are not pasteurized. I believe eggs in North America are flash pasteurized, which necessitates refrigeration. The risk for salmonella from organic free-range eggs in North America is 1 in 30,000.... this is VERY low. I eat raw eggs (that have been refrigerated) on a regular basis. This risk goes up with conventional non-free-range eggs. You can often tell if you have a quality egg if the shell is so hard it may even take some extra effort to break, and if the yolk is a nice dark orange colour, the white membrane should be nice and thick.

                                    31 Replies
                                    1. re: barefootmommy

                                      a lot of European eggs aren't washed, (*especially* if you buy them from a farm, which an enormous number of people do) which washes off the natural coating that keeps them from going bad They're rinsed to get rid of the obvious dirt, but they're not washed like they are in the States.

                                      I haven't put an egg in the fridge in nearly three years -- they're bought at room temperature (whether from the store or from the producer) and live on the counter until I'm ready to use them. I do break the ones I buy directly from the producer into a small bowl before using them, but can count on one hand the number of times I've had a bloody egg -- and haven't ever had a bad one.

                                      One of the better chuckles I got was several years ago, when I overheard a rather fussy and very loud American woman berating the French shopkeep for keeping eggs on a regular shelf, and what was WRONG with YOU PEOPLE (a truly cringeworthy phrase) that you think it's okay to not refrigerate eggs?

                                      When the shop keeper replied "Ah, but madame, the hen, she does not refrigerate her eggs, and they never go bad!", she turned scarlet red and began gulping like a goldfish, completely robbed of a retort.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        LOL - yes thanks for the clarification, I had heard about the washing. I remember it was something about how when the egg is washed, it actually pushes impurities through the shell into the egg, because it's so porous. So it's probably better to leave eggs unwashed, unless you feel you need to wash them right before cracking.

                                        I picked up 3 dozen eggs (pastured) from a farm yesterday and I forgot them in my car for about 6 hours before putting them in the fridge... I figured they would still be fine so we've been eating them, but just wanted to make sure... they are excellent high quality eggs, really thick shells, thick membranes, nice dark yolk. Hated the thought of chucking them.

                                        1. re: barefootmommy

                                          and the farm eggs are SO much better -- yolks nearly orange, and they taste like eggs. If I had to come back to the states, I'd really miss my orange, unrefrigerated eggs.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            The orange yolks in europe are due to the eggs being fertilized(Yes as in impregnated!). American eggs are unfertilized and pasteurized if store bought. Eggs are safest in this state. Additionally, as a separate precaution, they are refrigerated to FURTHER reduce the incidence of foodborne disease. These three added precautions are meant to make the eggs safer than farm fresh eggs. You can buy both in the US but i choose the safer option. IT is similar to the arguments of eating raw milk...... i believe that is more dangerous than the pasteurized version also.

                                            1. re: Maynardbutt

                                              No. Not all eggs in Europe are fertilized. It's due to their feed. If you buy eggs from a very small producer, they *might* be fertilized -- but middle-to-large production farms do not sell fertilized eggs.

                                              Not all eggs in the US are pasteurized, either -- they're available, but not all -- and there's a distinct premium pay for the difference.

                                              Eggs are NOT safest when refrigerated -- any rudimentary comparison of food-borne illness between Europe and the US would support that, as would a scan of headlines about consumer recalls of contaminated eggs.

                                              And check your data about raw-milk cheeses, too -- because that's as flawed as your egg data.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                I did not say all eggs in europe. Eggs with orange yolks are fertilized. True, some eggs may be more orange than others that are not fertilized, but the darkest orange are fertilized.

                                                American eggs are generally pasteurized if not from fresh from the farm. Info here:


                                                At 45 degrees fahrenheit salmonella cannot grow. Seems straightforward to me as a precaution to refrigerate eggs.

                                                Here is a link to real deaths from raw milk:


                                                It is true that the sheer magnitude of the industry in the US magnifies problems in the industry-to-consumer chain that europe is lucky to have on a smaller scale. The safety of the processes remain the same in both cases, however.

                                                1. re: Maynardbutt



                                                  wiki should not be a go-to source for food info. sorry. it's wrong more often than right.

                                                  most eggs sold in us supermarkets are not pasteurized, although their availability is spreading due to media hysteria about salmonella.

                                                  lastly, the color of the yolk is dependent upon the feed. it has zero to do with fertilization.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    Very true about wiki. That is why l said most. After the big outbreak of salmonella two and a half years ago the USDA RECOMMENDED stores sell only pasteurized eggs.This was followed by the passage of SB510 which gave the authority to to USDA to impose pasteurization. Since then ALL of the eggs at my local grocer have been pasteurized apparently out of liability fears from the recommendation. The actual order has not been made by the FDA apparently.

