Eggs of Questionable Merit

Or, “How to tell a good egg from a bad egg.” I really am talking about how to tell if the eggs you have are fresh enough to use or if they should be tossed (it’s been a busy week and weekend, so metaphor is a little beyond my ability right now).

When the eggs you buy are of questionable merit, either because they’ve been sitting in the open in an Ashgabat summer for an undisclosed amount of time, or are in the refrigerator case in a supermarket in Monrovia (but imported from maybe India, Spain, or Ukraine) that may or may not be turned on over night, it’s good to have an easy way to tell if you should use them or if you’re risking a bout of the gurgling guts.

You simply put these eggs of questionable merit to the Monty Python Witch Test: see if they float.


On the right is a good egg.  It sank to the bottom of the teacup.  I’ve read that if they sink, but one end points up, you really ought to just hard boil them because they aren’t all that fresh.  Since all the eggs I buy in Monrovia have been imported and aren’t really farm fresh, they almost all wind up vertical, rather than horizontal.  If I could find fresh eggs here I’d happily buy them, but it seems that the chickens aren’t really big layers and the people who do keep poultry really only get enough eggs for their own consumption.

On the left is a bad egg.  As eggs age, the air cell in them gets bigger and bigger.  When that air cell gets big enough to make the egg float, it means that the insides have aged sufficiently to make it a little bit risky to eat.

Not that this is new or earth-shattering information unavailable elsewhere, but I’ve found it useful.  Now, whenever I get ready to cook with eggs, a teacup with water is part of the required equipment.


3 thoughts on “Eggs of Questionable Merit

  1. Older eggs have their uses. If you like deviled eggs, it is best to wait until that egg is not quite floating, but on its way to floating before boiling them. That makes the shells much easier to peel..

    For awhile, I had a few dozen chickens, and my refrigerator was overflowing with eggs. I made the mistake of trying to hard boil eggs to make deviled eggs, and it was next to impossible to get the darn shells off.

    Now, if you want a great poached egg, without having to use one of those little ring gadgets, use the freshest eggs you can find.

    • That’s basically the only advantage to the eggs we get here–the eggs we do for Easter are easy to peel. I’ve given up on trying to poach and basically just fry or scramble, and often start out trying to fry and turning into scrambled eggs when the yolks break.

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