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Eggs are perfect little packages of protein. We use them all the time, but how do you know if they are fresh? Most of us are not buying them directly from the farmer.

The USDA requires all packages to have three pieces of information you can use to help in purchasing the freshest available eggs.

First - Expiration Date - Very clearly marked and tells you that the eggs are safe until that date to eat. Usually about 4 weeks after they are packaged.

Second - Plant Number - This will tell you how far the eggs have traveled.

In the above photo, the blue carton - Plant # 1736 is located in Wolcott, NY.

Here is the link for you to check your cartons:

Third - Julian Date - This three digit number indicates the date the eggs were packed and shipped. On the lower blue carton the Julian date is "038" - February 7th. Upper white carton the Julian date is "017" - January 17th.

Float Test

If you are unsure about the safety of the eggs that have been sitting in your refrigerator, use the float test.

So for the best quality, use eggs within 3 weeks of purchasing them and store them in the original container in the coldest part of your refrigerator, not in the door.

What makes the egg float? Eggs have a porous shell. Over time the liquid inside starts to evaporate and is replaced by air, making the egg more buoyant.

And for those decorated Easter eggs....

Once hard boiled, they should be consumed within one week.


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