Chicken collecting is a hard habit to break. Especially when there are so many varieties to choose from. Often, people start the chicken venture with the idea that it would be great to have a couple of daily egg layers. Then they realize what a pleasure it is to own chickens and they get a few more…and then a few more…and before you know it, you’re collecting a dozen eggs a day.
It’s often hard for the average family to eat all the eggs collected each day. So it’s good to know the best way to store your eggs so they stay fresh for as long as they can.
Here are 5 ways to keep your eggs the freshest longest.
- Pointy side down
Place eggs in the carton pointy side down. When a chicken develops an egg in her oviduct, a pocket of air is formed in the more bulbous end of the egg. By keeping this end of the egg stored upright, you prevent that pocket of air from traveling through the egg and possibly carrying bacteria with it. Thus, the egg stays fresher.
- Don’t wash until ready to eat.
When a chicken lays an egg, the hen coats the egg in a protective bloom. This blocks the microscopic pores of the eggshell and prevents bacteria from passing through. If you remove the boom, bacteria can enter more readily and the egg will spoil faster.
- Keep washed eggs in the fridge.
If you do choose to wash your eggs, they will stay fresh in the fridge. There is much debate on whether or not eggs should be refrigerated at all. Our rule is that we only refrigerate washed eggs. Because the bloom is removed, the cooler climate of the fridge reduces the amount of bacteria that come in contact with the egg and slows the spoiling process.
- Coat your eggshells in oil
After washing your eggs, rub a small amount of oil on the shells. This helps to replace the bloom and seals off the pores of the shell. Coconut oil works well for this.
- Keep dark laying hens
All chicken eggs are originally white or blue in color. The brown-ness of an egg is distributed on the shell as the egg moves down the oviduct to the uterus and is coated in the cuticle.
Some chickens have no pigment in the cuticle layer, others have brown. It has been said that the darker brown an egg, the thicker the cuticle. This is why in some extreme dark laying breeds the cuticle is so thick that it is easily scratched off. The thicker cuticle is said to help keep bacteria from entering the egg.
Egg Float Test
Want to check if an egg is fresh? Wash the egg and float it in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sinks to the bottom of the bowl and lays on its side, it’s fresh. If the egg stands on end, but is still touching the bottom of the bowl, it’s ok, but eat this egg first as it is starting to age. If the egg floats, it’s spoiled.
As an egg ages it dehydrates as moisture escapes through the pores in the shell. The older an egg, the more air it will trap, thus making it more buoyant.
Want to learn more about storing fresh eggs? Check out my book Epic Eggs available for pre-order on Amazon, in bookstores November 1st, 2017
How do you store fresh eggs? Got any helpful hints? Share by leaving a comment below or visit the Community Chickens Facebook page.