Episode 4 – In this episode we discuss whether you should wash your farm fresh eggs or not.
We are now on iTunes!
Our podcast is now available on iTunes, and we are pretty happy with the first few days of results. We have had downloads in Australia, Ontario, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Tennessee and Virginia! Thank you so much for giving us a try and we hope you will continue to listen!
New Fan Resource [01:44]
We intend to add fan resources to the website every so often. Last week, we added a set of computer wallpaper and social media covers with our “Keep Calm and Cluck On” graphics. This is our take on the World War II British morale poster “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Linda contacted us on Facebook to ask “Will there be bumper stickers?” We think that is a great idea, Linda! We will look into that and see if there is a way to do it without keeping a garage full of them.
Should you wash farm fresh eggs? [04:00]
For some reason, this is one of the most argued topics in keeping chickens. We will discuss why you may want to do it either way and you can decide what is best for you and what you are comfortable with.
When a chicken lays an egg, right before it is layed it is covered with a coating called the “bloom.” The bloom keeps bacteria and other nastiness from penetrating the egg. The shell provides little protection from bacteria, which can travel easily through the shell’s pores.
The USDA requires that commercial egg producers wash all eggs they sell. Washing the eggs removes the bloom. This removes bacteria and nasty stuff from the outside of the egg, but also removes the bloom. Once the bloom is removed, the egg must be refrigerated to keep it from going bad.
Unwashed Eggs [05:15]
If you take eggs from your hens and decide not to wash them, you can store them unrefrigerated on your counter top for about 90 days or more.
If you have traveled outside the United States, you may have noticed that storing eggs outside of the refrigerator is a normal practice in many places.
Washed Eggs [06:00]
In general, eggs that are washed and refrigerated will last about 90 days as well. If you get your eggs from the store, keep in mind that they are usually 45 days old by the time arrive there. Therefore, you have a few weeks to enjoy them (check the expiration date).
If you decide to wash your farm fresh eggs, they must be used or refrigerated immediately.
Unwashed & Refrigerated [07:10]
If you really want your eggs to go the distance, you can decide not to wash your eggs, leaving the bloom intact, and refrigerate them. By doing these two things together, your eggs may remain edible for around seven months.
That being said, if you are getting fresh eggs from your hens, why would you want to keep eggs for seven months? And if you truly want to keep eggs that long, freezing them might be a better idea.
Washing After Storing [08:47]
Another option to consider is storing your eggs unwashed and then washing them immediately before use. Keep in mind that the outside of the egg may be contaminated and it wouldn’t hurt to wash them before you start handling them and the other food items in your recipes. Lots of people don’t do this and are just fine. But then again, it couldn’t hurt.
If you do keep unwashed eggs in the refrigerator, keep them in a plastic container with a lid to keep any contaminants on the outside of the egg from coming in contact with other food in your fridge.
Eggs That Are Visibly Dirty [12:40]
If you find that some of your eggs are soiled with dirt or other visible contaminants, you have a few options.
First, try to eliminate the cause of the contamination to prevent eggs from getting dirty in the first place. Keep nesting material, your chickens’ feet, and their run clean.
If you still find dirty eggs, you can decide whether you should clean them or throw them out. Every chicken keeper has their own threshold for deciding. Some will keep any egg no matter how filthy and other will throw away any egg that has the slightest speck of dirt. And there are many of us that full somewhere between those two extremes.
How Do You Wash an Egg? [18:59]
So whether you have a few dirty eggs to wash or you make a routine of washing every egg, the procedure will be the same.
First, make sure you only use hot water. The water should be at least twenty degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the egg, and a minimum of ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Using cold water will cause the egg to pull the bacteria and contaminants on the egg through the shell into the interior of the egg. Hot water will cause the egg to “push” outward, preventing those bad things from entering the egg.
You can use regular dish soap to wash the eggs, but make sure you do not use scented soap, as it will taint the flavor of the egg.
Finally, dry your eggs and either use them immediately or place them in the refrigerator.
Sanitizing Eggs [21:00]
If you want to go a step further, you can sanitize your eggs after you wash them. Add one tablespoon of unscented bleach to hot water and dip the eggs in the solution.
Eggs For Neighbors [21:45]
Don’t assume your neighbors are up to speed on how to store and handle eggs. Personally, we always wash eggs that we give away and explain to them that they must be refrigerated just like ones they would get from the store.