How Long Can Eggs Sit Out: An Overview
Eggs are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, it’s important to handle them properly to ensure that they are safe to eat. One question that often comes up is how long can eggs sit out at room temperature before they spoil?
The answer to this question depends on whether the eggs are raw or cooked. Raw eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible after they are purchased or laid, while cooked eggs can be left out for a short period of time. In this article, we will explore why eggs need to be refrigerated, what happens when they are left at room temperature, and how to store them safely.
Why Do Eggs Need Refrigeration?
Eggs need to be refrigerated because they can be contaminated with bacteria, such as Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. If eggs are left at room temperature, these bacteria can grow and multiply quickly, increasing the risk of illness.
Refrigeration slows down the growth of bacteria and helps to keep eggs fresh for a longer period of time. It’s important to note that eggs should be kept in their original carton, which helps to protect them from moisture and odors in the refrigerator.
What Happens When Eggs Are Left at Room Temperature?
When eggs are left at room temperature, they can spoil quickly. As bacteria multiply, they can produce toxins that can make you sick if you eat the eggs.
In addition, eggs can also lose moisture when they are left out, which can cause them to become dry and rubbery. This can affect their texture and taste when they are cooked.
How Long Can Raw Eggs Sit Out Safely?
Raw eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible after they are purchased or laid. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), eggs should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
If the temperature is above 90°F (32°C), eggs should not be left out for more than one hour. This is because the heat can cause bacteria to grow more quickly, increasing the risk of illness.
How to Tell If an Egg Is Still Good
To tell if an egg is still good, you can perform a simple test. Fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the egg in the water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lays flat on its side, it is still fresh.
If the egg stands up on one end or floats to the top of the water, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded. This is because air has entered the egg and caused it to spoil.
Can Cooked Eggs Sit Out at Room Temperature?
Cooked eggs can be left out for a short period of time, but they should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. This is because bacteria can still grow on cooked eggs, increasing the risk of illness.
If you are serving eggs at a party or event, it’s best to keep them on ice or in a chafing dish to keep them at a safe temperature.
How Long Can Hard-Boiled Eggs Sit Out?
Hard-boiled eggs can be left out for up to two hours at room temperature before they need to be refrigerated. If the temperature is above 90°F (32°C), they should not be left out for more than one hour.
It’s important to note that hard-boiled eggs should be stored in the refrigerator in their shells to keep them fresh.
How to Store Eggs Safely
To store eggs safely, keep them in their original carton in the refrigerator. Do not wash eggs before storing them, as this can remove the protective coating on the shell and increase the risk of contamination.
If you have leftover egg yolks or whites, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Tips for Keeping Eggs Fresh
To keep eggs fresh, it’s important to use them before their expiration date. If you are unsure if an egg is still good, perform the water test described above.
In addition, always wash your hands before handling eggs and avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw eggs away from other foods.
Conclusion: Proper Handling of Eggs Is Crucial
In conclusion, eggs are a nutritious and delicious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, it’s important to handle them properly to ensure that they are safe to eat.
Raw eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible, while cooked eggs can be left out for a short period of time. To keep eggs fresh, store them in their original carton in the refrigerator and use them before their expiration date.
By following these tips, you can enjoy eggs safely and deliciously in your favorite recipes.