Do you have to refrigerate farm fresh eggs? – Anyone who has lived in the United States for a while has probably seen the seemingly endless rows of egg cartons right next to the milk and butter in the cold storage areas of supermarkets.
It’s only natural for those who have never raised chickens before to worry about whether or not their eggs are fit for human consumption. Because of this, you may be wondering if you need to refrigerate your farm-fresh eggs to ensure that they remain excellent.
Should eggs from a farm be refrigerated?
Rae Ellen Bichell, an NPR reporter, claims that the refrigeration of eggs is mostly a North American, Oceanic, and Pacific practice. No matter where you go in the world, you can buy eggs in huge piles, in baskets, or from a vendor on the street. If people in other parts of the world don’t eat their eggs right away, how do they keep them from going bad? It’s interesting to know that most eggs have antibacterial properties built in, but in the United States, we wash the eggs to get rid of them.
A thin mucous shell protects an egg when it is laid by a hen. Despite its unappealing name, this layer actually contains antibacterial characteristics and acts as a seal to prevent harmful substances from entering the egg through the shell’s pores. The guys at The Happy Chicken Coop claim that eggs can be kept at room temperature for up to one month without being washed as long as they aren’t touched by anything other than a bird.
The answer to that question lies in the need to keep eggs purchased from a store cold.
Why would businesses spend the money to refrigerate eggs if they can be stored safely at room temperature? To summarize, this issue may be boiled down to one word: vaccine. Vaccinating hens against salmonella is mandatory across most of Europe. In the U.S., chickens aren’t vaccinated against avian flu, so infected hens could potentially spread the disease to their offspring through their mucous membranes.
Business Insider reports that the use of factory farming techniques in the United States raises the probability of salmonella infection. Due to their crowded living conditions and lack of human interaction, hens in factories are more likely to become unwell. It is fairly uncommon for sick hens in a factory to go unnoticed due to the large number of birds.
The USDA mandates the washing and refrigeration of certified eggs to protect consumers from salmonella. In factories, eggs are briefly submerged in steam, which removes the protective barrier and washes away any particles (such as chicken poop) that could cause the egg to become contaminated. There is far less of a chance of contamination with farm-fresh eggs because people who keep hens in a backyard coop tend to have healthier chicks and will notice if one or more of their chickens get sick.
Toss any eggs laid by a hen that shows signs of exhaustion, decreased appetite or thirst, or a change in the color of its comb. These symptoms may indicate that your chicken has salmonella, as described in My Pet Chicken. You should never eat eggs from a sick chicken, even if the chicken itself is healthy.
Keeping Farm-Raised Eggs in the Best Condition
Knowing that you don’t need to refrigerate your eggs frees you up to find out what to do with them. Most people are so accustomed to storing eggs in the fridge that they can’t imagine a better place to do it.
The good news is that you can use any container you wish to store them in. There are a zillion options for fancy people seeking reusable cartons, caddies, and strange spiral-shaped towers on the web. You can also keep them in a basket or dish on your kitchen counter. It is recommended by Fresh Eggs Daily that eggs be stored with the pointed end facing down.
Once you’ve made the decision to store your tasty eggs in the fridge, you should keep them there at all times. A month is a sufficient amount of time for most people to forget about your eggs. But if you find yourself with a surplus of eggs and a shortage of time to eat them, you can keep them in the refrigerator for an extended period of time.
According to Farmer’s Almanac, the average store-bought egg is more than a month old when purchased and has another two weeks until it goes bad. In the same way, the shelf life of eggs is not much affected by refrigeration at home.
Moreover, eggs can be frozen and stored for up to a year. To ensure you have enough eggs even when your hens aren’t laying, freezing is an excellent choice.
Eggs that have been washed should be stored in the refrigerator just like store-bought eggs. There’s a good likelihood that your hens are productive layers, so you’ll have plenty of eggs for the long haul. If that’s the case, you might want to check out the Bobby Lis Automatic Rolling Egg Box (See below).
Occasionally, you may obtain an egg with an unappealing shell. A dry cloth or brush can be used to remove any icky residue. To be sure, there are instances when a good wash is needed.
By changing the bedding and cleaning the nesting boxes often, you can help make sure that your fresh eggs don’t have any bad things in them.
How To Determine If Eggs Are Fresh
There are a few ways to ease your mind if the thought of storing eggs away from the comfort of your refrigerator gives you pause. For some excellent advice on how to determine whether or not an egg is fresh, check out this article from Southern Living. Putting eggs in cold water is one of the tried and true methods (on their list). Tender, fresh eggs are those that sink to the bottom. Eggs that are standing on edge can still be eaten, although their flavor may suffer. The egg has gone bad and should be thrown out if it rises to the top.