Fresh Eggs? How long do they keep? I think the most exciting time for me was when my chickens finally started laying. I would get up every morning and run out to check the coop for my “surprises”. I don’t know who was more proud of those eggs, me or the chickens who laid them! Then it hit me, what do I do with them?? When you’ve been raised in the city, and the only eggs you’ve been used to were the ones you buy in the dairy case at the local supermarket, suddenly having an abundance of good ole farm fresh creates many new questions that you’ve never had to deal with before. Do I wash them? How do I store them?
Immediately I started turning to my country friends who had a whole lot more experience raising chickens than I did! And of course I would ask 5 people and get 5 different answers. Some said one month, some said two months, some said refridgerate, some said not. So I finally turned to the American Egg Board and here is their advice “When kept refrigerated in their raw shells, eggs last up to 4 to 5 weeks without significant loss of quality. But remember, the clock on those “4 to 5 weeks” starts the moment eggs are laid. To be safe, keep refrigerated raw eggs in shell for no more than three weeks.” So I’ll leave it up to you. I have found I go thru so many eggs in a week that I rarely have an egg that would be 3 weeks old.
If you are in doubt, there is a way to test them. It’s called the Float Test. Place the egg into a bowl of cold water with the water level 2 to 3 times taller than the egg. If the egg is fresh it will sink to the bottom of the bowl and lie on its side. If the egg is older (about 1 week) it will lie on the bottom but bob slightly. If the egg balances on its smallest tip, with the widest part reaching for the top of the water, it’s probably about 3 weeks old. If it floats to the surface, it’s not good and should be tossed and not eaten.
Now, with that said, do I wash them before putting them in the fridge? The answer to that is a resounding NO. I know that sounds nasty. I know you’re thinking, but that egg came out of the south end of that chicken, ewwww. Yes, I know. Truth is though, God knew what he was doing better than us. When chickens lay eggs they come out wet. It’s called bloom and it’s a natural barrier that prevents bacteria from entering the pores of the egg. If you wash it, that opens those pores up to actually letting bacteria in. The natural heat from the egg after it’s laid causes that “bloom” to dry very fast and create a shield, protecting the egg from any nasties that could invade it. If you spot clean your nesting boxes regularly, the eggs are usually squeaky clean and you don’t have to see any less than appealing specks that would prompt you to want to wash them. However, occasionally you will have one that needs a little help before you plop it in your egg tray in the fridge. In that case, merely take a paper towel and wipe it off. If that don’t take care of the problem a slightly damp one will but I would put that egg at the top and eat it soon after.
I have a system in my refridgerator that lets me know which eggs are the oldest. I use a flat egg tray and always put the eggs in starting with the oldest on the row closest to you. By always putting them in the tray the same way each time, I can easily see which eggs are freshest and which ones I need to eat the soonest.
If you start getting a few more than you know you will use in 3 to 4 weeks, thats a good time to share with family and neighbors!