Whether you’ve just started your flock of hens or you’ve got a neighbor who’s kindly brought you a basket they plucked this morning, knowing just where to start with all these fresh eggs can be daunting! After all, there’s hardly room in your fridge for all of them and they’ll spoil if left sitting out, won’t they?
Do fresh eggs need to be refrigerated? Not necessarily! While USDA regulations state that eggs sold commercially must be kept refrigerated, fresh eggs don’t need to be stored in the fridge. Eggs create a natural protective layer that keeps them safe from bacteria and other things that may come to live on commercially produced eggs.
There are several things you want to consider when storing or not storing your eggs in the fridge! We’ll go through all the different things that you’ll want to think about when getting ready to store your eggs.
How to Properly Store Eggs in the Fridge
All eggs have a protective layer called bloom on them that seals in the pores of the egg itself and keeps bacteria from getting in. This bloom then keeps the eggs safe from disease and if it remains to coat the egg will keep it safe until the egg is washed.
Eggs stay fresher, longer when kept cold! Regardless of whether you’ve got your backyard flock or your neighbor has brought over a basket of eggs, storing your eggs in the fridge is a great way to keep them safe and fresh. Leave them unwashed to keep them even fresher for much longer as they sit in the fridge.
Once you’ve washed your eggs, they should go in the fridge immediately. The protective layer is now gone and bacteria from the warm air can enter and cause problems.
Store your eggs in the fridge washed or unwashed, in a manner that makes certain the older eggs are chosen first. This could be in cartons you’ve reused, a reusable rack that makes them easy to access, or even strategically placing them in your fridges egg door.
After they’ve been stored in the fridge for any amount of time, eggs can’t be reintroduced to the warm air. Warmed eggs can sweat which opens up the pores and allows bacteria to enter the egg. Getting an egg or two out to cook or bake with is one thing but pulling the entire set out of the fridge and letting them warm on the counter is a recipe for disaster!
Gather Eggs with Storage in Mind
Whether you’re gathering up your eggs or buying them at the local organic farmers market, keep your storage solution in mind as you buy. A good deal will only take you so far and buying so many that a good portion spoil before using them is just money down the drain.
If you’ve gathered up a basketful of eggs from your flock and intend on keeping them unwashed on the counter, be sure that you’ve got plenty of room. Use up the oldest eggs first so you’ve always got a fresh set on top.
Eggs Don’t Necessarily Need the Fridge
Fresh eggs straight for your or your neighbor’s backyard are great for your health and easy to store. Most of us have grown up buying commercial eggs which need to travel long distances and are washed thoroughly before even heading into our cart. This means that these eggs need to stay refrigerated long-term!
Fresh eggs still have the bloom on them and can simply be stored on your countertop. Every day spent in room temperature storage is equivalent to a week in the fridge. Eggs do last a long time while in the fridge and can stay out on your counter for a significant portion of time as well.
This is a good option if you eat up a lot of eggs quickly. Your inventory will turn over fast making it easy to keep them stored on your counter for a few days while you eat them up.
Keep the Temperature Just Right
While storing your eggs in the fridge is a great method for keeping them much fresher for much longer, letting them get too cold can cause major issues within the eggs themselves.
Freezing your eggs in the shell isn’t recommended for most applications and keeping the temperature too low in your fridge can cause them to freeze without intending to. Cold but not frozen is best for eggs in the shell!
Handle with Care
Eggs can be delicate things and if the shell happens to break when transporting either to the fridge or to the counter, bacteria and other things can get in and wreak havoc.
Make sure your eggs are stored carefully and kept in a safe place so that they won’t crack and break. Any breaks in the shell also disrupt the bloom of your egg which keeps bacteria at bay. This can allow bacteria into the egg without you even realizing it so be sure that they’re stored carefully away.
Carefully examine any eggs you want to use before cracking them into your pan for breakfast to ensure there wasn’t already a crack or break on them. This is especially important for fresh eggs that haven’t been in the fridge yet!
How to Store Fresh Eggs
Besides just storing your eggs in the fridge, there are several ways that you can freeze your eggs to keep them even longer! If you’ve got lots of eggs coming in or you got a great deal at the local farmers market, this will allow you to keep using them long past their counter life.
If you’ve got a lot of eggs that you want to store in the freezer, you can mix the yolk and the white as its raw and store them in a freezer-safe bag or container. You’ll then be able to label it with the number of eggs you used and the date it was frozen to keep track of the freshness.
Storing fresh eggs on the counter, fridge, or freezer is a great way to extend the life of your eggs and keep those fresh ingredients in your life!