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Handling & Storage

In the Store . . .

To ensure top quality, buy only grade "A" eggs that have been kept refrigerated and that have clean, oval, uncracked shells. Most eggs sold in grocery stores are grade "A" eggs. These eggs also have a firm white, a small air cell at the wide end and a centered yolk. In other words, grade "A" eggs are fresh, high quality eggs! When buying eggs, check the Best Before date on the carton. It indicates the length of time the eggs will maintain their grade "A" quality. If you want to eat them after the date, they are best used in thoroughly cooked dishes, i.e. baked, hard-cooked or scrambled rather than soft-poached.

Don't be fooled by the colour of eggshells. Colour is not related to quality, flavor or nutritional value. The breed of hen determines the colour of the eggshell. The white leghorn breed of hen lays white-shelled eggs while the brown leghorn breed lays brown-shelled eggs.

Eggs are perishable. When shopping, pick up eggs last. Ask the cashier to pack them with frozen items to keep them cold longer. Get them home and into a refrigerator immediately.

At Home . . .

In the Refrigerator

Keep eggs as fresh as possible by storing them in the refrigerator in their original carton as soon as you get home. The carton protects the eggs from absorbing flavors and odors of other foods nearby, especially from strong-smelling foods like onions, cheese or cabbage. Keep raw foods (meats, poultry, and eggs) separate from cooked foods in the refrigerator.

Keep eggs refrigerated at 4° C (40 ° F) or lower at all times.

Keep eggs in the main body of the fridge (not on the door). This will keep them at a more constant, colder temperature.

Keep eggs in their original cartons. This will protect them from taking on any off-odors from any strong-smelling goods in the fridge (eg. onions, strong chesses or meats).

Leftover raw egg whites and yolks should be put in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator immediately. To prevent yolks from drying up, cover them with a little cold water. Drain the water before using.

Storage Times
 Raw whole eggs  Use by "Best Before" Date
 Raw yolks or whites  Use within 2 to 4 days
 Hard-cooked eggs in the shell  Use within 1 week

When you are preparing eggs (or any perishable food):

  • always wash your hands first;
  • wash utensils (e.g. spoons, bowls) used for raw eggs before reusing for other raw foods or cooked products;
  • serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold;
  • do not allow foods to sit at room temperature for a long period of time;
  • leftovers should be refrigerated in covered containers immediately after serving;
  • do not mix leftovers from the serving table with other food that is still on the stove or in the refrigerator, since the difference in temperatures can stimulate bacteria growth;
  • use leftovers within four days.

In the Freezer

Raw eggs can be frozen. To freeze whole eggs beat them just until blended. Pour them into a freezer container, seal tightly, label with the number of eggs and the date, and freeze. Substitute 3 tbsp (45 mL) thawed whole eggs for 1 large fresh egg. Eggs should not be frozen in the shell.

Egg whites can be frozen "as is." Pour them into a freezer container, seal tightly, label with the number of egg whites and the date, and freeze. Substitute 2 tbsp (30 mL) thawed egg whites for 1 large egg.

Egg yolks will thicken or gel when frozen and therefore cannot be used in a recipe unless they receive special treatment. To prevent this gelation, beat in either 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt or 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) sugar or corn syrup per 1/4 cup (50 mL) egg yolks (about 4 yolks). Label freezer container with the number of yolks, the date and whether you added salt (for main dishes) or sugar (for desserts and baking) and freeze. Substitute 1 tbsp (15 mL) thawed yolks for 1 large fresh yolk.

Freezer Storage Times

Raw whole eggs (beaten)   Use within 4 months
Raw yolks or whites  Use within 4 months
Hard-cooked eggs  Not Recommended 


Freeze eggs in small quantities and defrost only what you need. An easy way to freeze them is to put them in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer to a freezer container and label.

It is best to thaw eggs in the refrigerator and use them as soon as they are thawed. Use them only in dishes that will be thoroughly cooked.