Fresh farm eggs are the simple joys that everyone should enjoy in life. Any chicken farmer will tell you that once they started harvesting their fresh laid eggs, they never looked back to the grocery store.
Getting the most out of your hen-rearing experience is everything to do with enjoying the fruits of your labor, in this case, eggs!
This is why you must equip yourself with the knowledge on how to store them soon as they are laid.
Table of Content
If you are a first-time ‘chickeneer’, you are probably wondering why storing eggs should be such a big deal, enough to warrant an entire article on it. I mean, it’s just EGGS, right? What could go wrong?
Well, a lot could go wrong.
If you don’t take deliberate measures in storing your eggs, you risk compromising the following short but essential factors about your eggs:
There’s nothing as demoralizing and downright cruel as sitting down to dissect that quick breakfast fix- your fav omelet- and instead taste ‘stale’ all over it on the first bite. Even worse is if it also smells like it!
You don’t deserve that kind of treatment, and we would bet it’s not going to be a beautiful day if it starts off on a bad-egg breakfast fluke.
2. Long life
There’s no hurry in the world to give your eggs away or gobble them up in a span of one week if they are stored well enough to last you through summer.
Since we cannot dictate nature and the fact that it does not have a provision for ‘no expiry date,’ the best we can do is maximize their shelf life by storing them in the right conditions.
3. Health and happiness
How you clean and store your eggs determines the chances of pathogens getting in there. For example, washing them with water and leaving them exposed on the countertop is not healthy at all, especially if they are going to be there a while.
Also, your family wouldn’t be so delighted if you handed them a tray of rotten eggs for Easter, would they? Unless you don’t want to be invited to family dinners for the rest of the year, storing your eggs is one way to get you treating your special ones with healthy, happy eggs!
4. Losses averted
Maybe you are running an eggs sale as a side hassle, or you are a full-time farmer. Bad eggs equal to loss in profit-and it doesn’t take an Economics major to tell that that’s not good news for any well-meaning business.
Once you hack how to store your eggs, you are investing in your business, which is why you should keep reading!
To Wash or Not to wash
Before we dive into the moral dilemma that is washing eggs, first we should treat the disease at its root. Dirty eggs are not pretty, and if you are a neat freak like yours truly, you want to provide the best environment to minimize the occurrence of soiling.
Here are some tips:
- Fill your feathery ones’ nest boxes with clean straw or whichever other material you deem fit. Make sure to check and replace these on a regular basis
- Unless the chicken is brooding, she should not be sleeping in the nest box. That’s a sacred area where the magic happens and should be treated as so. Now we are not saying deny the non-brooding birds a place to rest. You should have perches for that, most preferably separated from the nests.
- Your coop should have minimum standards of cleanliness at all times. Hens with dirty feet are likely to cause more harm.
Despite these precautionary measures, occasionally you will come across a dirty egg. Your first instinct might be to get your bottle of vinegar or soap and get scrubbing, but we think otherwise.
There’s such a thing as the ‘bloom,’ which is a natural, protective coating on the shell that acts as a defense from bacteria. It seals the shell’s pores and prevents air penetration as well.
When you wash your eggs, you remove this layer and leave the egg more susceptible to bacteria and spoiling.
Washing eggs with cold water causes the inside content to shrink, creating a vacuum which will pull in pathogens through the now porous shell. If you really must wash your eggs, use warm water because according to basic physics, the contents will expand to the edge of the shell and thus prevent unwanted material from entering.
The best way to clean your eggs is dry cleaning. But don’t send them to the laundry shop just yet.
Dry cleaning for eggs involves using an abrasive pad or a dry cloth to wipe off the murk from the egg. It is easy, convenient and does not compromise the quality of the egg.
The story of Salmonella
It might sound like the title to a fairy tale, but it’s not. If anything, salmonella is a word that stirs jitters among many a chicken farmers. It is a type of bacteria that infects chicken which later lay contaminated eggs. Think of it as a case of mother-to-child transmission.
