Can I eat it? Maybe-okay-egg edition
May 10, 2016 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I made a batch of turkey meatballs yesterday. They included one egg, beaten. I used an egg that, upon further reflection, may have been past its use-by date. Keep the meatballs, or toss 'em?

This is just one egg we're talking about here, but Herr Vortex is paranoid about getting food poisoning. So here we are...

I cracked and beat the single egg, no strange smells or odd looks. I made the meatballs from a tried-and-true recipe and baked them in the oven for 30 min at 350. I cut one open to check for doneness (no pink) and ate it (it was good).

After doing all this, I prepared to make a frittata and decided THEN to test the remaining eggs in the carton to see if they were still good. Can't tell you why I didn't think of testing the one egg earlier. I did the water glass test and lo and behold, 6 of the 8 remaining floated right to the top (not good). The others did the stand-on-end thing. I threw them all out and did not make the frittata.

But what about my poor meatballs? I probably used a past-good egg. They were cooked fully and didn't smell weird. The one I ate tasted fine. I didn't die.

What say ye, Metafilter? Can I eat it?
posted by Elly Vortex to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Was there a date on the carton of eggs? The date is a sell-by date, generally, and it's OK to eat them after that if they've been stored properly.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:34 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: The carton went out with the recycling this morning. I didn't see a date.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:37 AM on May 10, 2016

Eggs in the fridge last forever. Well, not forever, but well past their sell-by date. As they get older, they can be less appetizing for fried eggs or something where you want a defined yolk, but for meatballs or frittata they should be fine.

I know of no evidence that an old egg (which is what the float test is testing for) is necessarily unsafe. I strongly suspect that you threw your eggs out without any good reason. If I had been there when you were throwing them out, I would have happily taken them off your hands and cooked with them.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2016 [33 favorites]

The float test gives you some information about the age of the egg (not very reliable information at that), but tells you nothing about the egg being unsafe to eat. Smell is the best indicator for that and since it smelled fine, go ahead and eat it. In general, eggs last for a very long time in the fridge.
posted by ssg at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

You're fine. Eat the meatballs. Post the recipe.
posted by SansPoint at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2016 [6 favorites]

I frequently eat eggs well past their dates. Like, well past. A week. More. *shrug* I figure if an egg is bad, you'll know.
posted by stray at 7:41 AM on May 10, 2016

I'm confused, it sounds like you already ate some of the meatballs and have not fallen ill? I'm not sure what better evidence there is that they are fine. :) In any case, if the egg looked and smelled fine going in, I think it was fine.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:43 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Eggs the have gone bad are REALLY obvious. They stink.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:46 AM on May 10, 2016 [9 favorites]

IF the meatballs are cooked through, I would have no problem eating these.
posted by jillithd at 7:46 AM on May 10, 2016

You'd have noticed if the egg was off when you cracked it. . .that smell is not easy to miss & the texture/color would have looked off, the white would have looked greenish stuff you would have noticed. It will also still smell & taste gross when cooked.

Floating just means that air has permeated the membrane & the air pocket is larger not that they are off. It is an indication of age not fitness to eat.

If stored correctly salmonella is a very minor risk to start with as the meatballs are well cooked I'd not be worried.
posted by wwax at 7:48 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Eggs, when kept refrigerated in the US, are safe for a very long time (3-5 weeks) past the sell-by date.

The quality declines as they begin to dehydrate, and after 2-3 weeks they can be less predictable about emulsifying as you expect, or whipping to the texture you generally look for. I wouldn't use eggs that old in a structural application if I didn't have time to re-make my meringue/mayo/dressing/airy fluffy cake, and I'd be careful in baking to add water to replace any missing volume, but I'd scramble and eat them or put them in meatloaf.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:49 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah if there is no smell and you have cooked it through, no problem at all. I probably wouldn't eat raw cookie dough made with a past-date egg, but I suspect even that is slightly more precaution than necessary. (Given that I'm the kind of person who eats raw cookie dough under any circumstances, which I'm told is already dumb.)

I guess passing on the frittata wasn't a terrible plan since you're kind of overloading the roulette gun there, but even that would have probably been fine, if perhaps sub-par in texture.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:02 AM on May 10, 2016

I use the float test to ID old eggs that are allegedly easier to hard boil (thanks to the air inside). I've never heard that I shouldn't eat older eggs.
posted by muddgirl at 8:16 AM on May 10, 2016

Bad eggs are VILE- it's not subtle, you have to air out the house after cracking one. So you're fine. Maybe as a precaution, cook all the meatballs if you haven't already, and freeze the ones you won't eat immediately.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:33 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

You're fine! Eggs last quite a long time!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2016

I've used eggs that are months past the sell-by date and been fine. A colleague told me she kept eggs around forever, too, and the only time she had to throw one out was because when she cracked it, it was black. So you'll know when they're bad.
posted by jabes at 9:15 AM on May 10, 2016

Response by poster: Awesome. Thank you all.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:24 AM on May 10, 2016

I've eaten some pretty old eggs in my day, and they were fine. You will survive!
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 10:04 AM on May 10, 2016

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