Eggs past their best-before date? Don't bin them: test for freshness, then try these recipes

Stop checking use by dates and try this trick instead
Stop checking use by dates and try this trick instead Credit:  StockFood

Eggs. Endlessly versatile, wonderfully cheap, loved by all – vegans omitted. There are few meals – save for a roast dinner, perhaps – that cannot be improved by a crispy-edged, runny-yolked egg plopped on top. So why are we throwing so many away?

A whopping 720 million eggs per year are chucked away in the UK each year, which equates to a staggering £139 million going in the bin, according to a new consumer report by food waste app Too Good To Go.

The survey found that 29 per cent of the population rely solely on the best-before date of their eggs, rather than checking them for freshness. The Food Standards Agency even states that eggs can be safely eaten up to two days after the stated best-before date if cooked thoroughly – though they advise to avoid eggs that have passed their 'use by' date.

It is, admittedly, a little harder to check the freshness of your eggs than it is the freshness of soggy, mulchy lettuce, for example. But a test using a bowl of water will tell you in an instant whether your weekend omelette gets the go-ahead – and strangely, only 23 per cent of the population know about it.

Fill a bowl with cold water, and (carefully) drop your egg in. If it sinks to the bottom and lies flat on its side, it’s fresh and you can boil, scramble and poach it. If it stands upright at the bottom of the bowl, the egg may be a little older but is still fine to eat. Only if it floats to the surface is it no longer fresh and in need of chucking away – or, if you’re really keen on reducing your waste, crush the egg shells up and add to your compost heap.

And bear in mind, it's absolutely safe to freeze them. Simply crack them into a large ice tray and keep in the freezer until needed.

A floating egg indicates it is no longer fresh; an egg that sinks to the bottom indicates it is still fit for consumption Credit:  Howard Shooter

So, got a full pack of six in the fridge that aren’t getting any younger? Set an egg-sample (I’m sorry) to others and whip up one of these delicious recipes below, all starring the humble egg.