Whether you get your egg whites from a carton or straight out of the shell, you may wonder how long they stay good for.
After all, you don’t want any bad flavors or bacteria in whatever it is you are cooking.
Do egg whites expire? The short answer is yes, egg whites will expire. Just like any other food, egg whites will eventually get to a point where they should not be consumed. The time in which they expire depends on how you store them, but if the egg whites are already out of the shell and in a container, they will generally last around 4-7 days in the fridge.
This article will explore all of the nuances of keeping your egg whites fresh and teach you how to tell if they are good to eat.
How Long Do Egg Whites Last?
How long egg whites last depends on how they are stored. If your egg whites were bought in a carton, they will probably last you about 4-7 days after opening if you keep them in the fridge. Keeping them out at room temperature will result in expired egg whites after about 2 hours.
There will be an expiration date on your carton of egg whites, and if you store them in the fridge unopened, they should last until that date. As long as they weren’t opened, your egg whites will be just fine to use until that expiration date.
If you are keeping eggs in the fridge and planning on using their egg whites eventually, this is a different story. Regular eggs can last 3-5 weeks after the packing date in the fridge without going bad. So, if you plan on cracking open an egg and separating the whites, it is a lot more likely that these egg whites won’t be expired.
Furthermore, frozen egg whites will last the longest of any of these options. They will last at least 1 year, so long as you freeze them when they are still good. They can last even longer than this in the freezer, but their quality will diminish overtime.
How Should You Store Egg Whites?
Egg whites should always be stored in the fridge or freezer. Storing them at room temperature for longer than 2 hours will result in bad egg whites, and you obviously don’t want this. Make sure your egg whites are in a sealed container so that the air isn’t contaminating them. This isn’t a super big issue, but it’s good to be extra safe when storing food items.
If you are freezing your egg whites, make sure they aren’t expired when you freeze them. When it comes time to thaw your egg whites, do NOT thaw them at room temperature. This can lead to bacteria growth, so make sure you are thawing them in the fridge. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t refreeze egg whites once they are thawed.
How Do You Tell If Egg Whites are Bad?
One good trick you can do to tell if egg whites are bad is called a “float test”. Simply put some of the egg whites in a bowl of cold water.
If they sink to the bottom, they’re very fresh and good to eat. If part of them sinks and the other part stays up, they should be good to eat but aren’t super fresh. If the egg whites float, they’re bad.
This method isn’t foolproof, but it does give you a good idea of whether your egg whites are safe to eat.
You can also rely on your sense of smell and taste to tell if they are expired. Egg whites shouldn’t have much of a smell, and if they are expired they will probably smell somewhat rotten. They might also taste really bad. Both are signs that you shouldn’t eat those egg whites.
Will Bad Egg Whites Get You Sick?
Bad egg whites can definitely get you sick. Bad bacteria may start to grow when egg whites expire, and eating this is very likely to make you sick.
The most common bacteria you can get from eating expired egg whites is salmonella, though other infections could certainly occur.
The symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting.
These are also symptoms of other food poisoning related bacteria, and they could happen to you if you eat bad egg whites. Therefore it’s so important to make sure that your egg whites are good before eating them. Indulging in an expired egg white could lead to a pretty uncomfortable couple of days.
Salmonella can infect eggs from outside contamination, porous shells, or bacteria inside the egg before the shell forms, without causing illness to the hen according to USDA.
Can You Freeze Egg Whites?
The short answer is that yes, you can freeze egg whites. They will last about 1 year in the freezer, and it’s a great way to keep them fresh for longer.
However, you may want to consider what you will be using them for before thawing them.
Since egg whites are commonly used for baking things such as meringue and macarons, you may wonder if they will still be able to create that nice, fluffy texture even after being frozen. Freezing your egg whites will probably make them a little less voluminous after whipping, but they will still work pretty well if you aren’t a perfectionist.
Here’s a good tip to get your frozen egg whites to whip as much as possible: After initially thawing them in the fridge, let your egg whites sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will make them whip up pretty similarly to if they were never frozen at all. Just make sure that you don’t leave them out for too long, because you don’t want to get food poisoning.
Egg whites are a great food used in many different dishes. They will eventually expire no matter how they are stored, but there are some good ways to prolong their life and use them to the best of your ability. It’s important to be careful when consuming them, as you want to make sure that they are still good.
Egg whites can be super fun to cook with, and we hope that this article helped you find out everything you need to know. Now, hopefully you can be fully confident that your egg whites are up to standard next time you get in the kitchen.