You should never bin a decent booty bomb.
If Henrietta could see you chucking her labor-of-love eggs into the kitchen bin - just because you weren’t sure how to store them - she would be eggs-tremely disappointed with you. Not mad. No. Disappointed. We all know that’s worse.
With all those yummy-scrummy-in-my-tummy😋 eggs finding their way into your kitchen each week, knowing how to store excess eggs pays dividends for poultry parents.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) estimates that 30-40% of the country’s annual food supply is wasted. Bonkers. But before you judge…
How many good eggs have you tossed aside ‘just in case’?
There’s no point keeping hens for their eggs if you’re going to freak out and launch them at the compost heap if they are so much as vaguely warm to the touch.
Time to build your knowledge and your confidence, so you can reduce wastage without the fear of a dodgy belly.
HOW LONG DO EGGS LAST?
Here’s the speedy answer:
Eggs last for up to 2-4 weeks at room temperature.
Eggs last for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
Eggs last for up to 12 months in the freezer.
These eggs-timates depend on eggs being handled and stored the right way, and so, here comes the nitty-gritty…
- How Long Can I Keep Eggs at Room Temperature?
- How Long Do Eggs Last in The Refrigerator?
- How Long Do Eggs Last in The Freezer?
- Should I Wash My Chicken’s Eggs?
- Should I Wash Store-Bought Eggs?
- What Is the Bloom?
- How To Store Eggs at Room Temperature
- Do I Need to Refrigerate Eggs?
- How To Store Eggs in The Refrigerator
- How To Freeze Eggs
- How To Defrost Frozen Eggs
- Are Eggs Safe to Use if Left Out Overnight?
- Should I Bin Eggs After Their Sell By date?
- How Do I Know When Store Eggs Were Laid?
- Which Chicken’s Eggs Last the Longest?
- Half A Dozen Ways to Store Eggs:
- Why Do Rotten Eggs Smell So Bad?
- Are Cloudy Eggs Safe to Eat?
- Are Off-Color Eggs Safe to Eat?
- Can I Eat an Egg That’s Been in the Coop All Day?
- 4 Ways to Check if An Egg is Off
HOW TO HANDLE & STORE EGGS
How Long Can I Keep Eggs at Room Temperature?
Chicken’s eggs will stay fresh at room temperature for 2-4 weeks, and maybe longer, so long as you resist the urge to wash them.
How Long Do Eggs Last in The Refrigerator?
Refrigerated eggs🥚 will last for up to 6 months, so it’s worth clearing space if you have an egg boom and don’t want to see Henrietta’s hard work going to waste.
How Long Do Eggs Last in The Freezer?
Frozen eggs can last for up to a year in the freezer. Waste not, want not!
Should I Wash My Chicken’s Eggs?
If your eggs are fresh from your very own happy hens or purchased unwashed from a farm or small-scale supplier, then keep them unwashed. Washing them removes their bloom, so whilst they might look more appetizing minus the poop, washing them – even gently - will decrease their shelf life.
If your eggs are mega-mucky, and the clean freak in you just can’t hack them, then wash them but always store them in the refrigerator after washing.
Should I Wash Store-Bought Eggs?
You don’t need to wash store-bought eggs, either.
In the USA most store-bought eggs will have already been washed, sanitized, packed, and then refrigerated the moment mama hen popped them out. In the USA it’s the law that mass-produced eggs are handled this way to reduce the chances of salmonella passing from egg to egg.
You don’t need to re-wash them. If you do, you’ll just be increasing handling and associated risks.
The “Egg Safety Rule” to wash and refrigerate eggs applies in the US to any facility holding more than 3000 chickens.
If your eggs are from a small-scale producer, and they’re unwashed but marked with a USDA grade shield on the carton, you still shouldn’t wash them. Washing these eggs will remove their bloom.
What Is the Bloom?
An egg's cuticle – often referred to as bloom – is the final layer of an egg that seals the pores in the egg against infection. Washing them does remove the bloom, and so makes the inside of the egg more vulnerable to infection.