                                                    1. re: Maynardbutt

                                                      my b/f and i eat TONS of eggs. close to 2 dozen in a week, plus i bake several times per week. i have NEVER seen pasteurized shell-on eggs. never. "generally", or "most" is not even close to true.

                                                      eta: again, from the usda website:

                                                      "Can shell eggs be pasteurized?
                                                      Shell eggs can be pasteurized by a processor if FDA accepted the process for the destruction of Salmonella. Pasteurized shell eggs are now available at some grocery stores. Like all eggs, they must be kept refrigerated to retain quality. The equipment to pasteurize shell eggs isn't available for home use, and it is very difficult to pasteurize shell eggs at home without cooking the contents of the egg. "


                                                      i see no rec's that any eggs MUST be pasteurized.

                                                  2. re: Maynardbutt

                                                    and all eggs in Europe, whether small- or large-producer, are orange, and they are overwhelmingly NOT fertilized.

                                                    No, American eggs are not generally pasteurized.

                                                    And if we keep the facts and figures on a per-capita basis, then we also figure out any difference in the size of the population, and when you look at the per-capita rates, the US still wins the foodborne illness contest by a margin of 5 to 1.

                                                    1. re: Maynardbutt

                                                      You, sadly, are obviously a city boy. Eggs with orange yolks are eggs from chickens who eat healthier foods and get to go outside. I can't afford to feed organic, but I get feed from a good feed store that is not full of artificial everything, and my chickens get sunlight every day. They have orange yolks even when I'm without a rooster in the yard. Try reading a country guide on raising chickens before setting yourself up as an expert. By the way, I'm told that Australians sell eggs on the shelf like canned goods. Only Americans seem to do such bad things to food that it isn't safe. LOL

                                                      1. re: Redneckgrandma

                                                        deeply colored yolks can come from something orange or yellow in the feed, often marigold petals. it certainly has nothing to do with rooster sex!

                                                        1. re: Redneckgrandma

                                                          Yolk color has no connection to "healthier" chicken feed, it's a function of absorption of pigments contained in the feed. You can have a caged hen produce eggs with yolks any shade you like, it's still a caged hen.

                                                    2. re: Maynardbutt

                                                      Generally speaking, it is impossible for the vast majority of eggs sold in Europe to be fertilised. Most of us buy our eggs in supermarkets. The large scale egg producers, even those who raise free-range or organic eggs, simply do not have flocks that include cocks. Therefore, biologically impossible.

                                                      Of course, if you buy from a small producer, say at a farmers market, who keeps a mixed flock, then it would be possible. if it was something that would be of concern to a consumer, then the solution is not to buy from a small producer.

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        Again, I only said the darkest orange yolks are fertilized.

                                                        Additionally if you are in the United Kingdom(where I once lived) I am not including you as part of europe as the british refer to europe as a separate place. In this case the industries are different as well. Here is a link to why the UK has the safest egg supply and contrasts it with countries in europe.


                                                        1. re: Maynardbutt

                                                          Yolk color has to do with the diet of the hen and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether an egg is fertilized or not. A fertilized egg yolk can have the same variations in color (from very pale to dark orange) that unfertilized ones do.

                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                            A percentage of that rich color comes from the diet of the fertilizing rooster which in commercial situations is generally different to promote sexual stamina and reduce the ability to fatten up like a hen. Only a small amount of that comes through in fertilization, but it can make a big difference in color.

                                                            I agree though, that small farms that feed the same feed to both hens and roosters would see no difference from fertilization. Meaning you are absolutely right in stating "A fertilized egg yolk CAN have the same variations in color (from very pale to dark orange) that unfertilized ones do."

                                                            1. re: Maynardbutt

                                                              I am not buying that at all. Can you site a reference?

                                                              1. re: Maynardbutt

                                                                SImply. Not. True.

                                                                At the Georgia Egg Commission ( they tell you that "Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen. If she gets plenty of yellow-orange plant pigments known as xanthophylls, they will be deposited in the yolk. Hens fed mashes containing yellow corn and alfalfa meal lay eggs with medium yellow yolks, while those eating wheat or barley yield lighter-colored yolks. A colorless diet, such as white cornmeal, produces almost colorless yolks. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance yolk color. Artificial color additives are not permitted. Gold or lemon-colored yolks are preferred by most buyers in this country. Yolk pigments are relatively stable and are not lost or changed in cooking."

