Monday, August 27, 2012

The Bad Egg

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people talking about bad eggs and how when you get one, “you’ll know”. Because I’ve heard this so much, I religiously use only fresh eggs and crack them into a separate bowl before adding them to other ingredients.  

I always check the date on the carton. But occasionally, unsure, I wonder, “Is this a bad egg?” and do the Egg-Water Test. Still, even if all signs point to fresh, I’ve wondered. The first rule of thumb is “When in doubt, throw it out.” (Why put your health in jeopardy?) But how do you know when you have a bad egg?

In the back on my mind, however, I keep remembering, “If you have a bad egg, you’ll know it.” So far, I have never really known for sure so I’ve been a bit skeptical. Really? I will? How can you be so sure?

Flipping through the many pages of my extensive cookbook collection, I searched for the answer to this question. However, I keep reading the same information over and over again. Turning to the Internet, I only find the same advice: The water test is the best way to determine freshness.

If you are not familiar with the Water test, here you go: 

  • Place and egg in a bowl of water. If it sinks, it’s fresh. 
  • If the egg floats, it’s not fresh. It’s as simple as that.  

Is this the only way to tell if you have a bad egg? I got the answer on Saturday.  

WARNING: At this point, I feel it necessary to add a warning to this blog post.  If you’re at all disturbed by the gruesome details of rotten food, please do not read further and DO NOT view the photo.

So, while making Pain Perdue on Saturday morning, I began cracking eggs into 
a mixing bowl to make the custard. The first one was lovely and fresh.

Now the second egg… (OK, I warned you: Do not read any further if you are 
disturbed by rotten food.) I cracked the egg on the counter and as I pulled apart the shell and the egg begins to fall into the bowl, I realize… “OMG!  BAD EGG, BAD EGG!  I have a BAD EGG!

I think I actually gasped a little after cracking it. The first thing that hit me was the odor. The egg had a very pungent smell of spoiled chicken. The second thing I noticed was that the egg was red and slightly bloody. And the last thing I noticed, and probably the most disturbing thing about this bad egg encounter was.. 

(I’ve warned you. If you continue to read, I cannot be held accountable for your reaction.) 

..the little embryo thing attached to the yolk that looked like a piece of raw chicken meat.   
“Oh my,” I thought. “Never in my entire life have I ever seen anything like this. I knew right away that it was a bad egg.  

As the shock began to wear off, I found myself running upstairs to grab my 
camera. “What a great blog post,” I thought, “and a perfect addition to The Soufflé, our blog’s cooking flops and failures section.  

After snapping a few shots, I picked up the phone and called Karen to tell her 
what had happened. We were all ‘GROSS’ but eventually, we both laughed it off.  

Whenever you find yourself in a quandary over the freshness of eggs, do the 
Water test. If it floats, throw it out. Always crack your eggs in a separate bowl, just in case. And most importantly, if it smells bad or shows any signs of blood, it’s a bad egg. 

I’m now a true believer that when you get a bad egg, you’ll know it. 

Cheers,  Brad


  1. Yikes Brad! I, too, have never encountered a bad egg and I was never really sure what one would be like -- thanks for clearing that up. Ewwww!

  2. Wow. Thanks for the blog post, good information and very helpful :)

  3. I think it was fertilized, not bad. A LITTLE blood is safe to eat, and actually means it's fresher than most. This egg, however, looks fertilized and although safe eat i would throw it out also. Sometimes when you buy from small farms those roosters sneak in a quick one, and thus an embryo develops. Although most companies catch these, there are some that slip past. Best way to determine if you have a fertilized egg if by candlelight test. Hope your egg experiences get better!

  4. Thank you now I know what a bad egg looks like!

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  6. y broody Delaware hen had how to tell if eggs are bad in water of widely varying ages. One chick hatch. Then she abandoned the nest to follow the one chick that has hatched. Should I take and raise the chick myself so the hen will get back to incubating the eggs?