If you are concerned about whether washing off the egg’s protective cuticle exposes your eggs to the risk of salmonella infection, worry no more. The bacteria do not attack from the outside.
In case the egg is already contaminated; however, no amount of washing or scrubbing will remove the bacteria. What should concern you now is the health of your birds, which is undoubtedly compromised at this stage.
Storing eggs for the long-term
If you wash your eggs, keeping them in the fridge is a better option than having them on the countertop. They will stay healthier for longer this way.
In my view, using the door to store your eggs as most people do is not a good idea. Most manufacturers place an egg rack already at this point, but that does not mean you have to put your eggs there. Whatever happened to breaking norms and setting your own rules!
But I digress…
Why the fridge door is a no is because it is always moving due to all the opening and closing. In the process, the insides of the eggs shake a lot, and the white becomes thinner. Eventually, your eggs will be too watery, and that is not an attractive egg trait.
Setting a designated area on one of the shelves is the best way to store eggs in the fridge. Use a container as cardboard cartons fall apart after a while.
Since not all of us have a photographic memory to keep track of when and where we placed an egg, going manual labeling is pretty much the best thing to do. To use the oldest eggs first also means that you enjoy them when they are not yet stale.
We would advise against inked pens because of all the unsealed shell penetration shenanigans so that a regular pencil will do!
You may have heard about storing eggs in lime or juice to improve their shelf life, but our tests suggest that it doesn’t make that much of a difference compared to just leaving them in the fridge. What we can recommend, though, is freezing your eggs. You separate the yolk from the egg white and using a plastic bottle, suck the yolk up in and keep it in the fridge. Later you can defrost them and whip up a meal.
Storing eggs at room temperature
Freshly laid eggs can stay out for not more than four weeks at room temperature. It is best to store eggs in natural conditions such as these especially if you are going to consume them shortly.
We find out that eggs tastier eaten in two weeks from when they were laid and only resort to the refrigerator if my birds are on a roll and laying at a high rate than I can keep up with.
If you have a small kid who is at that phase when they’re wrecking havoc and breaking things, you have to be careful to keep the eggs far from their reach. A basket of straws works well, but if you’re not one for baskets, an egg carton will do make sure it’s at a safe but reachable spot.
A hot tip on storing eggs in a carton is to place them pointy side down. It may seem like too much attention to detail, but it does keep the freshness. The air pocket within the shell preserves the yolk much better in this position.
Bottom-line is storing your eggs at RT is the freshest way but not the long-lasting way.
In case you thought eggs are only artistic on the plate, then you haven’t met the egg skelter. It’s right there on the dinner table next to the bowl of fruits where all my visitors can catch a glimpse when they walk in.
A basket of straw is an okay option, but if you want to show off, you will buy one of these. Plus, it’s designed to have the unique advantage of naturally allowing the first in first out arrangement. It’s easier to track and follow which eggs you added last and first.
If you’re not a big fan of labeling, or you have a terrible history with pencils, then an egg skelter is the choice for you.
Good eggs gone bad
Sometimes, an egg you’ve stored and guarded with all your internet-earned knowledge goes bad-it’s the way of life.
The surest way to know an egg is bad is if it tastes yucky, but in this age of saving energy, we do not have to waste resources before figuring that out.
The old-fashioned way of telling that an egg is no longer healthy for consumption is placing it in a bowl of water. If it sinks to the bottom, get out your drums and celebrate because your egg is alive and well. If it stares at you on the surface of the bowl, in other words, floats, it is rotten, and you should get rid of it immediately.
Another old-fashioned method is to shake it close to your ears. If you hear the contents slopping around, then it has gone bad, and it’s time for you to let go.
Wrapping It Up
No need to shut down your poultry venture when you find one rotten egg. It’s probably because you missed something in the storage phase. You have numerous chances to get it right, especially now that you have tips on how to store freshly laid eggs. Keep it eggciting!