Firstly, fill a fairly deep bowl with water and carefully lower the egg into the water.
A very fresh egg will immediately sink to the bottom and lie flat on its side. This is because the air cell within the egg is very small. The egg should also feel quite heavy.
As the egg starts to lose its freshness and more air enters the egg, it will begin to float and stand upright. The smaller end will lie on the bottom of the bowl, whilst the broader end will point towards the surface. The egg will still be good enough to consume, however, if the egg fully floats in the water and does not touch the bottom of the bowl at all, it should be discarded, as it will most likely be bad.
Gently drop the egg into the bowl of water. If it:
- sinks to the bottom and stays there, it is about three to six days old.
- Sinks, but floats at an angle, it’s more than a week old.
- Sinks, but then stands on end, it’s about two weeks old.
- Floats, it’s too old and should be discarded.
A bad egg will also feel extremely light in weight and give off a pungent smell.
The second method to test the eggs freshness is by breaking the egg onto a flat plate, not into a bowl.
The yolk of a very fresh egg will have a round and compact appearance and it will sit positioned quite high up in the middle of the egg. The white that surrounds it will be thick and stays close to the yolk.
A cloudy coloring to the egg white is a sign of extra freshness, as this “cloudiness” is in fact carbon dioxide, which is present when the egg is laid. Over time, the egg white will become more transparent, as the carbon dioxide dissipates.
A less fresh egg will contain a flatter yolk, that may break easily and a thinner white that spreads quite far over the plate.
Very fresh eggs are ideal for frying or poaching, but less fresh eggs should be used in sauces, cake mixtures or omelets, where the shape and texture of the egg is not as noticeable.