Do you really have to refrigerate farm fresh eggs? How come they won’t go bad on the counter? Why do store bought eggs have to be refrigerated if fresh eggs don’t? Here’s why!
Here’s Why You Don’t Have To Refrigerate Farm Fresh Eggs
All eggs come with what’s called bloom after being laid. This is a protective coating around the shell that protects bacteria from entering the pores and damaging any chick growing inside.
That bloom ensures that a mother hen can lay one egg per day for over a week to gather a clutch before she starts sitting on them to hatch them out. As long as the bloom is on the egg, it is protected from bacteria and can be safely stored on the counter.
Washing your eggs removes the bloom from the shell, and means that bacteria can enter into it. If you find you need to wash an egg, then make sure you refrigerate it after. Here’s more information on washing farm fresh eggs.
You should also continue to refrigerate any eggs that have already been chilled because leaving a cold egg out can cause condensation to form on the shell. Anytime there is cold moisture it causes bacteria to enter shell. (This is why you should always wash eggs with warm water!)
How Long Will Farm Fresh Eggs Last?
Fresh eggs will last a long time! Freshly laid, unwashed eggs can last as long as a month on the counter. You’ll just want some way of keeping track so you eat the oldest eggs first. There’s a nifty egg holder on Amazon that would make this a breeze, and it looks pretty cool too.
Fresh eggs can last even longer in the fridge. You can easily plan on 3 months in fridge. If you put fresh eggs in an airtight container they can last as long as six months!
Another simple way to track how old your eggs are would be to just write the date the egg was laid right onto the shell. Pencil should work just fine.
If you are worried that an egg has gone bad, simply float it in glass of water. If the egg touches the bottom, it’s still good. And if the egg floats to the top, it has gone bad.
Why Must Store Bought Eggs Be Refrigerated?
If farm fresh eggs are perfectly safe at room temperature, then why are all store bought eggs refrigerated? The answer is it has to do with egg washing regulations.
Salmonella can infect hens, which leads to infection of the eggs if they become dirty with fecal matter. Food poisoning can be a big deal and even cause death, and the U.S. government decided to try to decrease the number of cases by requiring all eggs to be washed before being sold.
The United Kingdom took a different tactic to prevent salmonella, and actually prohibit eggs from being refrigerated. They require all framers to vaccinate their flocks against salmonella, and the eggs may not be washed before sale. This means the farmers must keep the eggs clean or they will not be able to sell their eggs.
There has even been a study that shows that even in infected eggs, there is almost no salmonella growth until after after 21 days of storage, no matter what temperature.
Personally, I’d much rather make sure my flock is healthy and they have clean nest boxes in order to prevent a salmonella infection to being with. I do refrigerate my eggs when I want them to last, but there are some times when it’s nice to leave them out. Room temperature eggs better for baking and making mayonnaise!
So, if your birds are healthy, and your eggs are clean and unwashed, have no worries about storing them on the counter.
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