Should you refrigerate eggs or not? If you have left eggs unrefrigerated overnight, can you still eat them? These are common questions people ask about storing and preserving eggs.
In a country like America, eggs are washed, processed, and refrigerated before they are sold, according to the mandates of the USDA. Refrigerating eggs in America is all in a bid to keep them healthy.
The real question is, if you left a crate of eggs out, is it still safe to eat them? That is what you’re about to find out.
Can you eat unrefrigerated raw eggs?
According to the USDA, it is unsafe to eat eggs that have stayed unrefrigerated for more than two hours. They further say that if you have bought refrigerated eggs, they should remain refrigerated until you are ready to eat them.
A temperature change around eggs that have been cold will cause condensation and make the egg “sweat.” This sweat encourages bacterial growth and movement through the pores on the shell into the egg yolk.
Why should you refrigerate eggs?
Refrigerating eggs helps to prevent bacterial growth. Although this is a practice in a few countries like America, it is legal. Since the U.S. doesn’t vaccinate eggs, refrigeration is its way of keeping eggs healthy for consumers.
The FDA mandates egg processers to wash, test, and refrigerate eggs immediately after collecting them from the hens. While sanitizing the eggs to get rid of dirt and salmonella, the protective membrane (bloom or cuticle) that covers the eggs gets washed away too.
Consequently, the eggs are exposed to bacterial contamination. Egg processers in America try to prevent or counter this by refrigerating the eggs.
How long can you leave eggs out?
You should not leave raw eggs out for more than two hours if you live in countries where eggs are refrigerated.
How fast do eggs go bad?
Raw eggs don’t go bad very fast, but they don’t last forever either. In countries where refrigerating eggs is commonplace, raw eggs in their shell will begin to lose their quality after staying out for two hours.
On the other hand, in countries where they don’t refrigerate eggs, raw egg in its shell will last one to three weeks.
Egg yolks, egg whites, and egg dishes cannot last beyond two hours at room temperature. If you refrigerate the eggs, they can keep fresh for two to seven days.
Generally, egg spoilage begins from how you store them. That is why the USDA recommends that you store the eggs in the condition you bought them. If you bought refrigerated eggs, keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook them.
If you didn’t buy them refrigerated, you can keep the eggs that way, but once you put them in the refrigerator, they must remain that way until you need them.
How do you know eggs have gone bad?
Raw eggs and cooked eggs show different signs of spoilage.
When cooked eggs have gone bad, you’ll notice any of these signs:
- A foul smell
- Mold growth that appears as dark green patches or a powdery growth
- The egg feels slimy when you touch them
- Cooked eggs that have gone bad taste chewy and rubbery
When raw eggs have gone bad, you can tell with these signs:
- The shell may be cracked or feel slimy or powdery because of mold growth
- When the raw egg has gone bad, it’ll float when you drop it in a bowl of water
- Also, if you feel and hear the egg swishing or sloshing in the shell when you hold and shake it, it is most likely going bad already
- When you break an egg that has gone off, one of the first signs you’ll notice is a foul smell. It’ll smell more like sulfur and a foul gas
- When you break an egg that has gone bad, you’ll notice that the egg white is very clear instead of the cloudy egg white in good eggs
- In addition, the yolk of an old or bad egg will look and fall flat out of the egg. It’ll also be watery
- You should check the printed date on the carton of eggs too. You may see “sell-by” “best-before” or “EXP.” These labels do not necessarily mean that the eggs are bad after the printed dates. If you have stored the eggs properly, you may still eat them. However, you may have compromised quality
How to preserve eggs
- The best place to store cooked eggs is in the refrigerator or freezer after cooking
- Keep cold eggs refrigerated until you need them
- Also, keep eggs in the carton they came in
- Do not wash unrefrigerated eggs unless you are ready to eat them
- Buy physically intact eggs
- If you’re keeping eggs out of the refrigerator, use appropriate storage containers like an egg skelter dispenser rack, egg trays, egg crates, egg racks, and egg holders
Can you eat unrefrigerated hard-boiled eggs?
No, you can’t. Hard-boiled eggs should not stay unrefrigerated for more than two hours. If you accidentally left the eggs out longer than two hours at temperatures above 90°F, discard them.
Can you eat unrefrigerated scrambled eggs?
No, you can’t. If you have left a plate of scrambled eggs uncovered on the counter for more than two hours, it is no longer safe to eat. Leaving scrambled eggs unrefrigerated when the temperature is above 90°F will encourage bacterial growth.
Can you eat unrefrigerated pickled eggs?
The only time pickled eggs should be unrefrigerated is when you are about to eat them. Refrigerate pickled eggs if you’ll not be eating them within two hours.
Moreover, opened cans of pickled eggs should be refrigerated. Otherwise, they’ll go rancid and become unhealthy to eat.
The best way to store raw eggs is the way you bought them. If you bought them refrigerated, the best way to preserve them is to leave them refrigerated. If you bought unrefrigerated eggs, keep them in a safe container and use them as quickly as possible.
Do not eat cooked eggs you have left out for more than two hours. If you need to keep them beyond one day, refrigerate them or freeze cooked eggs to keep them longer.
Thanks for reading.
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