Whole eggs are the perfect medium for the development of bacteria and mould. Eggs with an undesirable odour may be high in bacteria or mould. While some of these odours disappear in baking, some will remain and give an off-taste to the product if the odour is concentrated and strong.
Store fresh eggs in the refrigerator in cartons to prevent moisture loss and absorption of odours. If refrigerator space is at a premium, eggs are stable for up to three weeks if kept at a temperature of 13°C to 15°C (55°F to 60°F). Naturally, this must be in a location with invariable conditions.
Food poisoning can result from using eggs held too long before using. Liquid or cracked eggs should be kept under refrigeration at all times.
Whole eggs can be checked for freshness with the candling or salt water method:
- Candling method: Hold the egg up to a light in a darkened room or positioned so that the content or condition of the egg may be seen. If the yolk is held firmly by the white when the egg is turned, and the egg is clean and not broken, then the egg is of good quality. Smell or odour is not readily revealed unless the shell is broken.
- Salt water method: Add 100 g of salt to 1 L (3.5 oz. to 1 qt.) of water. Allow to dissolve completely. When an egg is placed in this mixture, its level of buoyancy determines the age of the egg. An old egg will float to the surface, while a fresher egg will sink to the bottom.