How to Store Fresh Eggs
Happy Monday! It has been a long, hard, and wonderful couple of weeks. Now that spring is approaching and the sun has made its grand entrance, I have been seeing a lot more visits to our website. I am honestly just so thankful that we get to travel on this journey together. From city to country, residential homestead to farm. I am still in that hazy feel that this farm is just a dream, that we are living here now but will be moving soon. We have big plans to cut out the sod and till up the garden this upcoming weekend as the weather moves into the 50s and 60s. I hope that happens! It will all feel more concrete, and all of the various tools and supplies we have purchased in the past few weeks will be justified.
One of the things that has been difficult in the past couple of months has been the odd feeling that there are chores we are forgetting to do... namely collecting eggs! Our sweet flock of six hens from the Little Homestead are still living there. The new family that cares for them is just doing so great - thanks Anna and Noah! We are happy that they have a loving family to look after them. We are, however, desperately missing having fresh eggs about the house. Thankfully there are several small farms in the area that sell their eggs to the public, many of which are free range. We are still getting quality eggs, and that's nice to have. There is really nothing quite like eating eggs from your own hens! They just taste better, you know? I recently dropped our newest e-course called Finding Your Flock that talks all about how to raise your own backyard hens from hatch to life after death. In it you can read all about expecting, collecting, and storing eggs!
Cleaning Freshly Laid Eggs
This is a bit of controversial topic and one that many are confused about, especially if you do not own chickens. If you are purchasing freshly laid eggs from a farm or a neighbor, then you may want to consider what this means. When an egg is laid, it has a natural outer coating on it called the bloom. This is a natural protective coating that prevents moisture and bacteria to enter through the many pores of the shell. When you wash an egg, this removes the bloom and leaves it susceptible to going bad. At the feed store, there are several commercial egg washes available. I honestly don't really understand the point of these.
The best way to ensure that your eggs are kept clean is to consistently clean out the nesting boxes and provide fresh straw for your girls to lay on. Sometimes, however, you'll end up with a poop covered egg. It just happens! In the event that you have a dirty egg, you can simply wipe the poo off with a dry cloth or piece of sandpaper. If it's really bad, then you may wash it in warm water - no soap - and dry it off immediately. Any egg that has been washed must be stored in the refrigerator because the bloom is now gone!
Storing Eggs at Room Temperature
Here's another debate - how long can you keep eggs on the counter at room temperature? Some people say one week and others say a month. If you read this egg storage experiment by Mother Earth News, they kept fertile eggs stored at room temperature for over 8 weeks, and they were still edible! For me, I fall somewhere in between the one week to one month area. I've kept eggs out on the counter, unwashed, for several weeks and found that they were fine. It's safest to only keep them out of the fridge for a week and also the tastiest. Eating an egg within the first two weeks that it is laid will result in the best tasting egg, with a rich flavor and white that isn't runny.
Some hens lay hidden nests, especially if they free range, and you may end up finding an entire clutch under a bush somewhere in the yard. It is suggested, for safety, that you throw these eggs away as you have no idea how old they are. There are others, though, that will perform the float test with their eggs. This can simply be done by filling up a bowl with cool water and placing your eggs, one by one, in the water. If the egg drops to the bottom and lays flat on its side, then it is very fresh. If it is older but still good to eat, it will sink and stand on one end. If they float to the surface, they are no longer good to eat.
How to Store Eggs in the Fridge
Fresh eggs can be stored in the fridge at around 36°Fahrenheit. Any eggs that have been washed, are fertile during warm months, or are older than one month should be kept here. Eggs can be kept in the refrigerator for up to and possibly over three months. That's a long time! We like to keep our eggs in a carton or even a bowl. There's really nothing prettier than taking out a fresh ironware bowl filled with speckled eggs to start baking!
Did you know that most eggs you purchase at the grocery store are well over a month old? That kind of makes you rethink how fresh those eggs are. An older egg is, however, much easier to hard boil. They have their place! Once you have placed an egg in the refrigerator, there it must stay. You cannot bring out eggs to room temperature and then place them back in the cooler.
Will you be purchasing your first flock of chickens this year? Are you a seasoned chicken keeper? I'd love to hear which types of hens you have and what your favorite color of eggs is! I am really excited to receive blue/green eggs from our Ameraucanas this summer.