Q: How long is it safe to keep eggs in the refrigerator before they need to be discarded? — P.W., Jackson, Mich.
A: According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eggs in the shell will maintain freshness for three to five weeks beyond the carton’s stamped expiration date, provided that you keep them refrigerated at a temperature of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
A hard-boiled egg should be used within a week. It’s a good idea to use a refrigerator thermometer to accurately set the temperature. The last date of sale stamped on a carton from a USDA-inspected egg facility cannot exceed 30 days after the pack date.
Every carton of eggs has a stamped “Julian date,” a three digit number corresponding to the day of the year the eggs were packaged. For example, June 27 is the 178th day of the year.
Another point about freshness: Placing an egg in a glass of water will identify the freshest eggs. An egg that