Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Which came first?

My friend called me the other day and asked me how long eggs were "good" for after their expiration date (about a week or so, generally), and how long she could keep boiled eggs in the fridge (1-2 weeks). This got me thinking about foods and food storage, and about something that totally baffled me when I was in Australia:

In Australia, they sell eggs unrefrigerated. Yep, between the cookies and the crackers, cartons of eggs were sold. Apparently the rest of the world does it too, and they're more or less healthy.

It seems weird to me. I was always told to keep eggs refrigerated! I would rush home from the grocery store and put my eggs in the fridge straight away, lest they sit around for half an hour and burst open a la Ghostbusters. I guess when eggs come out they're not refrigerated...and, I mean, they're in a shell so they should be okay. Right?

With a little bit of research I found out that eggs can be kept unrefrigerated for about 5 days, and can be kept in the fridge for about 4-5 weeks (a good rule of thumb: one day out of the fridge equals one week in the fridge). If you buy them off a shelf, it's suggested you throw them in the fridge fairly quickly if you don't know how fresh they are. As well, one generally shouldn't switch it up; if you buy them from a cooler, don't store them on the counter.

So next time I travel (or when I finally make the move back to Aus) I won't freak out about room-temperature eggs. While refrigeration keeps them good for longer, a few days on the counter won't hurt.

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