A clever trick for determining an egg's freshness

eggs with best before dates
CC BY 2.0 Richard Elzey

Hopefully this will cut down on the rampant egg waste.

Eggs have become more popular as people try to cut down on meat consumption and embrace a more 'flexitarian' or 'reducetarian' style of eating. Unfortunately, this also means that more eggs are getting wasted than ever before.

A report just issued this week by food waste app Too Good To Go says that 720 million eggs were tossed in the United Kingdom alone in 2018, which is a massive increase over the 241 million dumped in 2008. This occurs because people think eggs are unsafe to eat past their best-before date. But that isn't true.

The best-before date (and this applies to all foods) tends to be an overly cautious number added by manufacturers to protect themselves from blame, should anything go wrong. Eggs are usually fine for 2-3 weeks after their best-before date, and there's even a fun little test you can do at home to gauge their edibility. Here's the Good Egg Test, which could double as a mini science experiment for kids.

It's still important to conduct a smell test, however. If an egg smells off once it's cracked open, it's better to dispose of it.

If you find yourself with a surplus of eggs, figure out ways to use up a lot in a hurry. Make quiche, frittata, hollandaise sauce, creme brûlée, meringues, egg salad, or a platter of scrambled eggs for family breakfast. Make eggs for dinner in the form of huevos rancheros, shakshuka, or a hard-boiled egg curry.

Learn how to freeze eggs for future use. TreeHugger's editor Melissa prepared a detailed guide to freezing eggs.

Finally, analyze your perception of eggs. Rebecca Smithers makes an interesting point in the Guardian:

"Egg producers believe the rise in the number of eggs being wasted could be down to consumers’ ignorance and thoughtlessness, and their view of eggs as a low-value item, unlike fresh meat or fish."

If eggs are 'low-value' in your view, then you're probably not buying the right kind. Do a bit of research into industrial egg production and you'll be so horrified that you'll no longer want to pay $1 per dozen. Once you start viewing egg production through the same ethical lens as you do meat, you'll want to pay more for higher quality – and be less likely to waste them because of that. That being said, if you can find a local farmer who provides free-range eggs at a low cost, that's a win-win situation!

A clever trick for determining an egg's freshness
Hopefully this will cut down on the rampant egg waste.

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