Storing Eggs: Method and Science
I have realized that people who didn’t grow up with chickens (and some who did!) probably don’t know even the basics of storing eggs or why it matters.
I mean, how could you? Its usually wrong in the store bought eggs so unless you think to read about this subject or someone tells, you will be none the wiser.
The most basic rule is that the narrow end should be down in the carton. If you have one of those perfectly round eggs that leaves you scratching your head, don’t sweat it, just do the best you can. The large end of the egg contains the larger air cell in the egg, if it’s facing down the pressure on the air cell will make the egg lose quality sooner. I should be honest and tell you that when I see an egg upside-down, I have a mini-panic attach. All I can think is “NO!!! wrong, bad for the egg!”, so if you ever see me compulsively turning eggs over you will know why.
|not so much…
The three biggest dangers to fresh eggs are: water, heat and dryness.
If you wash your eggs you are removing the natural protective layer called the cuticle or bloom, that helps regulate water loss, gas exchange and prevents bacteria from entering the egg. Commercial eggs (in the USA anyway) are washed with some sort of soap and coated with mineral oil to mimic the natural bloom. That in no way makes them safer. Submerging an object that has pores (that is likely very dirty from the crowed conditions it was laid in) with other dirty objects with pores (eggs) sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. It only makes since that that dirty poop-water would soak into the egg.
So, if you have an egg that is absolutely filthy consider washing it and using it right away or freezing it. Try getting as much off the egg with a stiff brush and or dry rag first. If you insist on washing your eggs, wait until just before you use them and don’t leave dirty eggs soaking in water.
Keep them cool
Eggs can be left on the counter for a couple weeks without a significant loss of quality if the temperature stays below 70ish. But if eggs get too warm especially in dry climates, they loose a significant amount of water and really start to loose quality fast. An egg that is moved from a colder area to a warmer area will sweat, that moisture on the shell can give bacteria a place to grow. Once eggs have been refrigerated you should continue to refrigerate them and always, always refrigerate store bought eggs.
You an use this to your advantage if you need to boil eggs. A few days out on the counter in warm weather and you will have eggs pretty similar to month old ones who have been in the fridge, much easier to peel. Maybe the thought of month old eggs horrifies you? Time for a reality check folks! The grading guidelines for eggs is based partially off the internal quality of the egg that is directly related to how old it is. Depending on the time of year, if you buy the highest grade eggs you could still be buying month old eggs. Eggs can stay perfectly edible for months in ideal conditions. The lower grade eggs well, they could very easily be much more than a month old. Of, course you could also be getting store bought eggs that are actually fresh, just don’t assume you know what a fresh egg tastes like or acts like, until you have eaten one laid the same day.
The ideal way to store eggs is cold, moist and dark. I have read about people storing eggs for months packed in moist sawdust. There is nothing wrong with refrigerating your eggs, we usually do but if you think they will take over the fridge or regularly do, start leaving them on the counter or set up an egg area in you root celler or basement.
On a side note
If you want to hatch eggs do not refrigerate them. They should be stored on their side; which is actually the best way to store eggs but takes up way more room than standing them on their small end so don’t worry about doing it with eggs you plan to eat. They also should be turned multiple times a day, the sooner you start them the better your hatch rate will be. I once had an incubated clutch that I added eggs to every day, chicks hatched for a whole week, that was my most successful hatch yet.
We are huge egg eaters and I have some great egg recipes coming soon! Do you have any crazy egg stories; about bad eggs, triple yolkers or soft shelled/deformed egg ?
This post is participating in the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #85, The HomeAcre #32 , Totally Talented Tuesday, From The Farm Blog Hop and Real Food Wednesdays, head on over to find other great blogs like ours!