“Physically, bloom fills the shell’s gas exchange pores to prevent microbial penetration. Chemically, the bloom’s proteins have antimicrobial properties against several different bacterial species.” (Cackle Hatchery)
How To Store Eggs at Room Temperature
If you’re storing eggs at room temperature, they mustn’t be washed. They’re counting on their natural shield, their bloom, to keep any nasties on the outside of the eggshell.
Do I Need to Refrigerate Eggs?
You don’t have to refrigerate home-laid eggs. It’s an option if you want them to last for longer than 2-4 weeks or keep them away from pets or high room temperatures.
Store-bought eggs that were previously refrigerated have to stay refrigerated.
How To Store Eggs in The Refrigerator
To refrigerate your home-laid eggs, wash them first and seal them in an airtight container.
To refrigerate your store-bought eggs, keep them in the carton they arrived in to reduce handling and moisture loss and to protect them from icky smells and fridge flavors.
Store the carton in the body of the refrigerator where the temperature stays more constant, not in the door which – if it’s anything like my house – is opened and (sometimes) closed a billion times a day.
Keep the refrigerator temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit – this way Salmonella cannot live.
A chilled egg shouldn’t be left at room temperature for any more than 2 hours. Cold eggs sweat when they are returned to room temperature which puts them at risk of bacterial infections.
Once chilled – always chilled.
I asked a network of chicken fanatics “How Long Do Eggs Last?”
The results were…well, a bit scrambled…
Egg Storage Guidance from The Egg-sperts:
It’s clear we all need this conundrum clearing up once and for all. So, let’s hear it from the specialists at The Incredible Egg
(Content with thanks to The Incredible Egg)
How To Freeze Eggs
There are a few methods that work for freezing eggs, some involve ice cube trays, and some involve separating the egg from the yolk. This is the most rated method:
1. Lightly scramble the eggs
2. Add in 1 teaspoon of sugar or salt per cup of eggs: this stops yolks thickening
3. Cover and freeze in a muffin tin until frozen then transfer them to freezer bags.
4. Label your eggs so you can use them in sweet or savory dishes depending on the ingredient you added.
How To Defrost Frozen Eggs
Defrost frozen eggs overnight, or for 10-12 hours, in the refrigerator.
Are Eggs Safe to Use if Left Out Overnight?
Refrigerated eggs should not be left out more than two hours before re-refrigeration.
If you had them in the fridge yesterday, then they’re no longer safe. A cold egg subsequently left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating bacteria growth.
If they were never refrigerated to start with then eggs can be left at room temperature for 2-4 weeks.
Should I Bin Eggs After Their Sell By date?
Sell-by dates are retail guides, not science. Eggs don’t have a little rot-now-bomb that goes off at midnight on the date of their tattoo.
Just because an egg has passed its sell-by date, it doesn’t mean it’s gone off. Retail equals waste!
Sell-by dates are calculated at 30 days after packaging, just to be safe, but we know that eggs can last for 6 months in the refrigerator if you store them carefully.
How Do I Know When Store Eggs Were Laid?
To get a good idea of when your eggs🥚 were laid peek at the Julian date on the packaging. It will be there somewhere.
In the US any shop-bought eggs will have a variation of the Julian date on their carton. The three-digit code ranges from 001 to 365 and indicates the day of the year the eggs were packed (001 being January the 1st and 360 being Boxing Day.)
Which Chicken’s Eggs Last the Longest?
There’s no evidence to say that any chicken breed lays eggs that stay fresher for longer.
However, saying that, some French chefs reckon that Marans chicken’s eggs taste better than other eggs.
Marans chickens are French, so perhaps they’re just biased, but the Marans’ chocolatey-brown eggs do have smaller pores than most other chicken eggs which could potentially be helping them stay fresher - and taste better - for longer. It’s a theory, not a fact.
Do you keep Marans Chickens? Do You Think They Stay Fresh for Longer?
Half A Dozen Ways to Store Eggs:
There’s more than one way to boil an egg - and loads of ways to store one! Here are six alternatives to simply chilling your eggs.
