This is an age-old question when it comes to eggs. No, not that one. We’re talking about whether or not you should store your eggs in the fridge or keep them out on the bench. It’s a question that we’re sure has divided many people, much like the great tomato sauce debate. But seriously, where should they go?
We decided to do a little investigation to settle this debate for good, and see if you should be putting your eggs in the fridge, or if they are okay to just chill at room temperature.
Should eggs go in the fridge?
Sorry to the room-temperature egg-keepers in the room, but according to Australian Eggs, the best way to keep eggs is to store them in their original carton in the refrigerator immediately after purchase.
Temperature fluctuations are really bad for egg safety. So, if you bought your eggs from the refrigerated section at the shops, you need to keep them in the fridge when you get home. A cold egg can actually sweat if it’s left out in room temperature conditions, like on your kitchen bench.
Australian Eggs recommends not leaving your cold eggs out at room temperature for more than two hours. If you do, the condensation will create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. What kind of bacteria? Salmonella, AKA my biggest fear.
As such, you should be keeping the eggs in their original cartons because it will reduce water loss and protect other flavours from foods being absorbed into the eggs.
Australian Eggs also recommends that you don’t store eggs loosely or in designated sections of the fridge because this will expose them to a greater risk of damage. So, maybe just use your fridge’s in-built egg holder for other things?
CHOICE is a little more on the fence about the issue, arguing that although eggs don’t technically need to go in the fridge, they should last longer if you do. It also agrees that if your eggs have been in the fridge before, they need to stay in there.
Even NSW Food Authority said that eggs need to be stored in the fridge.
I know you’re probably thinking, ‘Well, why do some supermarkets keep the eggs out, then?’ According to the Australian Institute of Food Safety, there’s no requirement for retailers to refrigerate eggs but they may do so if they wish.
The reason for this is that Aussie egg producers already do quite a lot to minimise the risk of eggs getting contaminated and that salmonella would have to breach three layers of protection before it contaminated the yolk. Also, the fact that most of the foodborne illness outbreaks linked to eggs relate to raw egg products and less the way they’ve been stored.
However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food poisoning… so maybe just start keeping your eggs in the fridge?
How long do eggs last?
If you’re wondering how long eggs actually last in the fridge, Australian Eggs says they’re good to go for up to six weeks.
However, you should always be checking the use-by date on the carton.
For eggs that have been in the fridge but are nearing their end, you should use them for baking or making scrambled eggs. Older eggs are also great for hard-boiling because the white is less likely to stick to the shell, so that’s fun.
Hard-boiled eggs should be put in the fridge within two hours of cooking and will last for up to one week.
A fun little test you can do to see the freshness of your egg is to pop them in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will stay at the bottom of the bowl, while older eggs will float due to the large air cells that form in the egg.
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