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Eggs- Refrigerated or Not?

Asked by GinaS. Answered on 22nd June 2011

Full question

Should eggs be refrigerated? I used to and then stopped, as I heard they shouldn't be. Yesterday I was buying eggs at a UK supermarket and their advice was to put them in the fridge. Can you perhaps clarify for me and probably 100s of others who have the egg dilema? Many thanks

Our answer

Eggs in their shells don't necessarily need to be refrigerated but they do need to be stored in cool, dry conditions. As most houses now have central heating and very few have a cool larder, it tends to be most practical to store eggs in the fridge. If you do have a suitably cool room to store them in then they should be fine left out of the fridge. However we would like to point out that the UK Food Standards Agency recommends that eggs should be stored in a "cool, dry place, ideally the fridge", and the US FDA recommends that eggs for sale are stored in refrigerated units at below 45F and all eggs are "refrigerated promptly" after purchase.

Whether you store eggs in the fridge or in a cool room, it is preferable to buy smaller numbers of eggs frequently than to buy a large quantity and store them for a long time. In the UK eggs are individually stamped with a "best before" date (which should correspond to the date on the box) and in the US there is a date on the carton by which it is recommended the eggs are used and the FDA recommend that eggs are used within 3 weeks of purchase. Once an egg has been cracked open then the white and yolk should be stored in the fridge and used within 48 hours.

When using eggs for baking it is preferable to let the eggs come up to room temperature so you need to remove them from the fridge about an hour before using, or you can take the refrigerator chill off them by submerging the eggs (in their shells) in a bowl of warm water for 15-20 minutes before using.

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