Fresh eggs, is there anything better? Not in my book! But when you first start raising hens for some backyard fresh eggs there can be some confusion over cleaning, storing and determining the freshness of those delicious eggs. Today I hope to share just about everything you need to know about your farm fresh eggs!
Fresh Eggs – Everything You Need to Know!
First lets talk about poop…cleaning those fresh eggs:
One thing you never really had to deal with, when buying your eggs in a store, is chicken poo. But as I always say, chickens are indiscriminate poopers; and that means they poop anywhere and everywhere. So with that knowledge you can be sure that they will poop in their nesting boxes.
Your first line of defense in this area is to keep your nesting boxes clean and fresh with regular cleanings. I say clean them out daily, if time permits. If you can’t clean them daily then add fresh bedding on the top to cover the poo, at the very least. But don’t slack in the cleaning – this should be done no less that 3x per week. I also recommend having a good base for your nests that are easily removed for cleaning. I like to use nesting pads in my coop but I do cut them in half to make them last longer. Then I cover those with pine shavings. I also saw and amazing idea to use artificial turf as a nest liner, because it could be removed and cleaned to use for years!
But poop on eggs will happen! So how to clean them?
Even in the cleanest of nesting boxes, poop on eggs will happen. Never fear – they are still edible!
First, I never “wash” an egg until right before cooking it. I mean, sure if there is a big glob of poo on it, I knock that off. But other than than it goes in the basket and will be cleaned right before use. When eggs are laid they have a protective layer Eggshells are porous or cuticle that prevents bacteria from entering the egg itself, washing the egg will remove this protection.
So to clean a dirty egg I run it under hot water and use my Norwex Veggie & Fruit Cloth on the soft side. I like this because when I am done I give the cloth a run under hot water and I can use it again because of it is self cleaning. BUT if you don’t have Norwex you can use a vegetable brush, sponge or cloth to gently clean the surface. I do not recommend using any soap or clean, because again, the shells are porous.
Then let them dry for a couple minutes on a clean towel and you’re ready to cook.
Storing Your Fresh Eggs:
Did you know that you do not have to refrigerate your eggs to keep them fresh? In fact stores in Europe don’t keep their eggs in refrigerators for selling either. BUT if your eggs have been refrigerated, they should stay refrigerated!
I collect eggs and they usually go into a basket on the counter; but I’ve been eyeing these egg skelters because it would help to keep track of what eggs to use first. We don’t have a huge flock so they get eaten up pretty quickly. If dating is important to you, you can put your eggs in a carton and date the outside so you use the oldest eggs first. These reusable cartons are nice because you can wash them out between uses.
I will refrigerate my eggs after the first week (if they haven’t been used) to keep them fresher a little longer. But that is a personal preference; you could leave them out at room temp for up to two weeks (unless your house is super hot).
Now it is perfectly fine to put your fresh eggs straight into the fridge. I still wouldn’t wash them first, to save the bloom protection. And refrigerated eggs will slow down the “aging” on an egg.
Now let’s talk fresh eggs and how to know if they are still “good”:
The easiest way to tell if an egg is fresh, and good to eat, is to use the egg float test.
- Simply fill a cup, bowl or tub with enough cool water to cover the egg/s.
- Gently place the eggs in the water.
- If the egg lays at the bottom of the container it is super fresh.
- If it tilts a bit up but part of the egg is touching the bottom it is around 1.5 – 2 weeks old. These are perfectly edible but I prefer to use them for cooking or hard boiling.
- If the egg floats it is no longer good for consumption.
If you’ve cracked and egg you’ll notice that less fresh egg’s white or albumen will spread out more and the yolk is generally flatter than a fresh egg. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good for eating, just a worthy note.
Now that you know how to clean, store and check for freshness…you need some ways to use those amazing eggs!