                                                                Since you like using wikipedia:

                                                                "Yolk color is dependent on the diet of the hen; if the diet contains yellow/orange plant pigments known as xanthophylls, then they are deposited in the yolk, coloring it. Lutein is the most abundant pigment in egg yolk.[28] A colorless diet can produce an almost colorless yolk. Yolk color is, for example, enhanced if the diet includes products such as yellow corn and marigold petals.[29] In the US, the use of artificial color additives is forbidden.[29]"

                                                                Footnote 28 points here:
                                                                and footnote 29 goes here "
                                                                and says this:
                                                                "The color of yolk varies in shades of yellow depending upon the diet of the hen. If she eats plenty of yellow-orange plant pigments, such as from marigold petals and yellow corn, the yolk will be a darker yellow than if she eats a colorless diet such as white cornmeal. Artificial color additives are not permitted in eggs. "

                                                                The USDA site also says this about pasteurization:

                                                                Can shell eggs be pasteurized?
                                                                Shell eggs can be pasteurized by a processor if FDA accepted the process for the destruction of Salmonella. Pasteurized shell eggs are now available at some grocery stores. Like all eggs, they must be kept refrigerated to retain quality. The equipment to pasteurize shell eggs isn't available for home use, and it is very difficult to pasteurize shell eggs at home without cooking the contents of the egg.

                                                                "at some grocery stores" cannot even vaguely be extrapolated to mean "all eggs are pasteurized"

                                                            2. re: Maynardbutt

                                                              Well, I'm British and I don't refer to Europe as a separate place. All member states of the European Union haev to comply with EU laws.

                                                              Oh and, no, you didnt say that you were only referring to the "darkest orange yolks " were fertilised. You said "The orange yolks in europe are due to the eggs being fertilized(Yes as in impregnated!)."

                                                              And , again, that remains inaccurate for the reason I have already given that it is a biological impossibility as there are no cocks in the flock

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                and the folks in Brussels sure seem to act like the UK is part of Europe...

                                                                Surely you've noticed, but there are several of us on this thread who live in Europe (even the British part of Europe) -- haven't you?

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  i have access to fertlized eggs only at my local asian market. the yolks are sometimes orange-ish, but never more so than the regular organic, free-range eggs i buy and eat. the color on each waxes and wanes throughout the year.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    I suppose if it were far enough along in development, the presence of developing blood vessels would cause it to begin to take on a reddish tinge -- but the reddish tinge of a bloody egg is a long, long way from the orange of a healthy, well-fed ordinary hen's egg.

                                                                    (yes, I've seen both, and would have no problem spotting the difference!)

                                                              2. re: Maynardbutt

                                                                Maynard, you are wrong. I worked for USDA as a poultry inspector, and yolk color has absolutely nothing to do with roosters. It has to do with feed--either artificial color that is added--marigold petals make yolks orange or something the hen eats. Fertilized eggs have a small, pencil eraser sized white donut on the yolk. Bloody eggs are not fertilized eggs either--the blood comes from a tear in the reproductive organs of the hen.

                                                            3. re: Maynardbutt

                                                              This is incorrect. The orange yolk is from what the chicken eats, not if it is fertilized or not.

                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                          Couldn't have said it better than the shopkeeper. Think about it this way: when eggs go "bad", it's because bacteria has proliferated inside the shell. If bacteria could do this in a couple of days, the chicken species would be in big trouble.

                                                          1. re: henrock

                                                            My Aunt, who happens to be my neighbor, has laying hens and for 13 yrs I have eaten her eggs. I have never refrigerated them. If I ever have any doubt, ( can't remember when I got them) I simply put the egg in a glass of water. If it floats there is air in the egg and out it goes.

                                                            That said, we live in Fla and the eggs must be gathered every morning. Otherwise I don't want to think about what the heat of the day would do to the eggs.

                                                            1. re: Robinez

                                                              It wouldn't do anything -- I have loads of friends in Florida who keep chickens -- one of whom has been keeping chickens for over 50 years...

                                                              No problems. The float test works.

                                                              like henrock said -- if a few hours in the Florida heat spoiled them, there wouldn't be any chickens in Florida.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                My Aunt was in the hospital for 4 days a few years back. I was busy at the hospital and didn't gather the eggs for 4 days. She had 8 layers then. Every single egg was spoiled when they were gathered after 4 days,give or take a day/half day.

                                                                So, the eggs do indeed spoil in this Fla heat.

                                                                That said, it may be a bit of a wives tale, or in this case an aunt tale, that they eggs must be gathered in the morning, when she is up with her coffie and wants company :-)

                                                              2. re: Robinez

                                                                My neighbors have about 25 free-range chickens, many of whom range in our yard to my utter delight. We just found 14 eggs in an indentation under a shrub in our yard and one egg up on a shelf in an outer building. I did some reading on-line so please correct me if I am wrong. We filled the sink with water and dropped them one by one into the water and all but the single one (which we tossed) laid on the bottom of the sink. I assume they are all good?

                                                                1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                  Yes, even the one that floats is still "good" to eat (esp. if you are just boiling them). The ones that float just means that lots of the albumen or egg whites have evaporated due to the passage of time, leaving more "air" inside the egg shell.