How to Tell if an Egg is Fresh (Just by Picking It Up!)

When you raise backyard chickens, this time of year is probably pretty crazy at your house as far as egg production is concerned. I know it is at our house! We've got eggs in the fridge and out on the counter.  

There are eggs in baskets and bowls, spilling out of our crisper drawer and stacked in cartons, just waiting for the unsuspecting visitor to come down the driveway so we can ply them with some of our extras.<
While normally we can keep up and manage to eat all the eggs are girls are laying, during peak spring production we often fall behind and I start to lose track of which eggs are the oldest. All those eggs all over the kitchen tends to lead to some confusion. 

Since unwashed eggs will last just fine for weeks and weeks (and even longer if they are refrigerated), it's a shame to just throw the eggs away, even if I don't remember exactly how old they are. 

I always do have good intentions of scribbling the date  I collect each egg right on the egg with a pencil, but somehow I never manage to be quite that organized.

So I end up with dozens and dozens of eggs with no way to tell how old they are without cracking them open (you'll know right away if the egg has gone bad from the appearance and - mostly - the smell)...

...or by doing the Float Test (which is a quick and easy way to tell which eggs are fresh), but after they've been dunked in a glass of water, they need to be refrigerated and who has room in the fridge for all those eggs?

Other than that, there's no way to tell if an egg is fresh just by looking at it.... or is there?

How to Tell if an Egg is Fresh (Just by Picking it Up)

There actually is a way to tell if an egg is fresh without cracking it or floating it in a glass of water. 
All you have to do is pick up the egg and shake it. Honest. That's it.

An egg that's been around for awhile will slosh around and you'll be able to feel the yolk jiggling around inside. 

That's because as an egg ages, the air sac at one end enlarges as air seeps in through the shell and evaporates the moisture in the egg white. So there's empty space and the insides start moving around.
When you shake a fresh egg, you won't feel anything jiggling. 

So you'll want to use the eggs that are jiggling first. (unless you want to eat only the freshest eggs, in which case you can scramble the older eggs up for your chickens to eat. Mine love scrambled eggs!)

And it's always a good idea to crack each egg into a small bowl to be sure it hasn't gone bad before adding it to your cake mix or pancake batter or frying pan. Just to be on the safe side....

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