It happens to the best of us. You buy "fresh" eggs, only to find out that your expensive, organic, cage-free, brown eggs are past their sell-by date. But don't trash them just yet, because you can probably still use them! Raw, shelled eggs typically last three weeks after their sell-by date when properly refrigerated and four to five weeks after their packing date when properly refrigerated.
Boiling or cracking eggs shortens their shelf life, with boiled eggs lasting about a week. This is because eggshells, which are highly porous, have a thin coating of mineral oil that seals and protects the egg. Boiling them washes away this protective sealing, leaving the shell susceptible to bacterial contamination. Once you peel these eggs, you should eat them the same day. After cracking them, raw, whole eggs have to be eaten within two days. Egg whites stored on their own can last up to four days, but yolks have to be used within two days.
If your eggs are reaching the end of their shelf life and you just want to really be sure, you can always check the freshness with a water test. Just take a cold glass or bowl of water, and gently place the egg into the cup. If the egg sinks, it's fresh and safe to eat. If it floats, then the egg has spoiled.
If you need to significantly extend their shelf life, consider freezing your eggs. Frozen whole eggs, yolks, and whites can be frozen for up to a year. But be aware that egg yolks thicken when frozen. To slow this process, beat in either 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar for every four yolks. While you may encounter some slight changes in texture and preparation, they will still be edible.
Now that you know how long you can store your eggs, check out these delicious egg recipes for breakfast, lunch, and — yes — even dinner.