Eggs are truly versatile ingredients that can be used in a massive number of recipes or to create very unique dishes.
However, in order for them to taste as good as they do, and in order for them to last a decent length of time, it is important that they are stored away properly, and cared for sufficiently!
But how long can eggs actually sit out for? At what point do they start to go bad?
Quick Answer: Generally, you should be aiming to allow your eggs to sit out for no longer than 2 hours at a time. Instead, you should be aiming to place your eggs directly into a refrigerator as soon as you purchase them.
However, this is generally only the case for environments where the room temperature is above 15 degrees celsius.
If the eggs are allowed to sit out in an environment that is under 15 degrees celsius, then they will be cool enough to last.
Now that you know how long shelled eggs last when sitting out, why don’t we take a look at how long they last in other states? Read on below to find out even more!
How Long Can Raw Egg Whites Sit Out For?
Unfortunately, much like when they are shelled, egg whites will not be able to last sufficiently when left out at room temperature.
You should aim to have them sit for no longer than 2 hours. Anywhere past this time, the egg whites will begin to develop bacteria.
If you want to keep your raw egg whites separated for longer, place them in the refrigerator, where they can last upwards of 2 to 4 days before becoming susceptible to bacteria.
As well as this, you can also choose to keep raw egg whites in the freezer, which allows them to last up to a year before they begin to spoil.
This can be very convenient, because, unlike separated egg whites, eggs still in their shells cannot be frozen, due to the impact it will have on the shells.
Make sure never to refreeze egg whites once they have thawed, as they will have become susceptible to bacteria, and the process of refreezing will alter the texture and taste of the whites.
How Long Can Raw Egg Yolks Sit Out For?
If you also have some raw egg yolks separated from the egg whites, you should try to only keep them out on your kitchen counter for around 2 hours at the most.
Otherwise, place them in the fridge, to allow them to stay protected from bacteria for up to 4 days, or place them in the freezer to survive for up to a year.
Raw egg yolks can very quickly harbor bacteria when left exposed to warm air, thus it is very important to use them up right away, or to store them adequately
How Long Can A Hard-Boiled Egg Sit Out For?
Once again, a hard-boiled egg should not be allowed to sit out for more than 2 hours, whether it is still in the shell or not.
You can also choose to place a hard-boiled egg into the refrigerator, and you can expect it to last up to a week at most.
This is because of the fact that the egg has been cooked, and thus it will produce less moisture when refrigerated, leaving it less susceptible to bacteria.
However, you do not want to place hard-boiled eggs into the freezer, as the act of thawing out the eggs before eating them will cause the cells of the egg to warp slightly, which can directly impact the flavor and the texture in a very unappealing way.
How Long Can Dishes Made Of Eggs Sit Out For?
Dishes such as quiche, cakes, pies, or other baked goods should generally only be allowed to sit out on a counter for around 2 hours.
This is because these dishes still have plenty of moisture, making them a breeding ground for bacteria when stored at average room temperatures.
You can choose to place these dishes in a refrigerator to allow them to survive for up to a week, however, you should make sure that they are placed into their own isolated containers to ensure that they can last for the entire seven days, and even over it.
If you want to help such dishes last over 2 months, you can also place them in a freezer.
However, you should make sure not to refreeze them, or allow them to stay in the freezer for over 2 months, as after that point the texture and taste of such products will be directly impacted for the worse.
How Long Can Pasteurized Liquid Eggs Sit Out?
Pasteurized liquid eggs are eggs that are carefully controlled to be free of foodborne illnesses, and often contain minor preservatives that help to make them less susceptible to bacterial infection.
They are also kept in a liquid form to make for easy usage, especially in baking and other recipes.
Such eggs should also be refrigerated wherever possible, as if they are left on a kitchen counter at room temperature, then the packaging may begin to sweat, which creates moisture and thus invites bacteria into the contents.
If the liquid eggs are still in an unopened container, you can easily place them in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. However, once the package is opened, you should aim to leave it in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 days.
This is because liquid eggs are more susceptible to creating excess moisture than other eggs, and thus are more vulnerable to bacterial growth.
However, what makes pasteurized liquid eggs great is that they can easily be placed in the freezer, to last up to a year.
However, once again, you should try to avoid refreezing more than one time, as it will have an impact on the quality of the eggs.
How Should You Store Eggs Away?
Generally, you will want to make sure to always store away egg products in the refrigerator wherever possible, especially if you live somewhere where the internal temperature of your kitchen may exceed 15 degrees celsius.
Placing eggs into a refrigerator significantly improves the length of time that they will last, as it reduces their exposure to bacteria.
You should also make sure to always buy the freshest eggs you can find.
When you find the eggs at your local grocery store, make sure to look for eggs that still have a long time left before they expire, as they are far less likely to develop bacteria.
As well as this, you should also try to pick up items like eggs towards the end of a grocery store trip, as this significantly cuts down on the amount of time that they will be exposed to open air and high temperatures.
You should also try to store your eggs in their original packaging where possible, as most egg cartons are designed not only to keep the eggs safe but also to protect them from other products in your refrigerator, protecting them from bacteria for much longer.
How Should You Handle Eggs?
If you want to ensure maximum safety when handling eggs in your own kitchen, you should make sure to handle them with care.
Do not squeeze them too hard, or subject them to force, because the eggs are incredibly thin and fragile, and as soon as egg whites and yolks are exposed, they quickly become susceptible to infection.
As well as this, you should also make sure to wash your eggs before you use them. This is especially important if you are handling unpasteurized eggs, as they are more likely to be dirty or to be harboring small pockets of existing bacteria.
Why Should You Never Leave Eggs To Sit Out?
Now that you know that leaving eggs to sit out can cause bacteria to develop, spoiling the eggs, you’re likely wondering why exactly this happens.
The main reason that you should never leave eggs out on your kitchen counter is that, when left to sit at room temperature, the eggs will actually begin to sweat.
Naturally, the introduction of moisture on the shell of the egg will instantly attract scores of bacteria, causing the eggs to begin spoiling very quickly.
Eggs tend to sweat most in countries like the United States and Canada, where eggs are only sanitized after they have been laid.
In other countries in the United Kingdom, eggs are sanitized before they are even laid, as the chickens are vaccinated against salmonella.
This means that the eggs do not begin to sweat within such a short period in the region, and also explains why they can actually be sold unrefrigerated in grocery stores in the area!
Are Eggs Dangerous To Eat?
Though they may be susceptible to carrying illnesses like salmonella, eggs are actually quite safe to eat, provided you take adequate care of them and use them properly.
You should always cook eggs fully before ever consuming them, as this will kill off all bacteria and viruses that could have found their way into the eggs.
This is also why it is so important not to allow your eggs to sit out on your kitchen counter, unprotected, as that allows bacteria to begin harvesting.
You should always make sure to place eggs within your refrigerator, no matter what state they are in, or what they have been used to create.
Refrigerators will help to keep bacteria from harvesting on the eggs, thus making them far safer to eat and to use in recipes.
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