Generally speaking, eggs tend to be safe for consumption for long amounts of time after being purchased.
What most people do not know, however, is that eggs, just like all other food items in the kitchen or pantry, are perishable.
It is for this reason that, ideally, eggs ought to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. There are a lot of things that contribute to just how long you can keep your eggs fresh.
These range from which type of eggs you have (here I mean whether they are chicken eggs or quail, you get the drift.) to how you prepare the eggs and how well you ultimately store the eggs.
When it comes to eggs, when they are properly handled and stored, they will rarely go bad.
But you should note that if you keep eggs for too long a time, they will start to dry up inside and I am sure nobody wants that.
For this article, we shall be covering hard boiled eggs. So, if you want to learn everything about what to do and what not to do when choosing, preparing hard boiled eggs, then stick around.
I promise you will not regret it.
How long do hard-boiled eggs last? Once you have boiled your eggs, whether they were for meal prepping or for any other purpose, they have just one week until you have to discard them. Can you believe that hard-boiled eggs actually go bad faster than raw uncooked eggs?
Of course, this is assuming that these hard-boiled eggs were stored in the refrigerator not too long after being boiled and were still in their shells.
On the other hand, if the hard-boiled eggs were shelled or peeled before refrigeration, you can count that as minus two days from the original seven to rotten town.
What are hard boiled eggs?
Essentially speaking and borrowing from their name, hard-boiled eggs are eggs that have been boiled. And, not just boiled, but those that have been boiled in water for 10 minutes or more.
Oftentimes, chicken eggs are the ones that are commonly used to prepare hard-boiled eggs but you can definitely use other variety of eggs such as quail eggs and ostrich eggs or duck eggs.
How do you prepare hard-boiled eggs?
When it comes to boiling eggs, the biggest problem is that a lot of times people easily end up over-cooking them.
This can lead to the eggs having a green layer on them around the yolk and at times even developing an off taste and smell.
To prepare hard-boiled eggs, after ensuring that you are using fresh eggs by doing the water test, place the eggs in a saucepan or cooking pan. Next is to cover the eggs in the saucepan with water ensuring that they are completely submerged in the water.
This is followed by heating the saucepan on the stove on high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil (you can add half a teaspoon of salt to make the eggs easier to peel afterward).
Proceed to turn down the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for between ten and twelve minutes after which you will remove them from the hot water and place them in an ice bath in order to stop the cooking process.
Once they have cooled you can peel them to enjoy them or store them.
How to properly store hard-boiled eggs
The best way to store hard-boiled eggs is to keep them in either the refrigerator or the freezer. When doing so, ensure that they are kept in a container or plastic Ziplock bag that can be resealed.
If the eggs have been removed from their shells, you can go a step further to ensure they retain their quality by keeping them moist even while they are in the refrigerator or freezer.
To do this, all you need is to place them on a damp kitchen towel or cloth as well as covering them on the top with another damp kitchen towel or cloth.
Can you freeze hard-boiled eggs?
Although not the most ideal method of preservation, hard-boiled eggs can be frozen for longer shelf life.
This method is usually not really recommended as a method to preserve whole eggs because, during the freezing process, the texture of the egg whites changes into a rubberier feel thus making them chewy.
Hard-boiled eggs that are for use later in a salad or any other dish or recipe that requires the eggs be chopped, should be frozen separately from any other ingredient that is to go into the said dish or meal.
After the eggs have thawed is when all other ingredients should ideally be added for mixing.
In order to freeze the hard-boiled eggs, begin by chopping them up into pieces or in the alternative, you can choose to grate them.
This is all depending on your preference. Once chopped or grated, transfer them into an airtight, tightly resealable freezer friendly container or bag.
It would be an added advantage to ensure that you write or indicate the date of storage on the outside of the container. This is because hard-boiled eggs tend to only keep well for up to a month stored in the freezer.
Thawing or defrosting hard-boiled eggs should be done by transferring the container into the refrigerator from the freezer and leaving them there for a few hours.
Defrosted hard-boiled eggs should be used or consumed within two days of defrosting in order to maintain the best quality of the eggs.
How to tell if a hard-boiled egg is bad?
The easiest way to tell if anything has gone bad is to rely on our trusty senses. For hard boiled eggs, the fastest and most noticeable sign that it has gone bad is the smell coming off from it.
If your hard-boiled eggs are giving off any sort of unpleasant or rotten smell, they have definitely gone bad and should not be consumed at any cost.
This is especially the case if the hard-boiled eggs had been removed from the shells or peeled prior to storage. If they were still in their shells, you may have to crack them open and peel them first before you notice any odor they may be giving off.
Another sure sign of spoilage as with many other food items is the presence of mold on the hard-boiled eggs. If you see mold, throw the eggs out.
One thing to note with hard boiled eggs is that the change in color of the yolk does not necessarily equate to spoilage.
Most times, the color of the yolk is usually different depending on the length of cooking time that the egg underwent.
Usually, if the hard-boiled eggs are perfectly cooked, the yolk will have a deep yellow or sort of golden color. Generally, the yolks of hard-boiled eggs become paler the longer you cook them for.
Eventually, they will end up turning a shade of green or even grey. The texture also becomes chalkier as you go.
What happens if you eat old hard-boiled eggs?
At no cost should a person intentionally eat bad or rotten hard-boiled eggs. This is because there exists a multitude of symptoms that may affect the individual as repercussions of eating the same. These symptoms usually range and vary from individual to individual.
The main risk related to the consumption of spoilt or rotten hard-boiled eggs is, you guessed it, salmonella. This is a type of bacteria that can grow either on the shell or on the inside of the yolk and egg white of a hard-boiled egg.
Sometimes it even grows on both parts. Ingestion of this bacteria leads to a form of food poisoning. Other symptoms relating to salmonella and consuming rotten hard-boiled eggs include:
- Diarrhea; this symptom if severe can lead to dehydration due to the loss of liquids from the body. If you experience diarrhea you should ensure that you keep yourself hydrated by taking lots of water and eating fruits such as watermelon to help in replenishing the lost fluids.
- abdominal cramps or stomach aches; this is usually caused by the muscles in the stomach and digestive system having a lot of pressure on them. To treat this at home, you can take a mild painkiller and plenty of water and rest. A hot water bottle may help to alleviate the pain at times as well.
- Fever; believe it or not, consuming rotten hard-boiled eggs can lead to a person experiencing a low-grade fever. Getting plenty of rest and drinking a lot of liquids can help reduce a fever without seeking medical attention.
- Vomiting; this will usually be caused by the irritation that the rotten hard-boiled eggs will have on your digestive system. To remedy this at home, you can keep taking fluids in order to avoid losing too many body fluids. You can also eat lots of bland foods and lightly.
The severity of these symptoms can vary on the individual depending on their age and any underlying health issues as well as just how spoilt the rotten hard-boiled eggs were.
If you experience any of these symptoms at a severe level, for instance, a fever of more than thirty - seven degrees Celsius and for an extended period of time, for instance, having diarrhea for more than two days.
Stop trying to address them at home and seek medical attention immediately in order to avoid any severe consequences such as death.