There is nothing quite as good as a farm fresh egg. The rich color and flavor just can't be beat. But when your laying hens are producing more than you can eat in a reasonable amount of time, you might just be wondering just how long do fresh eggs last? In this post I'll give you the rundown on how to safely Store and Use your Farm fresh eggs.
Fresh eggs straight from your backyard coop are just about as fresh as you can get. Eggs that you buy at the store can be weeks old by the time you bring them home. Needless to say eggs can last a long time when handled properly.
should I wash my eggs
To wash or not to wash? This is a highly debated topic among backyard chicken farmers. Some prefer to leave eggs unwashed while others insist on thoroughly sanitizing before refrigeration. The USDA requires commercial egg producers to wash eggs with soap and hot water before sale. While this makes for clean eggs, it also removes the natural coating that eggs come with, which protects them from bacteria and early spoilage. It is for this reason that eggs that are bought at the store are refrigerated.
Unwashed eggs can in fact be left at room temperature for longer periods of time. So it's really a personal preference, I actually do both. If I know I'm going to use my eggs fairly quickly and they are relatively clean from the coop (more tips on keeping eggs clean in this post) I will just leave them in a colander on the counter unwashed. If I am gifting eggs to family, or I plan on storing them in the fridge I will clean with water and thoroughly dry before placing in cartons.
How long do fresh eggs last
According to the USDA, raw eggs in their shell can last from three, to five weeks. Commercially produced eggs purchased at the store come with a sell by date. You can safely eat eggs for about two weeks beyond that date. Therefor farm fresh eggs or eggs plucked right out of your backyard nesting boxes can last for a very substantial amount of time. It is important to know when your egg quality has diminished, or if an egg is completely rotten. When raw eggs go bad, you’ll know. Rotten eggs have a strong sulphur smell. That said, before the egg is officially rotten quality will diminish. You can test your egg quality by using a simple float test.
Fill a deep bowl with cool water. Gently set eggs into the water to test them. Fresh eggs will sit on the bottom of the bowl, on their sides. Those that are still good but the quality has diminished will remain under water, but stand on one end. If an egg floats during this test, dispose of it. It’s no longer good to eat. Note: this method will remove the protective coating and eggs will need to be stored in the refrigerator after the test is complete.
Farm fresh eggs can be a wonderful addition to your homestead kitchen. They have noticeably better flavor and darker color than store bought eggs, they have also been touted as being more nutrient dense than their store-bought counter parts. I recommend every small homestead and backyard gardener has a few chickens, the benefits are simply amazing.