1. Pickled Eggs
Storing your eggs using vinegar will give them a shelf life of 3-4 months.👌🏼
2. Oiled Eggs
Coating eggs in oil can seal their pores meaning you can store them for 8-9 months in the refrigerator.
3. Dehydrated Eggs
This process means eggs are stored as a powder but will last for 5 to 10 years! That’s future-proofing at its best!
4. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs, whether peeled or unpeeled, will last for one week after they were cooked if you store them in the refrigerator (and hide them at the back behind something the hubby doesn’t like).
Salting is an Asian method of preparing eggs, which also functions as a way to make them last for 4 weeks in the refrigerator. It doesn’t buy you more storage time, but it does offer a different taste. Eggs are stored in brine and yolks are bright orange with salty-tasting whites.
6. Water Glassing Eggs
This method of storage is only suitable for fresh, unwashed eggs. You can do it easily at home, and your eggs will last for 8-12 months!
“Preserving eggs by water glassing is a long-standing historical method that works wonderfully for long-term egg storage. When egg production is at an all-time high, it’s the perfect time to preserve that extra bounty for when egg production is down.” (Homesteading Family)
URRRGGGHH – WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
Why Do Rotten Eggs Smell So Bad?
The term ‘gone off’ is tossed about like a pancake, but what does it mean?
A rotten egg isn’t a term to describe an egg carrying Salmonella, but a decomposing egg. The Decomposition process naturally releases hydrogen sulfide gas, and that’s what gives that unmistakable ‘Eau de rotten egg’.
Are Cloudy Eggs Safe to Eat?
Cloudy eggs are safe to eat – perhaps even safer than clear ones. Cloudy whites are caused by high levels of carbon dioxide which indicate they’re freshly laid and so safe to eat. That cloudiness clears over time, so cloudy eggs are fresher than clear ones.
Are Off-Color Eggs Safe to Eat?
An egg with a green yolk or white, or that has an iridescent shimmer to it isn’t safe to eat. This is no yolk. Bin it! This color is caused by Pseudomonas bacteria.
Can I Eat an Egg That’s Been in the Coop All Day?
Did you forget to get the eggs? What are you like? Yes, it’s safe to eat an egg that’s been toasting under mama hen’s butt all day. It’s not room temperature inside a hen, or under her fluffy butt, so don’t let the warmth of a cozy coop put you off your poached egg on toast.
4 Ways to Check if An Egg is Off:
1. Sniff it
My money is on this test. Bad eggs smell of sulfur. Everyone knows the scent of rotten eggs. Crack it open into a bowl and sniff it. Trust your snout!
2. Egg-samine it
You can’t always tell if an egg has gone off just by looking at it, but damage to the shell or a powdery or slimy coating are good indicators that bacteria have most likely penetrated the shell. If so, then don’t have Omlet today.
3. Perform the Float Test
As eggs age, the moisture from the egg evaporates through the porous shell and the air goes inside expanding the air pocket in the egg. This creates more buoyancy and therefore the egg floats to the top when it is old or off.
4. Egg Candling
An old-school technique using light to help you see the air pocket inside the egg, and so guess the age of an egg rather than tell if it’s good or bad. It takes a bit of practice and is still not a sure thing.
That’s all Yolks!
You want eggs? You need chickens (or a shop – but we’re all about the homestead life here).
If you’re looking for a hen on a mission, who will be delighted to lay so many eggs that you have storage dilemmas, then you need to check out this blog to find out which chickens lay the most eggs.
From choosing your chicks to housing your hens, you’ll have questions galore if you’re managing your very own mini-egg factory.
Ever heard of a lash egg? Do you know what pasty bum is? What would you do if your hen’s egg got stuck? Oh my! Raising chickens is an absolute pleasure, and their fresh eggs and feathery snuggles are divine, but it’s not always straightforward.
There’s no need to wing it. Chickenpedia offers a suite of simple but thorough courses perfect for beginners that will crack open all your chicken and egg questions.